Winner of the 2001 Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction
The New York Times bestselling author of Dread Nation makes her middle grade debut with a sweeping tale of the ghosts of our past that won’t stay buried, starring an unforgettable girl named Ophie.
Ophelia Harrison used to live in a small house in the Georgia countryside. But that was before the night in November 1922, and the cruel act that took her home and her father from her. Which was the same night that Ophie learned she can see ghosts.
Now Ophie and her mother are living in Pittsburgh with relatives they barely know. In the hopes of earning enough money to get their own place, Mama has gotten Ophie a job as a maid in the same old manor house where she works.
Daffodil Manor, like the wealthy Caruthers family who owns it, is haunted by memories and prejudices of the past—and, as Ophie discovers, ghosts as well. Ghosts who have their own loves and hatreds and desires, ghosts who have wronged others and ghosts who have themselves been wronged. And as Ophie forms a friendship with one spirit whose life ended suddenly and unjustly, she wonders if she might be able to help—even as she comes to realize that Daffodil Manor may hold more secrets than she bargained for.
In 1920s Georgia, 12-year-old Ophelia Harrison, who is Black, learns that she can see ghosts when her father, killed hours earlier by a white lynch mob, wakes Ophie in the middle of the night to save her and her mother from the same fate. After relocating to Pittsburgh to live with her father's family, Ophie must leave school and work alongside her mother at the opulent Daffodil Manor, owned by the Caruthers family, white, pro-slavery Southerners from Virginia. There, Ophie sees more ghosts than ever, soon learning of her family's legacy of helping sometimes-dangerous haints with unfinished business move on. Her fascination with Clara, the old home's most beautiful ghost, draws Ophie into a mystery that reveals the human cost of systemic racism across America and the price routinely paid by those attempting to defy it. In her middle grade debut, Ireland (Dread Nation) deftly balances historical detail and atmosphere, capturing the essence of the centuries-enduring racism that oppresses through actions large and small. Ophie makes a brave, dynamic main character: scared, grieving, and compassionate, while also deeply aware that she deserves more than a racist society permits her. Ages 8 12.