The Haunting of Willow House by Anthony M. Strong
Published by West Street Publishing (22nd March 2017)
Purchase from | Amazon AU | Amazon US | Amazon UK |
My rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
When author Andrew Whelan, his teenage daughter Sarah and his ten year old son Jake move out of Boston to an old farm house in the country, he’s hoping for a fresh start for them all. After he lost his wife the year before in a car accident, he’s found it hard going trying to deal with his and his kid’s grief. The old farm house gives them a chance to heal from their loss and begin to move on in the hopes of a happy family life once more. Plus Andrew is hoping that he can pen his next best-seller. What they aren’t counting on is the dark past the still haunts the house. An injustice done during the times of the Salem Witch trials has left an angry entity behind that has one thing on it’s mind. Soon the family find themselves facing off against the angry spirit that wants nothing more than to exact it’s revenge.
I am a huge sucker for a haunted house story. I just love them. I had this one sitting on my kindle and had totally forgotten about it. However, it did not disappoint.
Andrew is an author but he’s struggled to write anything since his wife died, Sarah, his teenage daughter, is struggling with her grief and her entire persona has changed since her mother’s death, while ten year old Jake is just trying to come to terms with why his mum is no longer around when he needs her. I really felt for the family. They’re going through something so traumatic and awful and it really endeared them to me from word go. Sarah is the typical teenager and she absolutely hates the fact that they’re moving out of the city into the middle of nowhere, though the final straw was because of an accident she was involved in. Jake is ten, he’s excited for an adventure though he still has moments of sadness, and Andrew is just trying to keep his shit together for his kids.
The house is old and needs some work done, but it’s already had the basics repaired so they could move in. It’s your typical in the middle of nowhere, run down, multi story house, with creepy tree near the beginning of the driveway. The story actually opens with a scene, from memory, set in the 1640s? I could be wrong about the date though, I can’t quite remember. So we sort of learn a little bit about the haunting from the very beginning. I think what I liked the most about this book was that it didn’t rely on jump scare, so to speak. Creepy stuff happened but there was also an actual story line as well.
The story focuses mostly on Sarah, a little less on Andrew and only a small amount on Jake, though it made me nervous because Jake seemed to be targeted the most due to him being more believing in what he was being told. We get a glimpse into who Sarah really is and I honestly really enjoyed her character, she’s just a teenage girl who is trying to navigate the terrifying road of being a teenager, all while trying to deal with the fact that her mum is gone. Andrew, I felt for, but he did annoy me, while I understand that he was being coerced, I felt like he should have been stronger than how he came across. When it surrounds Andrew, the story gave me The Shining vibes, and I wonder if that story gave Strong a bit of inspiration for this one? I love The Shining, so I was totally cool with it.
The story was a little cliched in parts, but I honestly didn’t mind. Teenage girls doing seances, teenage girl being possessed by evil entity, evil entity trying to separate the family as much as possible to make it easier to pick them off. Yeah, there were cliches, but it still didn’t take away from Strong’s ability in his craft. The narration was just a super enjoyable thing to read and I just flew through the story. It had the right amount of creep, and it did it’s job which was make me thing that I probably shouldn’t read it at night before falling asleep.
One thing that I really enjoyed, was the ending, it actually made me wonder whether Strong was writing about his own past experiences in some old, run down farm house out in the middle of nowhere, and I think that really lends credit to his ability as a writer.
I thoroughly enjoyed this ghost story for what it was. If you like a good haunting that has great writing and an engaging plot, give it a go.