#Book Review: Ophie’s Ghosts

In Georgia, 1922, twelve-year-old Ophie is suddenly awakened by her father, who tells her to get her mother and hide. Although questioning, she obeys. Soon evil men descend on their home. They had already killed her father, and now they burn Ophie’s home to the ground. That was the night Ophie learned she could see ghosts.

With no justice for her father and nowhere to live, Ophie and her mother take the train to Pittsburgh to live with Aunt Rose. Ophie soon begins working at Daffodil Manor as a maid to the old, biased, and angry Mrs. Caruthers. But the ghosts of the manor know that Ophie can see them, and most of them want to be seen. Ophie begins to grow strong as she adapts to her job and to her abilities. When she starts to investigate a mystery in the old house, she questions the ones who would know the most–the ghosts.

This is a well written and important book because it teaches middle grade readers about the horrors and history of racism. Through the savage murder of Ophie’s father, the experiences of some of the ghosts, and the cruel privilege of Mrs. Caruthers, America’s tainted past is explained. Ophie herself is a force of hope as she helps the ghosts move on to the afterlife and shows the truth to those who are still living. Every character, ghost and living, is well developed and has a story to tell. The point of view is mostly Ophie’s, but the old house, Daffodil Manor, also has a voice, as does the City of Pittsburgh. Aunt Rose serves as a helpful guide to the spirit world in a difficult time. This is a beautiful blend of historical fiction and magical realism that is both awakening and intriguing. Highly recommend.

I received a free copy of this book for review in Historical Novels Review Magazine. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

Ophie’s Ghosts will be released on May 18, 2021.


Justina Ireland is the author of Dread Nation (Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins), a New York Times bestseller, as well as the sequel Deathless Divide. Her earlier works include the fantasy young adult novels Vengeance Bound and Promise of Shadows (both Simon and Schuster).

Justina also writes for the Star Wars franchise, including the books Lando’s Luck, Spark of the Resistance, and the upcoming A Test of Courage, part of the High Republic publishing initiative.

She is the former co-editor in chief of FIYAH Literary Magazine of Black Speculative Fiction, for which she won a World Fantasy Award. She holds a BA from Armstrong Atlantic University and an MFA from Hamline University. 



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