The Painting

The Painting

by Charis Cotter


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A haunting, beautiful middle-grade novel about fractured relationships, loss, ghosts, friendship and art.

Annie and her mother don't see eye to eye. When Annie finds a painting of a lonely lighthouse in their home, she is immediately drawn to it—and her mother wishes it would stay banished in the attic. To her, art has no interest, but Annie loves drawing and painting.

When Annie's mother slips into a coma following a car accident, strange things begin to happen to Annie. She finds herself falling into the painting and meeting Claire, a girl her own age living at the lighthouse. Claire's mother Maisie is the artist behind the painting, and like Annie, Claire's relationship with her mother is fraught. Annie thinks she can help them find their way back to each other, and in so doing, help mend her relationship with her own mother.

But who IS Claire? Why can Annie travel through the painting? And can Annie help her mother wake up from her coma?

The Painting is a touching, evocative story with a hint of mystery and suspense to keep readers hooked.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780735263215
Publisher: Tundra
Publication date: 09/03/2019
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.69(d)
Age Range: 9 - 12 Years

About the Author

CHARIS COTTER grew up beside a cemetery and has been living with ghosts ever since. She studied English in university and went to drama school in London, England. Her spooky, suspenseful novel, The Swallow: A Ghost Story, was nominated for many awards and received countless honors. Her picture book, The Ferryland Visitor: A mysterious tale, is based on a true ghost story experienced by Newfoundland artist Gerald L. Squires and his family when they lived at an abandoned lighthouse in the 1970s. Charis has worked extensively in schools and libraries from coast to coast, using drama and storytelling to bring her books to life. Her performances of Newfoundland ghost stories have thrilled audiences of all ages, from Florida to Vancouver Island. She lives at the end of a road beside the ocean, in one of the most haunted parts of Newfoundland.

Read an Excerpt

I was cold. I struggled up through a dream of long white corridors and breaking glass into my freezing bedroom, which was filled with the white light of the full moon. An icy Atlantic breeze inched its way through the gaps in the window frame and slithered around my bed.
I jumped up, ran to the trunk in the corner and hauled out a red woolen blanket. As I turned to get back in bed, the moon pulled at me, and I wrapped the blanket around my shoulders and sat down in the big stuffed armchair. The glowing disc of the moon spilled light in a wide path across the water.
The beacon from the lighthouse flashed over the silver sea, a steady rhythm, every five seconds. Like a heartbeat. Like a drum.
“Annie,” I whispered. “Where are you?”

The first time I had the dream was the night of Mom’s accident. The house was quiet. A stillness spread out from my parents’ room.
I lay there for a long time, listening. The curtains were open and a full, silvery moon shone in the window, as bright as a streetlight. Its beam fell on the painting of a Newfoundland lighthouse opposite my bed. It looked different than it did in daylight, transformed by the moonlight into black and white, with sharper outlines and deeper shadows.
A white seabird with black-tipped wings swooped across the dark clouds—I blinked. For just a second I thought I had actually seen the bird moving across the painted surface. I sat up. As I watched, another bird leaped forward and dived into the silver ocean with a splash.
“Annie!” called a faraway voice. I scrambled out of bed.
“Annie!” called the voice again. There was something familiar about it, but it wasn’t coming from downstairs, nor from my parents’ bedroom down the hall. I turned and stared at the painting. I took a step toward it. Now I could see more details: patches of wildflowers by the side of the road leading to the lighthouse, a few sheep grazing on the hill, lights glowing behind the windows of the keeper’s house.
Suddenly the blades of grass in the foreground trembled. A wave passed through the meadow grasses. Then another. I felt a gust of wind on my face, and a wild, unfamiliar smell filled the room. I could taste salt on my lips and I could hear the seabirds crying as they swooped across the sky.
“Annie!” cried the voice again. “Come!”
I took a step forward.
Then I was inside the painting, standing on the road to the lighthouse, with a surprised sheep raising its head to stare at me and the dark ocean stretching away as far as I could see.

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