The first thing that struck me about this novel was the unique character voice. Rose literally transported me to another place and time. She comes across as a living, breathing essence that leaps off the page and beckons you forward, inviting you to come sit and stay a spell between the pages with her. This is not easy to accomplish, nor is it something that can be taught. Carole mastered this art with a finesse that makes writing look easy. I guarantee Rose will draw a reader in if given a mere page or two.
The plot starts off with a bang. Carole wastes no time thrusting her audience into a tense, terrifying situation. Rose finds her family slaughtered around her and has no recollection of what happened or why. She’s immediately whisked off to a mental asylum, which in itself would be unnerving enough, but the author has her own brand of horror in store.
We’re cast back into early London times, when these places harbored true acts of evil. Back before regulations and rights, asylums truly were a playground for the evil and depraved. My heart pounded faster as I wondered what would happen to Rose between these walls. Throughout the entire novel, there is a pervading sense of doom that mounts with every page—one the reader cannot escape any more than our ill-fated protagonist. It feels like every character we meet is one that cannot be trusted, yet Rose, in her innocence is steeped in kindness and despite the tragedy surrounding her, still maintains a trusting heart.
Perhaps that is part of the lure, for the reader can always feel the constant push and pull, the underlying battle between good and evil that occurs just below the surface of every page.
The House on Blackstone Moor is a novel rich with mystery, horror, and suspense. The evil shrouding Rose’s past, and her dark family secrets are revealed bit by bit, like tantalizing bread crumbs for the reader to follow. Unlike a lot of novels, Gill does not make it easy to guess what lurks around the corners. Instead, she lulls the readers into feeling comfortable with their assumptions, only to rip those illusions away. Nothing in this book is quite as it seems, from the doctors Rose encounters, to her employers at Blackstone Manor and the children she governs.
The novel really picks up the pace, as does the intrigue once Rose begins her journey at Blackstone. The descriptions of the Manor and its grounds were rich and lavish. It is a place the reader can easily imagine, and one they won’t soon forget. Nor are the characters she meets.
Inside these walls, the plot thickens, the mystery grows, and eventually it blossoms into forces so evil, even Rose struggles to comprehend. She’s confronted with the ghosts of her past, hunted by powerful forces of darkness, and tempted with the bittersweet pangs of forbidden love…a love that may very well be the death of her.
Carole Gill did an excellent job blurring the lines between good and evil, reminding us that as with human nature, not everything can be defined in terms of black and white. Sometimes the lines are blurred and become hazy shades of grey—especially when it comes to matters of the heart. I won’t ruin the outcome by telling you who, but I will say this book had terrifying characters and ones that will make you smile. I guarantee it will make you take a moment to question yourself and all that you may have believed.
I was on the edge of my seat when I finally learned what was happening to Rose and why…and again when the story came out about who and what Eve, the children, and Louis were. Way to go author! This was heartbreaking and riveting all at once. Louis, with his dark good looks and seductive manner…the children who are such an endearing part of this tale, and serve to pull the reader in as much as they do Rose…Eve with her tragic mistakes, and Echo who is a truly delicious nemesis worthy of the chills he elicits. I hope we see more of him in the future. The scenes where he arrives to battle and inflict misery are truly harrowing!
Fallen angels, vampires, demons, mystery, love, torment, and unspeakable evil—both of this world and beyond: this book has it all. It’s a fine example of gothic horror that kept me on the edge of my seat. Carole does a great job balancing setting, plot, and character development and I’m eagerly looking forward to purchasing the sequel. I invite you to take a look and see for yourself. You won’t be disappointed.
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~Best wishes always~