Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier
This first book from Auxlier sets an uneasy undertone as our two main characters orphan siblings Molly and Finn wander into service at an isolated estate, secluded on an island buried deep in the woods. Without parents to provide for them, they are in desperate straights with no choice for other employement.
Molly and Finn quickly realize something isn’t quite right with the family living in the desolate big house that is slowly being overgrown by the gnarled tree. Even as Molly realizes the family is keeping secrets, she keeps a secret of her own from her younger brother Finn. A menacing dark shadow threatens, as they begin to realize that their deepest desires come at high costs.
Auxier unfolds his story carefully, drawing the reader in with deft hand; just tripping along the edge of too much creepiness. The characters are not stiff conventional cardboard cut outs. Each has depth and twists to personalities to surprise and delight the readers. Auxiler invites the young reader right to the edge of skin crawling creepiness.