A gothic ghost story set during the First World War.
In the traditional style there is the spooky old stately home with its quirky design and creaks; the surly, large and masculine housekeeper who appears from the dark corners silently gliding in at the most inappropriate times; the dastardly lord of the manor; the staid Victorian doctor; the romance that ended in tragedy; secrets, mystery and fear; the damsel in distress.
However, the damsel, despite having been treated for an emotional breakdown (depression) is strong, determined and forthright. She sarcastically says why women cannot vote and likes to have a sneaky cigarette now and again. Plus she is set on discovering who or what is causing the ghostly goings on.
In a similar way, the story is balanced by demonstrating other explanations for the apparent supernatural aspects, which makes the ending less predictable. Although, in a tale such as this, there can only be one of two endings: the ghosts are real or they are not. Still, it is an interesting journey.
There are a couple of stereotyped characters (the housekeeper being the most obvious) but there are others sympathetically drawn. The protagonist's maid is a favourite. She also serves as a contrast to the attitudes and treatment of the different social classes during the early part of twentieth century Britain.
The diction is sometimes elevated in keeping with the gothic literature style but sometimes the phrasing is very modern. Overall it is a well written book and doesn't ramble too much, the descriptive scenes are adequate, the spooky tension is good. The climax is gripping if a little predictable with a nice little feature at the end.
A good read, highly recommended.
Published by HQ on 31 October 2019. Advanced review copy supplied by the publisher.
Shop at Amazon
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Reviews by Year of Publication
All 1866 1897 1932 1935 1942 1950 1953 1960 1962 1969 1971 1974 1977 1978 1983 1984 1985 1989 1991 1994 1995 1996 1997 2001 2002 2005 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021