Some houses are never at peace.
Reeling from the death of her fiancé, Stella Marcham welcomes the opportunity to stay with her pregnant sister, Madeleine, at her imposing country mansion, Greyswick – but she arrives to discover a house of unease and her sister gripped by fear and suspicion.
Before long, strange incidents begin to trouble Stella – sobbing in the night, little footsteps on the stairs – and as events escalate, she finds herself drawn to the tragic history of the house.
Aided by a wounded war veteran, Stella sets about uncovering Greyswick’s dark and terrible secrets – secrets the dead whisper from the other side…
Quite easily, hands down, one of the best books I have read all year!
Packed cover to cover with spine tingling atmosphere and goosebump inducing tension, this book is all set to give you chills.
Writing a review for this book is proving hard as I really don’t want to give away any spoilers, and for me, giving away any spoilers is a pretty shitty thing to do as they have the potential to spoil it for new readers. It’s like watching a film with my daughter, one that she has already seen. It always ends up with me not needing to continue watching it as she can’t help herself, she tells me what is about to happen before it happens! Where is the fun in that! So I will make sure to not give any away so that you can be as stunned as I was with the turn of events as they race across the pages.
And who said fiction wasn’t educational? Thanks to this book I have some great new words added to my vocabulary! Wonderful words such as idiosyncrasies, acquiesced, sagacity, inveigling, and vociferous.
Set in 1917, Stella Marcham has returned from France where she had been working as a VAD nurse, after the death of her fiancé, Gerald, an officer that was killed on the battlefield. Back living with her father and stepmother, they are worried about her as she has taken Geralds death hard, drowning in grief, to the extent their family doctor has been suggesting that maybe Stella should be admitted into a psychiatric hospital.
Stella’s sister, Madeleine is expecting a child and her husband has sent her away to live with his mother in the countryside for her safety, away from London and the threats of bombings. However Madeline is not happy at Greyswick, a rambling country manor house, so her husband asks Stella if she would join her sister at Greyswick for company and also to reassure her that there is nothing in the house to be worried about. Madeline is convinced there is something not right with the house, she has been hearing a young child crying, and footsteps in the night that only she hears and that some of the people in the house have it in for her.
As Stella and her maid Annie Burrows arrive at Greyswick, it isn’t long for them to also notice that there is something not right, and they both can hear what Madeleine has been hearing. Not quite what Hector wanted when he asked Stella to go and stay with his wife. In a bid to prove to his distraught wife that the house isn’t haunted, he calls in the help of Mr Sheers, a man of science who has had some success in uncovering some charlatans who claimed they could converse with the dead, and using science was able to explain away all the claims the charlatans made.
However, things take a different turn when the master of the house, Hector, also encounters a presence and occurrences that couldn’t just be dismissed, so in a bid to reassure the women he sets out to find a vicar from a different borough to preform and exorcism and cleanse the house. The non believer of the house, Mr Sheers goes along with it with the hopes that it would cleanse the women’s minds of the hysteria they are both feeling. But as the exorcism gets underway, things start to happen, things that cant be explained rationally and ends with a bleeding vicar and a very traumatised wife.
Annie Burrows has always been deemed as different all her life, talking to herself, or to people no one else can see and it is Annie’s help the Stella requires. She is convinced Annie has a special gift, just as her father had before her. She can hear and sometimes see spirits. So after the failed exorcism, Stella pleads with the maid Annie to speak up and help.
Annie had drawn aside the porous veil that separates this world from the next, just as I once believed her father had on the night of the fire, enabling him to rescue Lydia.
So with Annie’s help she tells them that it is Lucien that is haunting the house. Lucien Arthur Brightwell at the tender age of 5 had a tragic accident, he fell down the stairs from the nursery and died. “It is Lucien, but I can’t make him go. He’s waited to long, he won’t stop until he gets what he wants. What he wants is justice.
Misfortune stalked the halls of Greyswick – it had stolen a child.
Mr Sheers had his theories and explanations to the phenomenonable goings on, citing telekinesis as one scientific explanation, and the lady of the house, Lady Brightwell, and her companion Miss Scott are quick to agree with all of Mr Sheers explanations. As well as the housekeeper, Mrs Henge.
There are lots of shadows in Greyswick. Mrs Henge seems to occupy most of them.
Knowing her sister will never be save or settled in the house until whatever is happening inside those walls has been sorted, Madeleine goes back home to stay with her parents whilst Stella, Annie and Mr Sheen stay behind to investigate the houses history and the secrets the house has kept silenced until now. Now the truth wants to come out and it will change their lives forever, with far reaching effects.
This house is full of terrible secrets, Mr Sheers, secrets the dead are no longer content to let lie.
It is from these investigations into Greyswik’s and its employees that truths begin to come to light with some shocking twists along the way, ones that you won’t see coming, leading to some of the best twists I have read this year. Unpredictable and astounding! Publication day for this book is set for 31 October 2019 and Halloween could not be a more perfect day for this book to come to live in the world!
It is available for preorder now so you get your copy release day – Halloween 🎃
A massive thank you to the author Anita Frank, publishers HQ and NetGalley for my copy of this book in exchange for an honest and independent review.