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What Hooked Me in The Night Gardener…

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This week we’re examining What’s Write About The Night Gardener, a middle-grade novel by Jonathan Auxier. Today’s topic examines what kept us reading the book.

John: Intrigue–

I’m going to save much of what I have to say for next week’s blog, but what reeled me in was the intrigue. So many bread crumbs were left behind that made me want to keep reading, and when one question would be answered, another would be put forth. This served to keep me turning pages as I would imagine it did for everyone. It really was a writing lesson in how to string a series of plot points together to form a wonderful path–all the way to the conclusion.

Linda: Spooky–

I love all things spooky, and the Night Gardener didn’t let me down. The moment that really caught my attention was when Molly sees the family portrait for the first time. The difference between the gaunt, pale, drab mother and the image of a healthy happy woman in the painting made my mind jump into a million directions. My first thought was that they were all ghosts. I almost begged Molly and Kip to leave. The spooks only grew from there – the tree, the thugs, the night man. Jonathan Auxier never let me down. If you love a good, creepy story with plenty of twists and turns, then the Night Gardener is for you!

Jess: Lore–

The promise of new lore, hooked me into reading and finishing The Night Gardener. I grew up in CT, not far from New York. As a New Englander, I was of course a huge fan of Edgar Allen Poe and I was just a couple hours ride from the Hudson River Valley. I later lived in Westchester County, NY and became even more familiar with George Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (Maybe you remember an earlier post when I visited the author’s house). Both of these authors’s work were considered comparisons or inspirations for Jonathan Auxier’s book. Not only that, but the tone and stage setting is much like the tales of the immigrants, Native Americans, and those created by New Englanders themselves that I grew up listening to. There is the Night Gardener, a legendary character like the headless horsemen. Then there is the storytelling theme throughout.  Plus, there’s that creepy tree that could be in your woods (maybe inspired by Tuck Everlasting springs). This novel does not disappoint.

Megan: Historical aspect–

One of the things that most intrigued me about Night Gardener was the historical element. Of course, the book didn’t pinpoint its era, although it gave a few clues (in fact, based on the reference to a certain historical figure, the setting was older than I originally thought). The fun thing about a book like this is looking at the world through a different lense, trying to imagine what life is like without comforts such as those electricity provide us. The element of fantasy made it possible for the author to have a little fun with the historical setting without stepping on any historians’ toes, and for that matter alone it keeps the mystery of the setting alive, lending to the mystique of the book.


If you’ve read the book, tell us what hooked you. If you didn’t care for it, tell us why not, and if you haven’t read it, you should–the WWAT Crew really enjoyed it!

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  1. Hooked! Intrigue in The Night Gardener | Whats Write About This - […] didn’t have to work too hard to figure out what it was that sucked me in. As I mentioned…

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