Blog Tour · Book Reviews · books

Blog Tour: ‘Letters From The Dead’ Review

Today is my day of the blog tour for ‘Letters From The Dead’!

I really enjoyed this book! I’ve been in a reading slump recently and this was the perfect book to get me out of it!

Set in Edwardian England this novel follows Thomas Bexley, an ex ‘special investigator’ for the police. Bexley has become a drunkard and recluse, haunted by terrible visions of the dead. But when news of a spate of extraordinary kidnappings by the mysterious ‘wraith’ reaches him, Thomas is shocked to learn that his dear friend and former mentor, Professor Elijah Hawthorn, is the lead suspect.

Discovering a plea for help from Hawthorn claiming to have unearthed a gruesome conspiracy at the heart of the Metropolitan Police, Thomas embarks on a journey to prove Hawthorn’s innocence.

But wherever Thomas goes, he is followed by the dead, and as the mystery of Hawthorn’s disappearance deepens, so too does Thomas’ apparent insanity. How can Thomas be certain of the truth when he can’t trust anybody around him, not even himself…?

This historical crime novel will keep you on your toes with its many twists and turns! Written in the first person from Bexley’s perspective, it provides a brilliant unreliable narration that evokes suspense as the reader discovers clues and leads alongside him. I’m not usually a big fan of crime novels but this one is like no other! The supernatural elements of the creepy and downright terrifying ghosts create an enthralling novel with a claustrophobic atmosphere.

I particularly loved the creepy abandoned Manor House that stands isolated on a small Scottish island. The setting is very Gothic and the apparitions reminded me of those in the film ‘Crimson Peak’, as they are twisted and gruesome spirits powered by wrath and revenge. The grand hall of the house features a large wall covered in bird taxidermy and Hurcom’s descriptive language made this scene in particular very eerie.

The storyline itself is very gripping and cleverly written. Every time I thought I knew who the wraith was, another insight would be revealed and I would be clueless once again

Thomas is a flawed hero who is racked with addiction & seems to ignore Dorothy’s input on several occasions, however he is still likeable and his genuine desire for truth and justice makes for an accomplished character.
I loved Dorothy and my only complaint would be that I wanted more of her!

I highly recommend this novel to any fan of crime thrillers or Gothic tales!

I give this spine-chilling book ⭐️ 3.5/5 ⭐️

Thank you Orion Books for my copy & for including me in this tour!

Letters From The Dead will be available in hardback on the 26th November 2020.

Author’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/SamHurcom

Book Reviews · books · Gothic Literature · Horror · Reviews

“Tannis anyone?”: Rosemary’s Baby Review

Before reading Rosemary’s Baby I had only seen the film once, many years ago, so I went in with a small bit of prior knowledge. However, I was not prepared for how amazing this book would be!

Set in 1960’s New York it follows the story of Rosemary Woodhouse and her actor husband, Guy, as they move into their new swanky Bramford apartment. The majority of their neighbours are elderly couples who are very welcoming of the young Woodhouses. The pair are happy in their new home until one night, Rosemary has a strange and vivid dream…
When she falls pregnant, her neighbours Roman and Minnie Castavet go above and beyond to make her feel comfortable, even providing her daily drinks made of strange herbs and finding her a renowned obstetrician, who has some pretty peculiar methods…

What I loved about this book was the growing sense of unease and dread that runs through the narrative. Although written in the third person, the story is shown through Rosemary’s perspective meaning that the reader goes on the strange journey alongside her.

We never really see anything scary or horrifying but hear strange things through the walls or bad news from the telephone, or witness slightly odd behaviour. Nothing appears too out of the ordinary and yet something is still never quite right.

Rosemary’s naivety is endearing but frustrating at times, for example after her dream she finds scratches all over her body which Guy claims responsibility in a moment of ‘passion’. Although initially upset that Guy ‘made love’ to her body when she was asleep, she soon decides that she is being dramatic. This blatant example of rape is not excusable regardless of intend (to make a baby) or their married status and it is infuriating that Rosemary doesn’t view it as such. This is of course used to illustrate her complete loyal trust in her husband as well as her young naivety, but I couldn’t help but get a bit angry.

Rosemary goes on to lose her freedom and sacrifices her health for the sake of the baby, as she endures agonising pain for the first several months of her pregnancy. Again Levin uses this idea of ‘something not quite right’ to create a sense of dread, as Rosemary should not be experiencing these symptoms. The primal fear many women experience during pregnancy regarding the safety of their unborn child is played upon here to create a terrifying narrative.

Levin creates a perfect suspenseful atmosphere and I genuinely loved every part of the book. The climax at the end is particularly brilliantly written.

It is a book that I cannot stop thinking about even after finishing!

5/5

Blog Tour · Book Reviews · books · Reviews

Blog Tour: We Wait Review

“We’re in the dark beyond your door”

We Wait is a beautifully written Gothic tale by Megan Taylor. First published in 2019, it follows the story of Maddie, a fifteen-year-old girl who is sent away to her family’s country estate over summer, alongside her best friend Ellie. Her aunt Natalie is the current occupant of the Crawley manor, as she is burdened with the task of nursing her elderly mother, Marcia. Sounds like the beginning of a classic ghost story right?

Although it is definitely a Gothic text, with its tone and atmosphere, I was delighted to discover that this book is so much more than a simple ghost story. It begins with the girls’ car journey through the woods as they approach the old house, creating an eerie atmosphere that runs throughout the book. However, what makes the narrative stand out against traditional Gothic texts, is that it takes place during the height of summer. The sticky, oppressive atmosphere is a beautiful contrast to the dark eerie lake and woods, where fingers appear to touch your skin and ghostly apparitions can be seen to weave through the trees.

There are many elements of this story that reminded me of The Haunting of Hill House. The protagonist is a meek young girl who appears to be in love with her confident best friend. Like her namesake in Hill House, Ellie is frightened of the house at the start of the book but gradually begins to thrive within its grounds. In one particular scene, she seems to come out of her shell and starts to actually enjoy herself. It is also interesting to note that it is only Ellie who sees the mysterious girl that wanders through the woods, making one wonder if the spectre is merely a reflection of Ellie’s repressed sexuality or a warning sign?

Mirroring is a key theme of the book and something I found highly effective. About 1/3 way through the book the narrative shifts to Marica and Hugo’s perspective in 1986, when Hugo and Natalie’s cousin Jess, comes to stay for the summer. The two girls seem to be ‘suspiciously’ close and Marcia is convinced that Jess is corrupting her daughter. What I loved about this section was how Ellie and Maddie’s love affair mirrors that of Natalie and Jess. At Crawley House, history repeats itself.

Of course, when I first realised that this book depicted queer relationships I was over the moon! The representation is not fetishized or sensationalized but is tasteful and really touching in some places. Ellie’s growing feelings towards her best friend are brilliantly portrayed and I’m sure that many queer people, like myself, will identify with her adolescent confusion.

But not only are there two narratives, lesbian love affairs and family drama, the book is also filled with a haunting presence. Italicized speech from an unknown source, is laced through the narrative claiming things like: “During the day, we wait, but in the night, we whisper”. I found this to be an effective way of creating an impending sense of dread and keeps the reader on their toes. Who are these ghostly voices?

What I enjoyed most about this book was the Gothic feeling of uncertainty that the reader experiences, as one is never sure if something is a product of a character’s overactive imagination or a supernatural presence. Either way, the trepidation still creeps in – this book certainly delivers on impending terror!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am happy that I was introduced to Taylor’s writing, which is enriched with beautiful imagery and descriptions. I felt totally transported to the Crawley house and its grounds! I loved the paranormal elements that haunt the characters as well as the multiple narrative perspectives and the enthralling storyline. This book is full of twists and turns and will remain with you even after its closed.

I give We Wait 3.5/5

Thank you Eyrie Press for sending me a copy!

Megan Taylor, We Wait, (Eyrie Press, 2019) is available to buy at:

Publisher’s Website:
https://www.eyriepress.co.uk/books/we-wait/

Or

Amazon:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/We-Wait-Megan-Taylor/dp/1913149048


Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52647173-we-wait

Author Website: https://www.megantaylor.info/

Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/meganjstaylor

Book Reviews · books · Literature · Reviews

“Are the shades of Pemberley to be thus polluted?”: Pride and Prejudice Review

I did not expect to love Pride and Prejudice as much as I did! Ashamedly it has taken me twenty six years to read this novel but as the saying goes, it is better late than never! I remember picking up this book when I was seventeen and putting it back down again almost immediately, writing it off as a boring period piece – I could not have been more wrong!

Austen’s wit flows through the novel, commenting on the ridiculous customs of early nineteenth-century society. Mrs Bennet for example, is a humorous character who is fixated on marrying off her five daughters at any given moment. Her strops are often induced whenever she doesn’t get her own way and is forced to stay in bed, blaming it on her ‘poor nerves’. Her husband on the other hand, is a calm and caring parent who is used to his wife’s tantrums and is usually armed with a droll response. Mr Bennet along with his second-eldest daughter Elizabeth are definitely my favourite of the Bennet family. Like her father, Lizzie has a dry wit and makes many humorous observations of her friends and neighbours. However she is quick to reach conclusions and unlike her sweet natured older sister Jane, she can at times, judge people unmercifully.

What I love about this book is how invested one becomes with the main characters; I was rooting for Lizzie and Jane’s happiness. This is definitely a book that centres around relationships and people, which is what provided a nice break from my usual gothic horror reading. There was plenty of domestic drama and was not without its twists! Lydia’s elopement was a complete surprise, made even more shocking by the fact that she was only FIFTEEN!

Mr Collins is another brilliant example, his lack of self awareness and complete confidence in his abilities makes for a hilarious character. The second hand embarrassment at his failed proposal to Lizzie is only matched by Darcy’s equally unsuccessful attempt. These scenes were definitely my favourite of the novel!

The settings in the book are also spectacular. The idyllic countryside and stately manor homes provide a serene backdrop to the drama. Austen’s descriptions transport the reader to the peaceful surroundings, creating a calm yet exciting novel, that is a perfect escape from the current global pandemic.

I was genuinely surprised at how much I enjoyed Pride and Prejudice and I am now firmly a fan of Austen! I did enjoy Sense and Sensibility when I studied it in my second year of university, but this novel completely blew me away. Full of sharp dialogue, three dimensional characters and picturesque settings this novel is a triumph.

I give Pride and Prejudice 4.5/5

Book Reviews · books · Literature · Reviews

“Beauty is terror”: The Secret History Review

The Secret History is by far one of my favourite novels, although this has only been the case since my second reading.

When I first read it in 2018 I found it to be a beautiful book, but felt that the characters were a bit too unlikable. However, this time around it was like being greeted by old (and very weird) friends.  Yes this is partly due to a feeling of nostalgia, but it is also largely down to the fact that I took my time to appreciate the characters more.

secret history

The story is narrated by Richard, a California kid who dreams of escaping his suburban life by attending Hampden college, an ‘Eastern’ university in Vermont, that offers established degrees in the humanities and arts. There he becomes fascinated with a group of people who act and dress like upper-class characters from a novel. He idealises them and is determined to join the elite Classics class in which the five attend. After much persuasion and dropping out of all his current classes he is allowed onto the course.

It is a small class containing only the five outsiders and Richard and is taught by the eccentric Julian. The tender way in which Richard describes him, gives the impression of a loving father figure who, like Mr Keating in The Dead Poets Society, will teach them how to seize the day and appreciate art and culture.  Although partly true, we soon discover that like with most people he knows, Richard only sees the idealised version of Julian (which ironically he accuses Julian of doing).

Because the novel is narrated by Richard we never get to truly understand the other members of the group. He romanticises Camilla to the extent that the reader never gets to experience any of her personality, instead she is reduced to an ethereal muse who’s blonde hair glows in the sunlight. When she occasionally does get the chance to voice her opinion Richard loses focus and begins to fixate on her physical attributes. This male gaze is wonderfully explored in most of Tartt’s work and opens the readers eyes to sexism. However this means that she misses the opportunity to explore the psyche of her female characters.

When first introduced to Henry I found him arrogant and cold but this time around I began to notice little details that alluded to more behind those stern eyes. He is determined in his venture to live like the heroes of the classics he so loves, to experience life to its full potential. As we soon discover, poor Henry takes his enterprise too far and ends up accidentally killing a man whilst in a trance, during an ancient Greek ritual to escape consciousness. This is the catalyst to the main plot of the story as it is this action that leads to Bunny’s death and subsequent events thereafter. [No spoilers here].

Although cold and strange I don’t believe that Henry is a bad person. I think that he is disappointed that the world doesn’t live up to his dreamlike expectations, which is why he chooses to escape into the stories of the ancient world; and to be honest can’t we all relate? He just wants to feel something, which is why he decided to try and replicate the Greek ritual of outer body experience. He didn’t kill Bunny because he wanted to, he killed him to save the group and Camilla, who I believe he truly loved. On the second reading I really got to understand Henry a little better than before, although Richard’s clueless-ness removes the hope of ever totally understanding him.

Bunny on the other-hand remains my favourite. Although loud and crass I believe that he is the most authentic of them all. Although we never get to see his true colours I do believe that it is the act of his facade that makes him real. Unlike the others he isn’t ashamed to show his bad side, he is sometimes obnoxious and cruel but he speaks his thoughts out loud. You can’t imagine Bunny scheming a secret plan to kill someone, like the rest of the group. Whilst they try to remain composed Bunny allows his emotions to show, however ugly. It is also easy to forget that his response to the murder is the only moral one. When reading you cant help but wish that he will stop being so obvious about it all and to stop risking the group getting caught. However he is the only one who seems affected by the murder and his reaction is a relatable one. Of course you would panic and be frightened by your friends actions, and his behaviour is understandable. On reflection what is strange is the cool, collected behaviour of the others, why don’t they feel the guilt that Bunny does?

We do not gain much access to the other three characters, Francis, Camilla and Charles. Francis is a closet homosexual who wears chic black clothing and a pince-nez. Although his clothes are stuck up he isn’t as arrogant as one would expect. He is quite a likeable character and you cant help but sympathise with his unrequited love for Charles. Like Bunny, he too wears a mask to appear more sophisticated than he really is, though we soon see more of his true self when he is alone with Richard.

The twins however remain an enigma throughout the novel. Thanks to Richard we never get to see Camilla’s true self and Charles never seems to express himself correctly. He is angry and defensive after Bunny’s murder and begins to rely heavily on alcohol. We never get to see what really happened during his many police interviews but are left with the impression that it didn’t go as smoothly as they have Richard believe.

What is so clever about the unreliable narrator is that it leaves you questioning everything that Richard experiences. He is desperate to become a part of the group but is never wholly successful. At times we are left just as confused and left out as Richard, which makes the characters and the novel so much more intriguing.

The beautiful imagery Tartt uses to describe the changing landscapes really captures the beauty of nature and the every day, and transports you straight to the historical college. The changing seasons are so acutely detailed that you can almost smell the crisp air as the leaves begin to turn.

What makes The Secret History so brilliant is Tartt’s ability to capture the multiple dimensions of her characters. Sometimes they are completely unlikeable and unjustified, but then they can be relatable and even admirable. No matter how you feel about the characters you are always invested in them.

This book is incredibly hard to put down; it is beautifully written, immersive and will remain with you long after you have finished reading. Tartt has the ability to make you feel things and evoke a strong desire to study classics in an old, picturesque university.

I give The Secret History ⭐5/5⭐

 

Film Reviews · Films · Horror · Horror Films · Horror Movies · Reviews

Raw (2016): Review

Raw film 2016

Wow where do I even begin with Raw (2016)?!

I guess the first thing to mention is that this is not a film for the faint hearted! However the gruesome scenes are not used carelessly but serve a purpose to the narrative, without simply becoming a shock device.

The film follows the journey of Justine [Garance Marillier] as she begins her life at Vet school. She is a shy, sheltered girl who’s academic reputation precedes her. We are told early on that she is a strict vegetarian and her social naivety is apparent, especially when opposite her cool, liberal sister Alexia [Ella Rumpf].

What makes this film so great is that the cannibalism is a metaphor for sexuality. Justine is a vegetarian and a virgin at the start but like most new college students she begins to discover her sexuality. During an initiation she is pressured into eating a raw rabbit kidney which she first tries to protest but very quickly succumbs. This is the pivotal moment of the film as it acts as a catalyst to a new gruesome compulsion.

What I liked about this film is that it isn’t grotesque just for the sake of it; her cannibalism builds slowly, starting with her guiltily sneaking meat from the canteen, to eating a raw chicken breast, leading to a rather uncomfortable waxing scene which ends in her having a cheeky nibble of her sisters amputated finger (it makes sense trust me!)

The film manages to create a realistic crescendo to cannibalism, depicting her guilt and anguish throughout. She never eats an entire person in a zombie-style frenzy but slowly feels the increasing urge for flesh, similar to the blossoming sexual desire of a teenage girl. 

And like many teenage girls, she tries to stop her compulsions however this time leading to withdrawals in a scene that would not look out of place in Trainspotting [which Marillier is said to have got her inspiration from]. Her cannibalistic compulsion cannot be stopped and she eventually gives into her desires. The ending of the film [no spoilers here] furthers this point by suggesting that you cannot stop your sexuality but you can find a way to keep it under control.

A film that is beautifully shot and brilliantly acted, Raw will stay with me for quite a while. I expected a grotesque, over the top film made to shock, but was pleasantly surprised to experience a film that explores the ups and downs of growing up and the sexual journey of youth, with dark humour and stylistic cinematography thrown in.

I would give this film ⭐  4.5/ 5 ⭐ 

 

Literature · Poetry

Poetry: No, Thank You, John

Since being in lock-down I’ve decided to get back into reading poetry and stumbled across an old favourite:

No, Thank You, John

I never said I loved you, John:
Why will you tease me, day by day,
And wax a weariness to think upon
With always “do” and “pray”?

You know I never loved you, John;
No fault of mine made me your toast:
Why will you haunt me with a face as wan
As shows an hour-old ghost?

I dare say Meg or Moll would take
Pity upon you, if you’d ask:
And pray don’t remain single for my sake
Who can’t perform that task.

I have no heart?—Perhaps I have not;
But then you’re mad to take offence
That I don’t give you what I have not got:
Use your common sense.

Let bygones be bygones:
Don’t call me false, who owed not to be true:
I’d rather answer “No” to fifty Johns
Than answer “Yes” to you.

Let’s mar our pleasant days no more,
Song-birds of passage, days of youth:
Catch at to-day, forget the days before:
I’ll wink at your untruth.

Let us strike hands as hearty friends;
No more, no less: and friendship’s good:
Only don’t keep in view ulterior ends,
And points not understood

In open treaty. Rise above
Quibbles and shuffling off and on:
Here’s friendship for you if you like; but love,—
No, thank you, John.

    – Christina Rossetti
books · Gothic Literature · Lists · Literature

5 Classic Gothic novels that everyone should read

As a Gothic studies Masters student I am somewhat biased when it comes to Gothic literature. Many works have inspired me over the years and I feel like its time to share some of my favourites.

What IS Gothic Literature?
Many scholars have endeavoured to answer this question but a concrete definition has never been agreed on. HOWEVER its largely accepted that the Gothic is a genre that evokes fear and terror and is characterised by elements of death, and gloom, as well as romantic elements such as nature, individuality and high emotion.
With that in mind, (in no particular order) here are five classic Gothic novels that everyone should read:

Dracula by Bram Stoker
dracDracula was published in 1897 and is still popular all over the globe today. Everyone has heard of Dracula and has come across it’s many adaptations, whether that be films, TV shows, comics, etc, but many people have never read the original text. New readers may be surprised to learn that Dracula wasn’t always the slick, Lugosi-esque Count, but is introduced as an old, creepy aristocrat with blazing red eyes and white hair and moustache. 

The narrative is written solely through letters and journal entries, giving a voice to all the characters in their hunt for Count Dracula.

The novel mostly takes place in London, England not Transylvania, as the Count travels to the foreign land to claim it for himself, through the recruitment of the undead.

Its an exciting read, with Van Helsing, Jonathan Harker and Mina along with their ‘crew of light’ putting together the pieces of the puzzle to discover the Count’s weaknesses and to save Mina from transforming into a vampire herself. There are many suspenseful moments and some that are even quite creepy. I would highly recommend it to anyone who has heard of Dracula and would like to discover the original story.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
frankFrankenstein was first published in 1818 and a second edited edition was published in 1823. It follows the narrative of Victor Frankenstein, a young student from Geneva who decides to create life and solve the mysteries of God himself.
Of course, we all know this doesn’t go to plan and his protegee is in fact a hideous creature (who is not called Frankenstein). Shunned by his creator the creature is left to haunt the earth utterly alone, as humans tend to run away screaming in his presence (poor guy).

He soon discovers a cottage of kind village folk and soon learns language, and morals through observing their everyday lives, however he is again shunned when he declares himself to them and is forced to flee.

In a fury the creature confronts his creator and begs him to make a ‘wife’ so that he can spend the rest of his days of solitude with his similarly exiled companion. But will Frankenstein agree? And what effect would that have on his morality?

Frankenstein asks many questions on science, morality and the importance of paternal upbringing. Although a short book it is jam packed with an exciting story and leaves the reader questioning life itself.

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
dorWhat would this list be without Dorian Gray?! Those who know me are aware of my deep devotion of this book, so of course it made the list!

Dorian Gray was first published in 1890 and caused quite a stir.

Dorian Gray is a handsome young man who is introduced to the reader as his portrait is painted by his artist friend Basil. When Lord Henry visits his old friend he is delighted to meet Dorian for the first time and its instantly enamoured with him.
He thus decides to take the naive young Dorian under his wing and teach him the values of hedonism.

Wishing to be young and beautiful forever Dorian discovers all that the world has to offer. It does not take long for his mind to be corrupted by Lord Henry and he begins to experiment with various philosophies and ideas. However, his ultimate downfall occurs when he realises that his wish has come true, his portrait now takes on all the moral corruption of Dorian’s soul, as Dorian himself remains flawless and youthful.

Of course the world is now at his mercy and Dorian fully exploits his new freedom with various drug consumption, sexual exploration and even murder. What makes this book such a fascinating read is watching the degradation of Dorian’s character, and makes you wonder, would you be the same if you remained young and beautiful forever?

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
rebFirst published in 1938 Rebecca is the youngest novel on the list, but that does not make it any less Gothic.

Although perhaps better known for Hitchcock’s 1940 adaptation, Rebecca still remains a Gothic classic today. Narrated by an unnamed protagonist, it follows the narrator’s memoir of her time at Manderley, an old stately home on the coast of Cornwall, which becomes her marital home after her marriage to Max de Winter, a wealthy widower.

Inferior in class to her new husband the narrator feels insecure and uncomfortable in her new home, which is worsened by the ominous presence of the creepy old housekeeper Mrs Danvers. Mrs D is a classic Gothic figure, always skulking in the shadows as if holding a dark secret.

The narrator soon discovers that the previous Mrs de Winter, Rebecca, was killed in a boating accident and was the epitome of upper class society. Mrs Danvers kindly reminds her on a regular basis that Rebecca was her superior in every sense and that she will never live up to her standards. Haunted by Rebecca the narrator begins to feel unseen presences in the house and becomes suspicious of its occupants, especially her new husband who refuses to talk about his past.

A creepy, suspenseful book Rebecca is a classic psychological thriller, set in an old creaky house with an unreliable narrator.


Jane Eyre
by Charlotte Bronte
janeLast but not least we have Charlotte Bronte’s 1847 novel Jane Eyre. Although not a traditional ‘horror’ book, it still falls into the Gothic category as it contains many Gothic themes and elements, such as; an old ancestral manor house that is ‘haunted’ by a woman in the attic, wild moors and romance, as well as a male protagonist with a mysterious past. Sound familiar? That’s because Du Maurier is believed to have based Rebecca on this classic novel.

Jane Eyre is about an impoverished orphan who begins her story living with her nasty, abusive relatives and is subsequently sent to a bleak boarding school to carry out the rest of her journey into adulthood.

After staying on as a teacher for two more years she finally decides to go out into the world and becomes a Governess for a young french girl in the countryside. Thus she begins her life in Thornfield Hall. The stately home consists of a kind housekeeper, a few servants and the master’s ward Adele. Jane enjoys her time at Thornfield but is curious to meet the infamous lord of the manor, Edward Rochester.

Well as luck has it, she soon bumps into her master on the moors when she rushes to his aid after an accident with his horse (how romantic!). Shortly after their meeting the two begin to fall in love although Rochester is first reluctant to admit it. After many ups and downs Rochester finally proposes to Jane and they are set to get married. However a mysterious feral-like woman appears to Jane on the night before her wedding and rips up her wedding dress. The secret is now out: the woman is in fact Bertha Rochester, her fiance’s wife who has been locked in the attic for many years due to her mental instability and violent outbursts. As they are still married Jane cannot legally marry her love and flees from Thornfield in the dead of night.

But what will happen next?! Will Rochester and Jane get their happy ending? Or is Jane doomed to roam the moors for the rest of her life?!

This book is a thrilling read that has quite a few twists and turns, and in my opinion had more content and story line than I expected on the first reading. It’s one of those books in which you think you know the story until you actually read it.

Book Reviews · books · Reviews

“People never notice anything”: ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ Review

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The Catcher in the Rye by J.D Salinger is one of those classic novels that always appears on lists such as ’50 books to read before you die’ which is the reason I decided it was time to tick it of the metaphorical list.

It follows Holden, a sixteen year old student who decides to run away from yet another boarding school after being expelled. He doesn’t quite know where he wants to end up but all he knows is that he has three days before the start of the holidays and his parents finding out his situation. With this in mind he decides to explore underground New York and make the most of his freedom.

This book was a lot more colloquial than I expected from a ‘classic’ 1950’s novel which allowed for a more authentic portrayal of the world, through the eyes of the young narrator. I found it quite comical in parts as the first person narration emphasises the wise guy nature of Holden and his disgust at society.

The narrator also made some very valid points about how ‘phoney’ people can be which leads me to believe that J.D Salinger may have allowed his own opinions to peak through.

I also loved the the rhythm that flows through the narration which reminded me somewhat of the works of the beat generation which added to the erratic thoughts of Holden.

Overall this little book was a great little gem that I’m very glad to have picked up, and even though there wasn’t a huge plot, the thoughts and narration of Holden was entertaining enough.

⭐  4/5 ⭐ 

 

 

Book Reviews · books · Horror · Reviews

‘Horns’ by Joe Hill Review

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“There’s only room for one hero in this story and everyone knows the devil doesn’t get to be the good guy”

I wasn’t expecting to like Horns as much as I did but its always nice to be surprised. Horns follows the story of Ig, a twenty something guy who wakes up one day to discover horns growing out of his head. As the book goes on the reader learns that Ig’s childhood sweetheart Merrin was brutally raped and murdered the previous year, leaving Ig the prime suspect in everyone’s eyes.

Although innocent, Ig has lived the year from hell as most people including his own parents believe him to be the murderer. So when he wakes up with horns he discovers that they allow him to read the innermost dark desires of those he interacts with.

At first this creates some humorous encounters but as he begins to learn the dark truths of those closest to him he soon realises that his brother knows a lot more about Merrin’s murder than he first claimed.

I found this an easy and enjoyable read, and struggled to put the book down. Although I wasn’t a fan of NOS4A2 I absolutely love Hill’s writing style in this. It’s punchy and real yet is still very descriptive in its imagery. I also find the concept of people confessing their deepest desires to the devil a fascinating premise for a novel and feel that Hill really did it justice.

What I also loved about this book was the flashback to Ig’s childhood. I’m not 100% certain on when it is set but I got a late 90’s/ early 00’s vibe which was great, as its the first time a novel flashbacks to the era where I was a child.

Overall I found Horns to be suspenseful, dark and quite touching, making it a great book in my eyes.

⭐  4/5 ⭐