But it isn't just the furniture and the decorating that makes Amber House special. It holds secrets, and is only willing to confess them to a few lucky women who have the vision.
Sarah is visiting Amber House for the first time for her grandmother's funeral. Her mother hates the house, and can't wait to sell it. Sarah and her little brother Sam, along with Jackson, begin exploring the house and it's grounds...and it seems like there is much to explore. Jackson is the grandson of Rose, her grandmother's nurse. But Rose and Jackson live on the grounds of Amber House and Jackson helps a lot around the house and grounds. He also seems to know a lot about Sarah, even though they've never met.
Strange things start happening. Sarah starts having dreams about people in the past -- people whose portraits are on the walls of the old house -- and then she begins having visions during the day. It seems she has an ability that many of the women of her past had -- the ability to see "echoes" -- things that happened in Amber House in the past.
Jackson has heard the legend that there are diamonds hidden somewhere in the house or on the grounds, and he wants Sarah to help him find them.
After seeing so much of the past in her visions, and exploring in the present, Sarah becomes attached to the house and wishes her mother wouldn't sell. It's been in their family for over ten generations, and Sarah thinks she and Sam should get to experience Amber House. Her mother, on the other hand, is doing everything to find a buyer.
Good thing she's friends with Senator Robert Hathaway. Good thing he has a handsome son named Richard. Good thing it's Sarah's birthday. Because together, they are going to throw a party at Amber House like no one's ever seen.
There's a love triangle -- both Richard and Jackson are worthy opponents for Sarah's attention. Sam is as cute as can be, and his autism makes him even more special. There are horses, a buried house, a huge maze of hedges, a sailboat, and a tree house. All of them are important elements to this adventure. There are old dusty attics and hidden stairways containing all sorts of meaningful things.
This is a great book for anyone who likes to explore. To find things and figure out what they mean. I was never really sure which direction Amber House was going, but I didn't care because the journey was so much fun. I could relate to Sarah's frustrations. One minute she loves the house, and the next she's ready to get back to her real life and her friends. She's beginning to fall for Richard, and her mother encourages her spending time with him, but cautions Sarah NOT to fall for him. And Jackson is an enigma.
I thought the end was kind of strange. It was certainly unexpected. I guess it fit OK with the path of the story, and after enjoying Amber House so much, I didn't really care how Moore, Reed & Reed decided to wrap it up. But, I guess I was a tad disappointed. It seems a little too convenient.
I won't hesitate to recommend this one to my mystery fans, fans of adventure stories, exploration, and even historical fiction. Amber House is a well told tale, and one that easily sucks you in and won't let you go. Please, can you send me an invitation to that birthday party -- because I REALLY want to attend.
Published by Arthur A. Levine, October 1, 2012
ARC obtained from the publisher
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