Archives for ghosts

Book review: The Silent Companions

How to describe this novel? Spooky, mysterious? A tale of witchcraft and trickery or malicious exploitation and fraud? The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell starts with a woman in an asylum. Mute, she is given chalk and a slate with which to communicate. What follows is her account of the Bainbridge family and their country home, The Bridge. From the beginning until the end, we do not know who to believe. The story is told in three strands – a woman in an asylum, accused of murder; a young widow who arrives at her husband’s family home, pregnant and vulnerable; and a couple excitedly prepare for a royal visit by Charles I. What unfolds is a complicated story. Purcell handles the many threads well although I would have preferred a clear delineation with each new section marked by date. Elsie, the daughter of a match factory owner in London, is a survivor. She supported her mother after her father was killed in a ghastly workplace accident, she supported her younger brother Jolyon as their mother also fell ill. And when Jolyon brings a new investor for the factory the siblings, now jointly own, Elise marries Rupert Bainbridge. Odd things start
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Categories: Book Love.

Book review: The House on Cold Hill

Is it a crime story, is it a ghost story, is it a thriller? I don’t care, it’s great. This is the first Peter James book I have read, and I loved it. It is a mystery about a family moving to a new house in the country, then everything starts to go wrong. Have they just bought the wrong house? Bad luck? Co-incidences? Or is someone attacking them, and why? As the oddities become more frequent, Ollie becomes more frantic as the house crumbles, his new business clients are sabotaged, and he fears for his wife and daughter. The tension is handled brilliantly, the first quarter of the book is a slow build as we get to know the family and the house, after that the screw is turned relentlessly. James is a skilled storyteller. After finishing reading this novel, I discovered that Peter James used his own experience of living in a haunted house. This shows on every page, the things that happen in the house, Ollie’s reactions, the understandable belief that ‘this is not real’. Peter James’ novels are published in 36 languages. To find out more, click here for his website. If you like The House
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Categories: Book Love.

Book review: A Sudden Light

How to define this story by Garth Stein? It’s a coming of age tale, a ghost story, it’s about forests and trees and about man’s responsibility to nature. I loved it, one of the best books I‘ve read this year and quite different from everything else. Garth Stein [below] is a new author for me. I was attracted to this book by three features: the ethereal cover, the setting in the Pacific North-Western corner of the US, and the family/saga ghost story combination. Trevor’s parents are separated. His mother has flown home to England for the summer while Trevor visits for the first time his ancestral home on the Olympic Peninsula outside Seattle. Trevor’s objective is to repair his parents’ marriage, he is not sure how. But from the first day he and his father, Jones, arrive at Riddell House on The North Estate, everything seems strange. The house is enormous, built by Trevor’s great-great-grandfather Elijah Riddell a century earlier, testament to Elijah’s riches earned from his logging business. It is a mansion, built from timber, set amongst trees, isolated and rotting. The house is at the centre of this story; its physicality, its history, what it meant to Elijah
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Categories: Book Love.