My Mother's Ghost

Originally published by Kids Can Press, Toronto and New York

This story came about after I visited a guest ranch in Alberta set in a deep valley of the foothills. The people who ran it, claimed the ranch was haunted. The owner said she had found a photo of a boy on a horse, wearing a leg brace, while cleaning out one of the original out-buildings -- a log cabin the original family had lived in until they built the larger house. She found the brace tucked away in the pile of family stuff on the shelves in the log place. Immediately I began to plan a story.

The Story:

Something frightening is happening at Willow Creek Ranch, where Jess and her parents have moved after the death of her brother. Jess is seeing things -- or are they seeing her? What happened at the ranch so long ago, and why is it happening again? Is her mother seeing the ghost of her son? Is Jess seeing her brother? Orthe ghost of a different little boy? And who is the woman who keeps appearing to her?

Jess is afraid to find out the answers, but it is something she feels compelled to do. For the sake of her family's peace -- and her own sanity.

Nominated Governor General's Award

Nominated Canadian Library Assoc Book of the Year Award

Nominated Mr. Christie Book Award

Junior Library Guild Book USA

Nominated Manitoba Young Reader's Choice Award

Nominated The Silver Birch Award

Notable Canadian Young Adult Fiction Book

Nominated McNally Robinson Book of the Year Award

Nominated Ruth Schwartz Children's Book Award

This is the USA Scholastic cover of the book:

Immediately below is a shot of the house the film company used for the television film, My Mother's Ghost -- which is exactly how I saw the ranch when I was writing it! Everything was just as I had seen it in my mind's eye. It was pretty amazing, also seriously spooky as I had never laid eyes on it until the filming began a number of years after the book was published!

The "movie set" ranch house for the film, "My Mother's Ghost"
Photo Margaret Buffie

The photos of the guest ranch in Alberta that follow are where I first heard about the son of the original rancher -  the little boy who was wearing a brace on his leg in old sepia coloured photos.When the new owners bought it, the people renovating the main house for them were convinced the place was haunted. They heard someone running and walking in the house when all workers were accounted for, and a number of other pretty strange thingsm like baning doors and tools clattering in the hallway when no one was anywhere near them. You can see the house behind the corral.

Photo by Margaret Buffie

Photo by Margaret Buffie

Photo by Margaret Buffie

Photo by Margaret Buffie

REVIEW: a compelling blend of past and present that will keep readers glued to the page. It’s refreshing to read YA fiction that respects the intelligence and maturity of its readers. Buffie portrays the family members as human beings – not mere cardboard stereotypes – and addresses death and grief with candour. She proves yet again that tackling the realities of modern life need not come at the expense of an engrossing narrative. Starred reviewQuill and Quire

REVIEW: The author deals openly and honestly with loss and grief. but also writes a fascinating study of the overlap of history that is both absorbing and excellently done. My Mother’s Ghost is a book that few readers will be able to put down. The Vancouver Sun

REVIEW: An Alberta ranch is the setting for a fascinating and skillfully written ghost story. The Hamilton Spectator

REVIEW: In My mother’s ghost, the author evokes both past and present in an ambitious and gripping take of loss, family, and coming to terms with both reality and the supernatural. Buffie’s central characters, all multi-dimensional and interesting people, learn to cope with the past, with tragedy and each other. Toronto Star

REVIEW: The story was riveting from beginning to end. The fact that it was well written and insightful made the characters seem real. I truly enjoyed the interplay between past and present. Both stories are so interesting they could have easily stood alone. Together the stories create suspense and add another dimension to the novel. This book is a must. Readers will not be able to put it down. Canadian Materials


I'm a huge fan from India. My favourite book is My Mother's Ghost. Could you please send me your autograph? It'd be a dream come true.Leela, Tamil Nadu, India

I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed your book, MY MOTHER'S GHOST!! I loved every minute of your book and devoured every chapter of it. I just couldn't put the book down! It was one of the best books I've ever read so I decided to write you this letter because I enjoyed your book so much. I'm planning to read you other books, too. I hear WHO IS FRANCES RAIN? and THE GUARDIAN CIRCLE are very good, too! After reading My mother's Ghost I'm convinced. I have a horse named Rusty and I love horses which is one reason I liked your book so much, you included horses!! ... I truly treasured you book ... Lisa from Calgary, Alberta

Dear Ms. Buffie, I really enjoyed your book "My mother's Ghost." It's funny how Jess (the main character) is similar to one of my friends named Jess. I like how you dated each chapter with a journal entry. ie: Willow Creek May 16, 1980. .... Just put it this way, I chose your book to read out of sixty other books! Yours truly, Melissa from Ontario

My teacher read us your book, "My Mother's Ghost". I really enjoyed it, in fact it is one of the best books I ever read and I have read many books!From Heather in Winnipeg

We, as a family, are fans and admirers of your wonderful books, and have several of them at home. Your beautiful charming books have played an important part in our lives, and we have read them many times. Your writing is beautiful, exciting, imaginative, a joy to read and highly entertaining (also informative). The entire family loves them. Particular favourites are, "Angels Turn Their Backs", "My Mother's Ghost, "The Guardian Circle", and "The Dark Garden". Your books have been a positive influence, are always a pleasure to read, and we eagerly look to any new book by you. "Jackie G.
I really liked "My MOther's Ghost" because it was really emotional. I felt really sorry for Ian ... it was very powerful the way Augusta Shaw treated Ian. "John from BC

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