These ghosts really belong to New Year and after, but would be just fine for Halloween as well. After all, heroines who go poking round graveyards on lonely islands in spooky lakes…
Anyway, it’s late December 1899. Lady Agatha’s father, the earl of Gosswater has just died, and Agatha – aged 12 – is about to be turned out of Gosswater Hall, her childhood home.
Her really very ghastly cousin Clarence kicks her out, sending her away to go and live with her father – her real father – in a humble cottage nearby. There is no explanation, as all the people she has known are sent away.
Agatha, or Aggie as she becomes, keeps seeing ghosts, and some people see a ghost when they look at her, too. As winter sets in around Gosswater, Aggie knows she needs to solve the puzzle of her existence. Hence the poking around graves.
Several unpleasant characters come her way, but so do a number of nice ones. After her new father is sent away, Aggie searches for the truth, with snow and ice forming a treacherous landscape for her to traipse through.
I found this a very relaxing read. Lucy Strange has a good way with characters, and the setting is cold, but attractive. Besides, ghosts can turn out to be better people than ghastly cousins.