Book Review: ‘Miss Abigail’s Room’ by Catherine Cavendish

A beautifully dark novella.

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Catherine Cavendish Miss Abigails Room‘Miss Abigail’s Room’ is a Victorian Gothic mystery suspense story embellished with some gloriously macabre moments. The author builds the suspense steadily, creating tension that is almost palpable by the end of the book. The reader’s suspicions grow alongside those of Becky, the main character, but the ending of the book still comes with a surprising twist that, in keeping with the conventions of gothic horror, leaves the reader both shocked and satisfied.

I really enjoyed the way in which the author depicted life both “upstairs” and “downstairs” in the house, and the ways in which the different threads of the story were woven together to create one complex, elegantly constructed story.

To craft a story that is reminiscent of Poe, Dickens and Downton Abbey at the same time is quite an achievement.Acorn Award I Golden

Well worth reading, this beautifully dark novella has been awarded a Gold Acorn.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘When Shadows Dance’

A really well crafted short story.

2018-08-09 18.32.03.pngThis is a beautifully written, well balanced story full of contrasts: light and shadow, age and youth, mishap and design. It has some almost Gothic elements and a finely tuned sense of foreboding that builds as the story unfolds, with a few neat little twists along the way, that are nicely balanced by its poignant and wistful moments.

It’s quite a short read at 18 pages, but one that proved to be a delightful diversion in a busy day.Acorn Award I Golden

‘When Shadows Dance’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn.

Get your copy here.

Book Review: ‘The Summer Of My Enlightenment’ by Kristy Dark

A well-written and complex psychological thriller.

51pGX1V5G5L‘The Summer of My Enlightenment’ is , on one level, the story of Angela and her search for meaning and fulfilment after a tragic event, but it’s also an interesting study of the nature of obsession, infatuation and narcissism and the danger that exists when they interact.

There is so much I could say about my anger toward particular characters, and my desire to see them suffer some consequences for their actions, but I don’t want to give any spoilers. Be prepared, though, for some strong emotional responses as the story unfolds. And if mind games and manipulation are trigger points for you, it’s probably best to choose a different book.

A well-written and complex psychological thriller, this book certainly kept me guessing. There was suspense and frustration aplenty, and there were numerous surprises and twists along the way. Both of the central characters are flawed and conflicted, which often makes a reader sympathetic to one or both of them, which others very well may be; however, I found it hard to warm to either of them. This certainly added an extra layer of “chiller to the thriller” for me, but also added to my frustration because there was a large degree of dramatic irony involved in my reading of the story.Acorn Award II Silver

I have awarded this book a Silver Acorn because it ticked all the “dark fiction” and “suspense” boxes, but left this reader somewhat dissatisfied at the end.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘The Witch’s Touch’ by Rosie Wylor-Owen

A deliciously dark short story read.

Rosie Wylor-Owen The Witchs TouchThe Witch’s Touch is a delightfully dark story about justice being delivered in the most satisfying way.

The narration of the story is fluent and masterful, giving the reader rich insights into the characters and their actions. The characters are developed with considerable detail given the length of the story, and the reader is captivated by the story that unfolds. The story itself is quite unique and has some brilliant twists in it to keep the reader guessing.

Acorn Award I Golden
It’s a short read that took me a little under half an hour, so it’s perfect as a quick escape from a busy day. ‘The Witch’s Touch’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn for excellence.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘The Library’ by J.V. Stanley

The Library: A story full of mystery and suspense.

J.V. Stanley The LibraryHow much of what each of us thinks we understand or know about ourselves is actually true? That’s the question that confronts James and Penelope when they discover The Library.

This is a fascinating and very thought-provoking story which challenges the assumptions we tend to make about our own lives and about other people. The reader is reminded that things are very often not what they seem, and that the truth can be very uncomfortable thing to confront, even though we think we know what the truth is.

Through their discussions and responses to different situations and experiences, the reader develops considerable empathy with James and Penelope, but also with their companion, an elderly man named Walter. By the end of the story, the reader finds themselves not only admiring the characters, but also cheering them on in the decisions and actions they take. The mystery and suspense is very well developed throughout the story, building to a surprising and satisfying climax.Acorn Award II Silver

‘The Library’ is a great read that can be enjoyed in less than an hour. It has been awarded a very respectable Silver Acorn.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘The Drowned Woman’ by Jelena Dujak

A suspenseful and well-written story.

Jelena Dujak The Drowned Woman‘The Drowned Woman’ is a suspenseful read that grows increasingly darker as the story progresses. The story, more macabre and dreadful than overtly horrific, is well crafted and builds slowly and steadily toward a climax that leaves the reader both glued to the page and holding their breath. Dujak’s writing is rich and quite sensory, so that the reader is drawn into the story and fully immersed in the events as they develop.

This is a short book, easily read in about an hour, which is a form that I think really suits horror as a genre. That also makes the book an ideal read for busy readers who have to fit their books in around the demands of life.  Acorn Award II Silver

This chilling book has been awarded a Silver Acorn.

Find your copy here.