Review Blog

Jul 14 2008

Possessing Rayne by Kate Cann

cover image

Scholastic, 2008
(Age 12+) Rayne is a streetwise teenager living on a sink estate in London. Fed up with city life and desperate to escape her controlling boyfriend and feckless mother, she takes a job at a stately home tucked away in the countryside. However, cream teas and guided tours are not all that's on offer at the local mansion. Half told stories and peculiar happenings prove that there is a sinister side to Morton's Keep which Rayne is determined to investigate. She hooks up with the hypnotically handsome St John and his enigmatic friends, but soon finds herself sucked into a vortex of ancient crimes and new dangers as she struggles to discover the mystery behind Sir Edwin Lingwall, an eighteenth century owner of the house.

The sense of release Rayne feels on escaping the suffocating chaos of London is skilfully portrayed and the power of nature and beauty are recurring themes in this gothic horror story. The tension builds steadily towards a frightening climax played out in the dungeons of Morton's Keep. Plenty of tantalising clues are offered - a door without a handle, a pair of gloves embroidered with grotesque faces, a local mad woman burbling about fire and flood, and every plot strand is neatly resolved in a satisfying conclusion.

On the downside the quality of writing jarred at times. 'She was beginning to feel creeped out' may be 'teen speak', but struck me as literary laziness. But overall this is an exciting, well paced and satisfying read with bags of teen appeal which will no doubt have Cann's loyal fan base demanding more.
Claire Larson

BUY IT NOW ON booktopia
Archived Blog Entries
Latest News
International Children's Book Day 2nd April, 2017
CILIP Kate Greenaway Medals 2017 longlist
CILIP Carnegie Medal longlist 2017
Branford Boase Award 2017 longlist
Children's Book Award 2017 shortlist
Infographic: Teen reading habits
Victorian Premier's Literary Awards 2017
Newbery and Caldecott Medals 2017
ALA awards 2017
Costa Children's Book Award 2016
National Simultaneous Storytime 2017

ReadPlus Features
Print similar authors bookmark
Read similar authors
How to find lesson plans
Sample theme animation

Promote Reading
Staff holiday reading list 2016
South Australian Christian Schools Conference 2016 - Library Displays
Display calendars
Science fiction and fantasy lists SAETA conference 2015
Value of School Libraries
Library, Reading development and the Internet
Free Rights of the Reader Poster
Reviews: Author index
Books for boys
Bookmark and poster templates