“Michael, don’t forget our Neverland.”
For nearly a century, the ghost of 17 year-old Rupert Buxton has been trapped in his childhood home. He spends his days reading, roaming, and trying desperately to recall his former life. Hope is restored when a boy his own age moves into the manor—a boy he quickly becomes fascinated by. This peculiar, modern boy is the first person that Rupert has been able to reveal himself to, and just might be the key to help him discover his mysterious past.
The Ghost of Buxton Manor is a young adult, LGBT paranormal fiction centered around historical figures Rupert Buxton and Michael Davies—the inspiration behind the real Peter Pan.
This novel is an utter delight. It’s based on real historical figures, Rupert Buxton and Michael Davies, the latter whom inspired J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan. Rupert Buxton has haunted the mansion that was once his family estate for nigh on a hundred years. He neither knows the cause of his death nor why he’s forced to linger in limbo as the shade of a 17 year old youth.
Three events throw Rupert’s afterlife topsy-turvy. The appearance of Dr. Wyman, his spectral therapist; a strange ghostly trio of Bloody Mary, the Weeping Bride, and the Headless Horseboy; and finally the arrival of Caroline, George, and most importantly Aaron to his long deserted home. Rupert feels an immediate connection to Aaron, and despite Dr. Wyman’s warnings to stay away, he’s unable to resist.
Initially, Rupert is merely a spectating spector to Aaron and family’s modern life, but eventually the two boys discover a way to bridge the divide. Rupert is precious and charming. His speech affectations are indicative of an earlier time as evinced by many of his turns of phrase such as calling Aaron’s laptop a “futuristic typewriter.”
I was able to figure out a major plot point, but that in no way stole any of the joy from this tale. One of the things I loved was how Aaron’s parents knew he was gay, and it was a non-issue. There are plenty and more narratives, fictional and non, about parents who don’t accept their LGBTQ children. It’s been done over and over again, and showing parents/guardians treating it as normal, helps to show that it is. The unaccepting parents paradigm wasn’t the adversary in this story, rather it was the mystery of Rupert’s past and how the two boys could possibly be together.
I only have one critique, and it has to do with how a particular character’s inflection was written out. She had a French accent, and the author chose to show that phonetically. It was a bit distracting, but didn’t take away from the overall quality of the story. I only recently read the editing tip advising against this, making it one situation where you can tell and maybe minimally show with a particular phrase thrown in here or there.
Rupert has a sad, sweet whimsy about him, which balances perfectly with Aaron’s almost stubborn determination. Aaron’s parent’s aren’t just nondescript automatons either, but stand on their own as original characters, and Mr. Ferrara does an excellent job on touching on the mysteries of the ghost world that not even Rupert is privy to. There’s also the sweet reference of the author using the name “Aaron” for Rupert’s soul mate as that’s the name of his husband. They have a blog Husband and Husband together in addition to a YouTube channel.
Considering I cried at the end of this book, I have no choice but to give it…