BOOK REVIEW: Love Notes from Vinegar House (Karen Tayleur, Walker Books)

Family secrets. A cursed house. Things that go bump in the night … Freya Kramer doesn’t believe in ghosts. Not really. But spending her holidays at Vinegar House might just change her mind. The last thing Freya wants to do is stay at her grandmother’s creepy old house with a cousin she detests. However, it doesn’t take long for her to learn that things aren’t always as they seem, and she discovers that there might be more to the house, to her cousin, and to herself than she ever thought. Funny, sweet and at times downright scary, Love Notes from Vinegar House shows that family secrets never really vanish—they are just waiting for the right time to return to the surface. This is a book about self-discovery, first love and the endlessly complicated ties of family. Between the gothic mansion and the spectacularly isolated setting, Karen Tayleur has created a thriller that will cause more than a few moments of suspense. A little slow to start and quick to end, this is an otherwise delightful YA novel that will entrance readers and forge a strong connection with an early teenage audience.

Meg Whelan works at Hill of Content bookshop in Melbourne. This review first appeared in the Feb/March issue of Bookseller+Publisher Magazine.