Review of The Whispering by Sarah Rayne (Nell West #4) – 5 Stars

The Whispering: A haunted house mysteryThe Whispering: A haunted house mystery by Sarah Rayne

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This novel continues as entry #4 in the Nell West series and we catch up with Nell and Michael a little after the events of “The Silence”. In this story, Michael takes the forefront of the strange circumstances with Nell becoming more of the second character and completing the secondary research investigation role. I really enjoyed this shift of perspective and think it brought some freshness to the Nell West stories.

This story follows Michael visiting a reclusive old lady Luisa Gilmore at Fosse House in Norfolk. After viewing her collection of papers the ill-fated Palestrina choir, a storm hits and Michael is forced to take refuge and stay the night at Fosse House. Something Luisa is not overly keen on him doing. When he spots a young man lurking on the grounds of the house things begin to take an even stranger turn.

The secondary historical storyline for me is more intriguing than the ghostly presence of the modern storyline. There are various historical threads but it mostly follows a young man’s story of the first world war and his discovery of the beautiful Palestrina choir in a Belgium Convent. His desire to free them from the impending forces heading their way.

This young man’s story and all the connecting weaving threads that Rayne puts in are just phenomenal and actually quite beautiful.

The setting of Fosse House and the remote isolation provides all the dark brooding atmosphere required for any ghost story. Yet, Rayne’s description of the war imprisonment camp for me provided the more intriguing settings and all the goings on there made me really root for the characters involved.

This is just a great story. It’s not all dark and ghostly. It’s not all mysterious and menacing. It’s just a really great, enjoyable, intriguing storyline. With lots of odd-shaped puzzle pieces that fit together very well by the time you reach the end.

For those that haven’t discovered the Nell West collection, I would suggest these novels are quite similarly written to Phil Rickman’s work; old story exposed, great characters and slightly eerie. 

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Review of The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman – 5 Stars

The Graveyard BookThe Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book starts off with high drama, a small baby stumbling from his house where his entire family are murdered into the local graveyard, where he is found by the local ghosts. After a meeting, it is agreed that a married ghostly couple who never had children can adopt him, along with a guardian (who can leave the graveyard). The story then follows Bod and his new graveyard “family & friends” through adolescence with a few bumps along the way, including meeting a girl, attending school and of course finding out what happened to his real family.
This book is so quirky, it had me laughing from the first page even though it was about a baby evading a murderer! Bod is such a happy go lucky little chap too you can’t help but champion him on his journey, even the seemingly little things like learning to read using names on the gravestones and other funny little touches make the story really feel alive. Spoiler-ish alert – the last chapter is a little bit heart-breaking but also perfect.

This is almost like jungle book but instead of a child growing up in the jungle being brought up by the animals, it’s a child growing up in a graveyard being *raised (questionable word) by ghosts! It’s the only story that is similar to this, although I love the darkness of this book.

A really great read that I completely fell in love with from the first page and has long stayed with me since I finished the last! Very sweet and charming tale that I think people young and old will love. Not often I give a book five stars but I had to with this – one not to be missed!

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I can’t take full credit for discovering this book it was recommended to me by the lovely Elena over at Home that we built and I must say what a great recommendation it was! KL ❤

Review – The Haunting of Harriett by Jennifer Button

Image Book Cover from Google Books

The theme behind this story is fantastic, a ghost who doesn’t realise they are a ghost (completely different from the sixth sense). Although the reader finds out Harriett is a ghost fairly early on the style of the novel keeps maintains this powerful angle throughout the story (and throughout the other characters). I love the mixed storyline the author chose to weave, using Harriett’s memories of her past to keep the story moving.

The variety of characters was intriguing including the extrovert psychic, the religious devout, the traditional house-wife, the floozy mother, the Wall Street father etc. The mix mostly worked giving the story the light and dark contrast it needed to keep the reader involved. However I do feel “the circus” contained a few characters too many as if the author may have added a few of them in as an after-thought to keep the story moving.

My main disappointment was the use of the character Liz. She was the main character at the start of the book, she insisted on buying the house, insists it’s decorated a certain way, she starts her painting career etc. The reader develops an emotional attachment to her but towards the end of the story her involvement is minimal excluding her desire for another baby, even that seems slightly irrelevant to the path of the story. She had felt a form of connection to Harriett from the start and I wish that had been maintained if not improved towards the end of the story.

That being said this was an enjoyable read and a fantastic spin on an old tale. The authors’ ability to blend the timelines was also of a very high standard.

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Review (& novel) can be found on Amazon –

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Haunting-Harriet-Jennifer-Button-ebook/dp/B0071BYMOQ/