This House is Haunted by John Boyne is a humorous love letter to Charles Dickens and the great Gothic horrors. When her father suddenly dies after attending a reading by Charles Dickens, Eliza impulsively answers an unusual ad for a governess. She plans on making the grand Westerley estate–along with its two orphaned children–her new home and family. But, the illusion cannot last, and the facade begins to crumble.Set in a neglected mansion, This House is Haunted has all the major elements of the classic Gothic horrors: aloof villagers, vanishing servants, creepy children, a haunted attic, a cantankerous groundskeeper, madness and murder. It’s populated with characters sporting Dickensian names and had plenty of orphans and tragic childhoods to spare. You don’t have to be a fan of the genre to spot elements reminiscent of Jane Eyre, Turn of the Screw and even a Hound of Baskervilles.John Boyne’s This House is Haunted was a restrained but humorous read until the over-the-top grand finish–where it became just silly and melodramatic. With all its humor and classic elements, I do wonder if this was meant to be a parody. If it was meant to be a parody, it was a little too serious. If it was meant to be a tragic ghost story, it was a little too silly. It was quick and enjoyable, so even with the uncertainty, it’s worth a read.