The tale of the famously haunted Allen House of Monticello is the subject of a new book by Mark Spencer, dean of the School of Arts and Humanities at the University of Arkansas at Monticello.
A Haunted Love Story, The Ghosts of the Allen House is a nonfiction intertwining of two stories: one family’s experiences residing in the house, and the story of the best known member of the Allen family, Ladell Allen Bonner (March 22, 1894 – January 2, 1949), whose hidden stash of over 80 love letters Spencer discovered under a floorboard in the attic.
The letters enabled Spencer to vividly tell the tragic story of the kind, intelligent, and frustrated Ladell, who deliberately consumed mercury cyanide during her mother’s annual holiday party in 1948.
Available in paperback in bookstores throughout the United States, Canada, and Great Britain, A Haunted Love Story was officially released January 1 and is also available in Kindle and Nook editions. Because of early reviews, it’s a top-20 “Top Rated” title in the “Supernatural” category on, and in its early weeks has been the No. 1 bestselling “Hot New Release” in three Amazon categories.
Barbara Hoyt, in a review for Amazon.com, called the book “intriguing on so many levels. The author has done his research and is incredibly skilled at weaving all of the stories together in a way that held my interest from start to finish. First there is the Spencer family who has to deal with the fact that the Allen House is haunted, and that they are living in it. This is more difficult for the author . . . but ironically, his skepticism and his fear of being perceived as some sort of nut by his colleagues actually lend further credibility to the book. Then there are the inhabitants themselves, the ghosts of the Allen family, and especially Ladell, whose letters the author finds in the attic. It is her story of love and loss that draws Mr. Spencer in further and the reader along with him. Set against the history of the town of Monticello and the social mores of the South in the early to mid-twentieth century, her relationship with a handsome, wealthy and very married man, comes alive – so much so that I felt that I was there, in the moment, with the couple, not reading what the author could only glean from their clandestine correspondence. The way Mr. Spencer pieces together the arc of the romance from beginning to end, while sharing with the reader his family’s experience of coming to grips with the paranormal makes for a compelling and satisfying book. I would highly recommend it.”
Spencer is the award-winning author of three novels, two short story collections, and a history book. His numerous writing honors include the Faulkner Society Faulkner Award, the Omaha Prize for the Novel, the Patrick T. Bradshaw Book Award, and four Special Mentions in Pushcart Prize. He and his family have lived in the Allen House since 2007. Spencer can be visited online at AllenHouseTours.com.