About twenty years ago I read a book about a school that was off in the woods.

The main character and her friend have to do a meeting with the head mistress. While the friend does well in the meeting, she isn't permitted to attend, mainly due to some test they both did.

As the story progresses, the main character finds that the school is using the students to create master pieces. The spirits of long dead composers and artists possess the students and use them to make the pieces.

The headmistress then ages the papers/paintings in a oven to make them date older. She sells them and gets rich.

I could tell how it ends, but I don't think that would be sportsman like.

So, anyone know the name of this book? I tried asking my school library, but their database lost my history. I didn't fight it since it also lost my owed debts.

  • .I assume that this was in English? Oh, and you can add the ending using spoiler tags >! – Paulie_D Nov 4 '16 at 20:00
  • Yes, you can use spoiler tags to hide the ending. However, this is not usually considered necessary for story-identification questions (and is indeed not usually done). – Adamant Nov 4 '16 at 20:21
  • Yea, I was avoiding as much of the story as I could. I think I should edit some of the description since it's not in the summary on the book. Side note, I've ordered a copy. Lets see if it lives up to my nostalgia ^-^. – Kayot Nov 4 '16 at 22:08
  • ^_^ Any additional details are welcome in questions because it will help other people looking for it. – FuzzyBoots Nov 5 '16 at 16:41

Lois Duncan's Down A Dark Hall

Book cover

Partial summary from Wikipedia:

After Kit's mother is remarried, Kit is forced to attend Madame Duret's Blackwood Boarding School. Kit originally planned to attend school with her best friend, Tracy, but Tracy was not accepted despite having better grades. The school is far out in the country, and when Kit first laid eyes on the deserted ancient building, she felt something dark emanating from the school - something evil. She is further disturbed to find that her room only locks from the outside and that there are only four students attending the school: herself, Sandy, Ruth, and Lynda. The faculty consists of only Madame Duret, Professor Farley, and Jules, Madame Duret's son who teaches piano.

The girls begin to discover new talents, which manifest most prominently as they sleep. Lynda, who exhibited no artistic ability before attending the school, begins to paint landscapes on a professional level and signs them "T.C." Ruth finds herself able to understand and practice extremely high-level math and science. Sandy, Kit's closest friend at Blackwell, often brings her sonnets she claims were dictated to her by a woman named Ellis. The girls finally realize what is happening to them after Kit wakes up at the school's piano in the middle of the night, playing a piece she has never heard before and being recorded by Jules. She forces Jules to tell her what is going on at the school, why the students suddenly possess so many new skills, and why they only come out in their sleep.

Blackwell, Jules explains, targets young people with the ability to connect with the other side and that each of the students selected has some form of this gift. Madame Duret brought these girls to Blackwood because the spirits of diseased owners walk its halls, giving it a thin barrier between this life and the next. It is here that she can use the girls to channel great minds of the past - atists, musicians, writers, mathematicians, scientists - and continue the work they could not finish before their death. Kit begs him to let them leave, afraid of what these connections could mean, but Jules refuses.

  • Amazing, you had it in less than four hours. I spent years trying to find it. You have my up vote. It won't keep my up vote. So here's a check as Answer as well! – Kayot Nov 4 '16 at 21:47
  • Sometimes, it's just a matter of picking the right Google keywords. book school in the woods "ghosts of artists" possess students – FuzzyBoots Nov 5 '16 at 5:23

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