The Ghost of Buxton Manor book review

I wanted to post something I thought was really special. I had sent my newest novel “The Ghost of Buxton Manor”to Alex Oliveira in exchange for a honest review. Not only was her review amazing but she fell in love with the real story of Rupert Buxton and Michael Davies just as Aaron and I had. Alex is a talented writer herself and wrote a poem based off the story and (with her permission) I wanted to share it with all of you. Here is her poem as well as a link to her website. Go check her out!


“Remembering Peter Pan” by Alex Oliveira

and perhaps, one day
you might have liked to grow
and share your Neverland
with someone you’d come to know

but was life ever fair
to boys who were lost
granted, you discovered yourself
but at what cost?

they said to never say goodbye
and to never go away
but they forgot to warn you
sometimes life won’t let you stay

and you’ll never be forgotten
because we all believe
with a bit of fairy dust
in our Neverland, you’ll forever live.

The Ghost of Buxton Manor (Physical Copy open for preorder)





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The Ghost of Buxton Manor: First free chapter

I’m really excited to announce my next novel The Ghost of Buxton Manor! I just finished writing it and will be posting the first five chapters. It’s about a ghost who finds themselves trapped in his family home. He doesn’t remember how he died or when he died–all he knows is that he has an unfinished business, and he won’t be able to move on until he remembers what that is.

I hope you enjoy!


Chapter  1

Nearly one hundred years later, and I had only just begun to accept the fact that I was dead. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t seem to recall a single moment from my former life. In fact, if it wasn’t for my headstone, I wouldn’t even know my own name. The last thing I did remember was evacuating my body. Now, that might sound somewhat extraordinary to you, but it certainly didn’t feel that way at all. You see, I had expected to find a set of pearly, white gates opening up for me; a glorious light to shower me in its beauty, or perhaps my deceased loved ones racing toward me to welcome me home. But it was nothing of the sort. What I’m trying to say is that everything your parents taught you about life after death is wrong. Believe me, that idea is completely inaccurate—at least for me.
I gather I must have done something rather awful when I was living, or maybe I just upset the Big Man in the sky…I’m not sure. What I did know was that I was permanently fastened to this decrepit house, alone, without a single soul to interact with. I guess it could have been worse. Whoever built this house must have been exceedingly wealthy during their life. The structure itself was gargantuan: three stories including the attic which was large enough to house an entire family in itself! It resided within 20 acres of private, uninhabited land. A lackluster pool lay untended out back. The green house was strewn with plants and flowers that had long been departed from the land of the living. There was a modest timberland on the property as well that I did enjoy exploring ever so often. Don’t get me wrong—by no means was it an awful place to live, but after a few decades or so, it could get a little lonely. I tried (more times than I care to admit) to leave the gates and survey what laid beyond the Manor’s range, but there are certain rules you must abide by in death, and if you don’t, well…it doesn’t really matter because you can’t leave. Not ever!
I started writing this book to keep myself busy, but all it has seemed to accomplish was to painfully remind me how pathetic and uneventful my afterlife has been thus far.
By the way, my name’s Rupert. I was the resident ghost of Buxton Manor.

* * * *

The day began just like any other day. I would like to say that this particular morning I watched the sunrise from my bedroom window, but I hadn’t been able to see sunshine in nearly a century. I couldn’t even remember what it looked or felt like. From this dimension (whichever one I had been condemned to), there simply was no sun—only an everlasting haze. Everything within my scope of vision was clouded by this mist, and outside the gates beyond where I was allowed to venture, the mist thickened to a completely blinding fog. Even if there were a sun on this side, it’s not like I would have been capable of feeling its warm rays on my face. After all, I had no flesh. Although I might be invisible to people like you, I can assure you that I was quite real. I might have been transparent, but I did have some sort of a body. From what I’ve seen from old photographs of myself, my hair is wavy, dark brown, shorter on the sides, and too long in the front (which always seemed to cause it to swoop down across my forehead). I had honey-brown eyes, and I was stuck wearing the same attire as when I must have perished. I perpetually donned a white, long-sleeved shirt and trousers secured by a pair of suspenders. My physique appeared as though I must have been active. So who knows, maybe I was some sort of an athlete when I was alive. Not likely though, considering sports or any form of exercise doesn’t seem to interest me whatsoever. I nearly forgot to mention that I was seventeen at the time of my death, and when you die (at least for those of us who stay on Earth), your appearance remains. I guess I should be grateful I didn’t die an old man, forever frail and crippled. But then again, it’s not like I had much time to actually live.
So, there I was at my bedroom window. I can assure you that it wasn’t much of a bedroom. All furniture in Buxton Manor was draped with clean, white cloths. Whoever lived there previously preserved the house, but never bothered to return; and so it had been deemed abandoned ever since with only the rare sighting of realtors through the century(none, by the way, had ever been able to sell the property).
As I was saying, time didn’t exactly exist for me, so I was not sure as to how long I had been standing there, peering out the icy window, peeking over tall treetops, watching the blanket of fog slink along the grounds. I enjoyed this particular window. I hovered there often to daydream, hopelessly trying to remember who I was, how I died, or even what part of the world I was in. Did I leave any loved ones behind? Not like it mattered anymore. If there were people who once loved me, they had been long gone.
Eventually, I managed to drag myself from the window and venture over to the corner of the bedroom where a musty trunk sat. I’d never been sure as to why, but I had always found myself to be quite curious about this precise chest. I imagined it housed answers to my past, something that could potentially shed a bit of light on the life I once lived; but every time I tried to pry it open, my hands would slip right through.
Though, this never stopped me from trying again.
You see, the majority of physical objects (such as this trunk) are unattainable due to my gaseous form; but there were certain objects I was able to touch…books, for example. About seventy years ago, I was flitting around the library downstairs when I suddenly remembered something. It was the first thing I had ever remembered about my former life: I thoroughly enjoyed reading. The memory presented itself within my mind like a sort of vision. I saw myself lying in a grassy field, back propped up against an old, oak tree, right beside the gates of Buxton Manor. I read a delightful story about a young boy who never grew up; a boy who could fly, who battled menacing pirates—a boy who would rescue lost children and take them to Neverland. It’s called Peter Pan. Have you heard of it before?
I then quickly scoured the shelves of novels until I found the story I sought out. Believe it or not, I was able to touch it. I gather that’s how it works for us ghosts. The more you remember, the more you’re able to move through the realms, regaining some human senses: touch and feel.
Still, the chest was out of my grasp.
I exited the bedroom, floating straight through the closed door, emerging onto the upstairs hallway. I then decided to head downstairs. If I had weighed anything at all, I was sure the damp, wooden floorboards would have creaked under my footsteps, but they were silent. Even without the living occupying, the house was always vocal. It certainly required a great deal of repairs. Perhaps even a woman’s touch. The faded wallpaper was spotted with mold, and it peeled in several corners. Undoubtedly, sections of the drywall needed to be demolished and replaced, but that would surely have disturbed the family of rats who dwelled under the foundation. After all those years, I’d finally come to welcome their company. Any bit of life force (rodent or not) helped remind me that I wasn’t stranded within the seemingly empty world.
I glided down the stairway, my feet a few inches from each step. My hand swept the banister, but the blanket of dust laid undisturbed. I landed in the foyer where a Tiffany chandelier dangled above me. A round, glass table was stationed beside me with a vase that displayed a bouquet of limp lilies, dried and crispy, so ancient their color was lost long ago. I imagined my own existence to be like the lilies: once ebullient with life, and now slowly wasting away to practically nothing.
I wandered through the sitting room—at least I assumed it to be the sitting room. A white cloth covered a bulky piece of furniture that I presumed to be a sofa. I had no need for doors so I sauntered through the wall, entering the kitchen which was nearly empty. The cabinets only contained jars of preserved food that weren’t able to spoil. Do you remember the family of rats I mentioned earlier? Well, several of them were scurrying throughout the carpentry, foraging a can, relishing over what looked to be a jar of mushy pickles. My presence never disturbed them, not even for a second. They didn’t even know I was there.
I drifted through yet another wall, passing the dining room table. Located beside it was a glass cabinet heaped with hand-painted dishes that hadn’t been eaten from in decades, their drawers filled with fine silverware. For a moment, I envisioned dinner parties that must have taken place there. I could almost hear faint laughter of gentlemen playing rounds of cards as they smoked their cigars. I could almost make out giggling from women in the adjacent sitting room, basking in each others’ company, gossiping over a cup of tea.
I walked through the cabinet and popped out from the other side. The library was by far my favorite room in the entire house. It was truly glorious. Every wall was lined with robust novels, hundreds of them—I’d read each and every book more times than I could count. I had ferreted through them all. I had no need for ladders to reach the highest shelves that climbed to the top of the vaulted ceiling. I merely levitated, soaring above the room as I scanned for a new novel to read. Sooner than expected, I spotted Moby Dick and plucked it off the shelf, already scanning the first page as I lowered to the floor. I was a voracious reader, so I assume it didn’t take me very long to finish the story; but then again, time didn’t exist for me so I could never be sure as to how truly fast I was.
I sat at the desk for what might have been hours, spending my time writing in my journal. Oh, I nearly forgot to mention the second and only other memory I ever remembered. About sixty-five years ago (years for me are a complete guessing game), after I finished reading every book in the library for the first time, I remembered how fond I was of writing. I gather that all of the wonderful tales I read of magical worlds triggered something inside my soul, reminding me of a story I once wrote. Soon after, I peeked under my bed and found a journal I must have kept hidden before I died. From then on, I couldn’t seem to put it down.
Halted by writers’ block, I headed outdoors, materializing in the backyard. I strolled along the edge of the pool, peering down into the filthy water that was nearly covered beneath a layer of auburn leaves. Because there hadn’t been anyone living there for quite some time, there was obviously no one there to tend to the grounds. Since I died, the woodlands on the Manor’s outskirts had practically reached the front doors. The grass was exceedingly overgrown, weeds sprouting at every turn, bushes as tall as the average tree. Vines managed to slither up the exterior of the house to the rooftop.
I wrapped around the Manor, passing the greenhouse where some sort of species of plant lived (a monstrous vegetation) which had grown ravenously, and had burst through the windows and crept across the grounds.
I walked down a cobblestone trail, setting off through a magnificent garden that overtook the front yard. The rose bushes were taller than myself, twice my size. They reminded me a great deal of the Queen of Hearts’ garden in Alice in Wonderland.
I roamed though the maze of hedges for a little while, wondering what the roses must have smelled or felt like. I gather most of you who are currently living don’t take the time to appreciate these sorts of things, but when you’re dead, you find marvel in everything you can no longer enjoy. I couldn’t tell you what I would have given to feel something again. Anything at all.
By the end of my day (however you would like to count the minutes of my existence) I sat at the old, oak tree I previously mentioned before. It was located down an untamed, carriage road, which began at the front doors of Buxton Manor and made its way to a set of iron gates (better known as the walls of my prison cell). From this tree, I gazed out between the bars even though there was nothing there to see. Like I’ve said before, beyond the Manor’s range, the mist became a fog—impenetrably thick. I sat there, writing in my journal and wondering what laid beyond the murk.
I would like to say that there was more to the story of my afterlife, but that would be unmistakably misleading. I spent my days reading and writing, roaming the Manor in hopes of discovering something from my past; but after these last hundred years or so, there were only two things I ever did recall. There was nothing incredible about my life after death. I simply existed. But then again, it’s always when you least expect it when something truly extraordinary happens. For me, it would be that very evening.
That’s when the gates of Buxton Manor opened for the first time in many years.
I remained there, under the shade of the oak, paralyzed with shock. I couldn’t believe it. I was sure my eyes were playing a trick on me, all those years of solitude were finally taking its toll. Was I losing my mind? I wasn’t sure.
The iron gates screeched, pervading ivy snapped as the gates divided. The strangest sort of automobile emerged from the haze, billowing clouds tumbling over the windshield as it drove onto the grounds. A woman sat in the driver’s seat, steering the horseless carriage with one hand as the other altered her complexion with some sort of cosmetic. She halted to a standstill right beside me. Until that moment, I hadn’t realized how long it had been since I’ve last seen a woman. When she rose out of the automobile, I took a moment to second-guess her gender. Her golden hair was cut shorter than a male and she wore a suit and tie that fit quite snugly on her—provocatively tight, you might say. I could clearly see her bosoms popping out of her low-cut top. Believe it or not, she wasn’t even wearing a corset.
“Mr. Scone, I did it.”
At first I thought she had initiated a conversation with herself, but after further examination, I confirmed she was speaking into some sort of cordless telephone.
“They said it couldn’t be done, but I did it! It’s time to uncork the good champagne. Tell the office we need to celebrate!” She ceaselessly smiled as she hauled a brick-red, rectangular board out from inside her vehicle as well as a hammer and a plastic sack of nails. “What am I talking about?!” she giggled. “I sold it! I sold the un-sellable house! Buxton Manor, the one that’s been on the market for decades now. Because of all those ridiculous ghost stories, I had to practically give it away, but I did it. It’s time we negotiate a raise.” She withdrew the phone so abruptly, I was sure whoever was on the other end of the receiver didn’t have a chance to respond.
With her sign tucked under her arm, the woman wrapped around her vehicle, struggling as her heels dug into the earth. She headed for a sign stuck in the dirt a few yards away from where I sat. All that time and I had completely forgotten about the ‘For Sale’ sign. After all, in the most recent decade, the sign had become no longer legible, beaten by foul weather.
The woman nailed something to the front of the battered sign, and before she turned away, her eyes lingered upon the Manor. For a moment, I could have sworn I saw her shiver. Seemingly a bundle of nerves, she hastily bolted back to her vehicle, locked herself inside; the car screeched as it reversed. The vehicle slipped between the gates, vanishing into the fog. And just like that she was gone.
Before I could jump to my feet, I disappeared, my body exploding into a shower of mist. Shortly after, my substance gathered, my shape reforming at the ‘For Sale’ sign. That’s when I saw it, the reason as to why the woman had come all this way.
Buxton Manor had been purchased.

Quote Challenge Day 3

Well, it’s the last day of the challenge and Aaron and I saved our favorite quote for last. This one is very special to us. The words here are powerful and we believe them to be absolute truth. I (Jonathan) actually got this quote tattooed on my arm. That’s how much I truly LOVE it. I have a strange fascination with death. All my books (that have been written or planned to in the near future) focus not only on death, but the exact meaning of this quote. I do believe that J.M. Barrie pulled from his higher self when writing this down on paper.

to die will be an awfully big adventure, J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan, Husband and husband, aaron ferrara, jonathan l. ferrara, love, inspiration, stories, children stories, quote, famous quote, j.m. barrie quote, peterman quote, relationship, entertainment

“To Die Will Be An Awfully Big Adventure.” – J.M. Barrie

In Honor of Michael Davies and Rupert Buxton

Michael Llewelyn Davies (June 16, 1900 – May 19, 1921) was one of the four original boys who inspired one of the most classic fairytales of all time, J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan. Supposedly, out of all the Davies brothers (including Peter), Michael was the one to actual model the character of the “Boy Who Never Grew Up.” In fact, the statue Mr. Barrie had built of his character in Kensington Gardens was supposed to share Michael’s likeness. Sadly, Barrie was disappointed with the final result because the sculptor used a different model. One of my favorite quotes by the author was regarded to this statue. “It does’t show the devil in him.” In 1910, after the death of the boys’ mother, Sylvia Llewelyn Davies, Barrie became the legal guardian of the boys. Michael was very close with Barrie and it has even been said that Michael was his favorite. Much later, after graduating at Eton, Michael attended Christ Church, Oxford where he met his very close friend, Rupert Buxton.

Rupert Erroll Victor Buxton (May 10, 1900 – May 19, 1921) was the youngest of the seven children of Sir Thomas Buxton, 4th Baronet. He was a writer from earlier on, starting when he was fifteen-years-old. He was known by his family and friends as kind, intelligent, creative, and always helped the unfortunate. Like Michael, Rupert battled with depression that seemed to haunt them until the day they met. Once their friendship(or romantic relationship as many have speculated) began, they were said to be inseparable, spending every waking minute together. Their close friends (many of which came out of the closet later in life) went on record saying that Michael and Rupert were romantically involved. Even Michael’s youngest brother Nicholas Llewelyn Davies (Nico) went to say that he believed this to be true.

Michael and Rupert died May 19, 1921 at Sanford Lock (drowning). Their death has been somewhat controversial. The most two likely reasons have been said to be either a suicide pact or freak drowning accident. First of all, I don’t believe this was suicide. Sure, both boys fought with depression throughout the courses of their young lives, but they were also reported the most happiest when together. If they were gay, (which I believe they were) I’m sure it must have been terribly difficult to hide their relationship. It is safe to assume that if they weren’t able to be “together,” committing suicide could have felt like the only solution for a dismal future. However, with closer research, we discovered that Michael and Rupert were part of a group of friends (almost all of them came out as homosexual later). I believe this was a sort of organization where these young men and women could be openly out. There is much more mystery that went on with this group. Some of which has to do with a manor nearby the lock where the boys drowned. This manor is the same place in which this group felt safe. The lady of this house was also having quite the scandal with a much younger man who was a contractor for the manor. This young man was also what today we would consider a male escort to both woman and men.

Back to their death. Classmates and friends told reporters that the morning the boys died, before they went to the lock, they invited a bunch of friends to join them for a swim. Unfortunately, no one could make it. My thoughts are, why would those boys kill themselves on a trip they invited friends on? It’s too spontaneous. Not to mention they were happy. I believe someone (or multiple people) killed Michael and Rupert. There is a lot of investigation I’ve done to come up with this conclusion, but I believe they were murdered. First of all, the male “escort” who worked at the manor Rupert and Michael used to go to, reported that he heard the boys from the mansion struggling in the water and found them dead. Aaron and I have been to the exact place they died. There is NO way the man could have heard them from the manor in which he describes. Second, Rupert and Michael were said to be attached together in the water! How this isn’t a red flag is beyond me. Honestly, I think the cops knew this was a “gay bashing” and covered it up. Think of the time. I have a feeling that the boys(thinking they had privacy) were caught kissing. 2021 makes the hundredth anniversary and the coroner’s report can be released to the public. I’m sure there is something deeper and darker to this story. I, for one, am itching for the truth. There is far more to this story. We’re only giving you the cliff notes version. If you are interested in learning more, I urge you to do the research. It’s a very fascinating story, shrouded in mystery.

jonathan l. ferrara, aaron ferrara, peter pan, j.m. barrie, rupert buxton, rupert erroll victor buxton, michael davies, michael llewelyn davies, the boy who never grew up, london, sanford lock, oxford

This story caught our eye about four years ago. Although it is not confirmed whether or not Michael Davies and Rupert Buxton were in a romantic relationship with each other, this couple has made history as such. Aaron and I felt very drawn to this story. Both of us shared similar traits with both boys. Michael and Aaron were both artists, and Rupert and Jonathan were both writers. There was many other connections we had, including the way people described their personality traits, how they where together, etc,  and so we were naturally drawn to this story. As I said before, Aaron and I feel very close to this story. It reminds us to appreciate how lucky we are to live in a world were we can share a life together and not have to hide it from the world.

jonathan l. ferrara, aaron ferrara, peter pan, j.m. barrie, rupert buxton, rupert erroll victor buxton, michael davies, michael llewelyn davies, the boy who never grew up, london, sanford lock, oxford

During our honeymoon in England, we arranged for a day to visit the Sanford Lock where Michael and Rupert died. We boarded a train from London to Oxford. Before I get into it, I would like to point out that Oxford is a beautiful and wonderful city that everyone needs to visit. Oxford University is such a stunning sight. It’s a college town with castles, pubs, malls, gardens, ranches, rivers, its just the most breath-taking place I think I’ve ever been in my entire life. Our dream is to live there one day. I’m straying off topic, but there is a castle in Oxford (see picture below) where a princess was held hostage while her cousin tried to get the throne. One day she escaped, draped herself in an all-white cloak, and snuck out into the winter, camouflaged. (She is the true Snow White!) Incredible story, huh? I told you, England is just enchanting. There are so many other stories like this. The whole country is rich with fairytales. Now, back to Sanford Lock. Aaron and I walked a couple miles to get there and ate at this old pub in front of the water (Fish and chips—–a must have in England). Overall, it was a great day and made our trip somewhat of an adventure. Who needs wine, chocolate, and dancing for a honeymoon? Aaron and I check out places in different countries were people may or may not have been murdered.

We’re aren’t the typical couple : )

peter pan statue, Kennington gardens, london, gay honeymoon, husband&husband, jonathan l. ferrara, aaron ferrara, England, J.M. Barrie