Deep and Dark and Dangerous


When Alison found a torn childhood photograph of her mom and aunt Dulcie, her mother’s estranged sister, in an old book, she was intrigued by the identity of the child that was supposedly in the picture with them. She accepted Dulcie’s invitation to spend the summer with her and babysit her cousin, Emma while vacationing in their summer house where her mom and aunt used to spend the summer when they were young.

They met Sissy, a spiteful kid who won’t leave the cousins alone and tried to brainwash Emma into bullying Ali. Sissy always gets Ali into trouble and scares her through mentioning Teresa, a young girl who drowned in a nearby lake when Claire and Dulcie were kids, and whose body was never recovered. 

Mary Downing  Hahn is one of my favorite authors. I’ve been dying to read this story and I wasn’t disappointed. Deep and Dark and Dangerous is more than a horror story. Just like other ghost stories written by this brilliant author, it relates other underlying issues and this time, it’s about parenting and how a childhood trauma could affect your future, if left unresolved.

I thought Claire, the protagonist’s mom was the bad person and I could understand why Ali would like to get away from her even for the summer. But I found out later on that Dulcie, her aunt was worse and Claire’s overprotectiveness soon made sense. At least Claire was responsible enough to seek professional help and acknowledge that her behavior is affecting her family while Dulcie tried to cover up her mistake with a brave front.

I love how mature the main character is and I feel bad for how Dulcie treated her during their stay at the vacation house. Her cousin is a total brat which was not surprising, being raised by a mentally unstable mom. I just hope Ali got paid for being Emma’s babysitter.

I saw comments of disappointed readers in goodreads who even compared this to Wait Till Helen Comes, another ghost story from the same author, but as much as I love Wait Till Helen Comes, I have to disagree with them. Deep and Dark and Dangerous definitely has my vote. It’s chilling and sad at the same time. The ghost was not exactly a friendly one and someone to be scared of like Helen but there’s something about her that gained my sympathy which I didn’t feel for Helen. Perhaps, it’s because they haunt for different reasons. Helen wanted someone to share her loneliness with ( aside from her longing for her parents and wanting to find their missing bodies) while the ghost in Deep and Dark and Dangerous  just wanted the truth to come out and for her body to have a proper burial so she could rest in peace.

Halloween Reads

I want to start this post by telling a story I heard from my brother, which was also told to him by a friend or a co-worker- I don’t remember anymore. Anyway, the story is about a distance relative who received a job offer from a company who was generous enough to assist him in finding a new apartment that is in close proximity to his new job. They had a spare apartment which they could rent out to him for a more reasonable fee. After accepting the job, he soon moved into his new home with his wife. One night, he dreamed of a child going out of the old wardrobe which was located near the bed. The wardrobe was owned by the previous occupants and was locked. He didn’t think of the dream as something weird and assumed that it was one of those normal nightmares you get every night caused by vivid imagination or from watching horror movies. But he kept on having the same dream until it started to bother him. He decided to tell his unusual dreams to his wife. His wife was frightened, and they soon moved out of the house. Why did they move out immediately? It was because the wife was also having the same re-occurring dream, a boy going out of the closed wardrobe.

This story reminds me of the children’s horror books I used to read when I was in high school. They are probably not as creepy as the horror novels for adults but they are unforgettable enough that even if you remember the story years later while you’re alone in your living room, it will still make you shiver and run to your mother even if you’re already twenty seven. Or maybe it’s just me whose animal spirit is a scared cat.

Since it’s Halloween, I decided to share my favourite horror novels.

1. The Doll in the Garden

Following the death of her father, Ashley moved with her mother in a quiet neighbourhood. The not so friendly, landlady warned her to never to go to the garden, but Ashley didn’t listen.

This story is sad and heart-warming at the same time. It shows how a childhood regret could haunt someone till old age.


2. Wait Till Helen Comes

Molly hates her step-sister, Heather who always put her and her brother, Michael into trouble. Heather’s real mother died in a mysterious fire and her father remarried Molly and Michael’s mom. And now, they’re stuck with her and their new step-dad who spoils his daughter and believes whatever she says, in their new house in the woods. A house that used to be a church with a graveyard behind.

And now, Heather found a new friend named Helen and Molly’s terrified of her. It’s because Helen died in a mysterious fire, a hundred years ago.

I love the close bond between Molly and Michael and the novel doesn’t only tell the story of a ghost who was separated from her parents but also shows the complications of remarriage, both for parents and children.


3. Time for Andrew

Andrew made a deal with a ghost of a dead boy that looks exactly like him, who lured him into a different time. What if the ghost doesn’t want to switch places with him anymore?

This is a good story of a journey to the past and being able to meet the younger version of your family. I wish I could switch places with a ghost too and be able to  see how my parents lived during their younger days and perhaps, I’ll be able to change the future.


4. Jane-Emily

A nine-year-old orphan, Jane, came to spend the summer with her young aunt, Louisa at Jane’s grandmother’s huge, mysterious mansion, where a young girl named Emily died, a long time ago.


5. The Dollhouse Murders

Amy found an antique dollhouse- an exact replica of their ancestral house- in the attic of their old family home. The dolls in the dollhouse were moving on their own, as if they want to tell Amy something. Perhaps, they have the answer to an old family secret- the murder of Amy’s grandparents that happened years ago.


So, these are my favourite ghost stories. Have you read any of these? Don’t forget to share what you think of these novels. Happy Halloween, everyone!