The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier
A creepy and atmospheric novel for middle schoolers. Two Irish children, Molly, age 14, and Kip, age 10, who have been separated from their parents while emigrating, take a job as servants at an isolated English house in the woods for a family of four, a married couple and their two children. Along the way, they are warned by all whom they ask for directions not to go there, but Molly is desperate as they have been traveling a long while and Kip is not well. The house is strange – a big tree literally grows into the house – and there is something wrong with the family they are working for – all of them are deathly pale and cold to the touch while their hair and eyes are turning darker. Plus, every night, a strange figure enters the house and leaves muddy footprints. As time goes on, Molly and Kip discover that the house is haunted by the spirit of the tree and the nightly visitor is bound to the tree in some way. There then ensues a struggle between the evil of the tree and the children, fighting for their own lives and the family that inhabits the house. An exciting and compelling book with an original plot.