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Laurel Oaks
  The Secret of Laurel Oaks
Tor/Starscape, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-7534-5796-2

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What's it About?
The Secret of Laurel Oaks is a ghost story sliding (sometimes jumping) from the present to the 1840's and back. In today's world, Albuquerque sister and brother, Lila and Gabe, have the eerie pleasure of staying at a genuinely haunted plantation in Louisiana. In fact, the real plantation this story is based upon made the Smithsonian's list of the ten most haunted houses in America. Lots of ghosts buzz around, settling old debts and resolving unfinished business. One such bit of mischief concerns the death of two children and their mother. Through 170 years, people have believed that Daphne, a slave girl in the house, was the murderer. She had plenty of opportunity and access to the poisonous oleander, but what was her motive? Maybe it was an accident. Maybe the poison was intended for someone else. Maybe Daphne didn't do it at all. But then, who did? As Lila gets to know the spirits of the house, she can't believe that Daphne could have been a cold-blooded murderer. With the help of a weirdly communicative tree that bears Daphne's scar and holds the dark secrets of the plantation, Lila and Gabe solve the mystery in a most unexpected way.

Reviews and Comments
"...Daphne herself finally learns what exactly happened that fateful day as Lila pieces it together through both logical and supernatural means, and Daphne secures Lila's help fulfilling a promise she'd made to the mistress of the house when she was alive...The characters are...well-rendered and likeable. Fans of Mary Downing Hahn will love this one." (Kirkus, August 15, 2008)

"If you read this book late at night, as I did, in a dark and quiet house, as I did, you may feel the same chill I did - the someone-is-looking-over-your shoulder chill. The heebie-jeebies. The creeps. This is a genuinely spooky and engrossing ghost story, filled with fascinating historical detail." (Jennifer Armstrong, award-winning author of The Dreams of Mairhe Mehan and Photo by Brady: A Picture of the Civil War)

"...The Secret of Laurel Oaks is an intriguing mystery that takes the contemporary heroine (and the reader) on a spirited journey...We are in capable hands with Ruby's deft story telling powers and her devotion to historical truths. A terrific read." (Sonia Levitin, noted author of The Goodness Gene, The Return, and The Cure)

For More Information
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