Horace Carpetine’s parents were somewhat radical in the late nineteenth century. They raised their son to value the equality of all people–black or white, male or female–and to pursue the rational truth of science. When Horace becomes apprenticed to a photographer, however, he soon finds all of his values challenged. His master insists that he help fabricate a ghost photograph to swindle a wealthy client, a deception that troubles Horace at first, but once the apprentice realizes that he has somehow called a real ghost out of the photograph, his misgivings turn to terror. Together with his friend Pegg–the wealthy client’s African-American serving girl–Horace tries to uncover the truth about the ghost-girl’s past and find a way to stop her from reaping revenge on those who wronged her.
This ghost story is a fun read for anyone who likes historical fiction with a bit of a fear factor. It isn’t too terrifying–partly because the historical setting makes it seem fairly removed from the realm of modern possibility–but it is certainly creepy! I would definitely recommend it to upper elementary readers who enjoy ghost stories and are looking to branch out beyond Mary Downing Hahn and Alvin Schwartz.