My favourite time of the year is back. Spring has finally arrived! It’s a good opportunity to get outside and enjoy the sun before sneezin’ season well and truly kicks in. With all this rain we’ve been getting lately, it’s perfect conditions for weeds and hay fever.
These past few months I’ve been reading and listening to a mix of horror and Gothic fiction – two of my favourites. I’ve also found some new authors. 😊
Immortelle by Catherine McCarthy
I really enjoyed this ghost story, set in a coastal town of Wales, with its combination of superstition and the art of ceramics. I enjoyed how the plot and Elinor’s grief combined to create each unique immortelle to decorate the graves of the dead.
This book starts off with two different viewpoints, but it is ultimately Elinor’s story, which is of a mother’s love for her child. There are hints of Elinor’s past, which I would have liked to have read more about, tragic deaths, ghosts, a mysterious character, and the occult.
This story is beautifully written, and some phrases you need to stop reading just to admire them. The ending is both surprising and touching. This is a deeply moving story, and one I highly recommend.
Many thanks to fellow author and blogger, Priscilla Bettis, for the recommendation! 😊
The Woman in Black by Susan Hill
I’ve read this book half a dozen times now, and it has become one of my favourites, placing it alongside The Turn of the Screw.
Eel Marsh House is an unusual, but eerie location, isolated and surrounded by marshland, creeping fog, and has its own graveyard. Strange noises frequent the marshes and the nursery, and while the woman in black appears on occasion, her presence is constant. As Arthur Kipps works alone at the house, it is refreshing to read of the dog, Spider, keeping him company. Spider is a lovely addition, and the reader also becomes concerned for her welfare.
I think listening to the audio version helps draw the reader in. It is told in the style of an old-fashioned ghost story, where Arthur tells his experiences as one would a friend in front of a warm fire on a cold winter’s night. It feels intimate with a slow build and the narrator does a great job of reading the book, which culminates in the shocking final scene, making it both chilling and heart-wrenching.
Well written, suspenseful, and atmospheric, it is highly recommended for readers of Gothic horror.
For me, this book started slow, but it wasn’t until the main character, Beatriz, began walking the house alone in the dark, did it really draw me in. The author creates an eerie atmosphere with some beautiful phrases, so that the house itself becomes a character, and the ghost is more than a shadowy figure.
I listened to the audio version, which alternated between Beatriz and Andres. The narrators did a wonderful job. They helped make the characters come alive, so that in the end I could have been mistaken for believing they were Beatriz and Andres. The only downside to the audio version was not knowing the meaning of some of the Spanish words. After hearing some of them being repeated, though, I got to understand their meaning, while at other times I was so drawn in by the story, I let them go.
I can understand the comparisons to Rebecca, but I think the setting and some of the characters helps make this unique within the Gothic genre. This is a wonderful debut, and I look forward to reading more from this author.
The BEK Curse by Jonathan Pongratz
Early retirees, Richard and Maria Wilcox, have settled into life on a farm, but talk of strange children lurking the neighbourhood shatter their privacy. The author does a good job of building the suspense as these children visit Richard and Maria at night, their intentions escalating. The children are creepy, especially the young boy, who I found capable of anything.
The ending surprised me. I wanted more and left me with questions. I am unfamiliar with the legend of black-eyed children, and I’m curious to find out more. The ending felt rushed, but that may be because I needed to keep turning the pages. By this stage, I was suspecting everyone!
A quick read that sure packs a punch, it is the first time I have read a book from this author, and it won’t be the last.
What have you been reading these past few months? Have you found any new authors lately? Do you have any book/author recommendations to share?
6 thoughts on “September Quarterly Book Reviews, 2022.”
I thought The BEK Curse was scary because the legend scares me. It’s a fun read. But I loved Immortelle, and when I saw it on your reading list, I had a feeling you’d enjoy it, too!
Hi Priscilla. Thanks for the recommendation for Immortelle. I did enjoy that one, I think she has a beautiful turn of phrase. I know nothing about the legend of the BEK, but yeah, these kids were creepy. Jonathan did a good job! 🙂
Perfect time of year for these. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Debbie.
Thanks Staci. ‘The Haunting of Chatham Hollow’ is on my reading list! 🙂
I’m honored. I hope you enjoy it!
I confess, I’m having trouble picturing Halloween being a spring holiday. To me, it’s synonymous with autumn. But I read mystery/suspense/thriller/horror all year long, so I guess that doesn’t matter much (from a reading perspective).
No worries, I look forward to reading it! Halloween is not really a thing here in Australia, but I do like the concept behind it. And yes, I’m happy to read those genres all year round too! 😉
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