Darkmere by Helen Maslin

Keen to fit in with the cool crowd at her new and posh private school, Kate is over the moon when the popular Leo invites her to Darkmere, his newly inherited castle, for the summer break. As Leo and his gang pack themselves into their cars and head to the mystifying castle, Kate can’t wait to be with Leo. However, once they arrive at the castle Kate gets an uneasy feeling about the place, as well as about Leo himself.

As the group get into the party spirit a strange encounter with a drowning girl starts to spook them all and, as weirder things start to happen, the group begin to turn on one another other.

Darkmere reminded me of the old slasher movies from the 90s, but without the slasher part! The slasher movies and Darkmere share an unpending of expectations with party season and big summer romances for teens being turned upside down by a murderous person, or, in this case, an apparition with unfinished business.

The nicely interwoven historical story of the castle and the hideous secrets it holds were probably what enthralled me the most, but YA readers who enjoy a ghost story will have fun with the whole novel. Ages 15 and up.


Katherine Dretzke is a bookseller at Readings Hawthorn.