Young Adult/Haunted House/Supernatural
Published 1st September 2020
My rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Actual rating of 3.5
When Camille’s father inherits a family manor over in Woodville, England, Camille is forced to pack up her life and leave her friends in Australia right before the beginning of her senior year. After arriving at Leroux Manor, Camille spots an old woman lurking about the manor grounds, this spurs her to dive into the family and estate history to find out everything she can about her new home. What she finds shocks her, and her parents, the death of her ancestor, Caleb Leroux, on the grounds of the manor, on the same day that his six year old daughter went missing, never to be seen again. Follow this with the fact that Camille is the only female born to the Leroux line in around 200 years, and things just keep getting weirder. Delving deeper into the secrets hidden in the manor, and her lineage, Camille ends up finding a truth that has the ability to change her life, past, present and future.
I was super excited to dive into this one when I came across is on Off The Book Pages as part of the restock and new release that happened in January (If you’re not aware, Off The Book Pages is an indie bookstore located in South Australia). The cover drew me in as did the synopsis, I’m a sucker for a haunted house and one with a huge mystery involved was a sure fire win for me.
This story is young adult, as Camille is either sixteen or seventeen (I can’t quite remember the exact age, though I do know she has a birthday in the timeline), I really enjoyed the ease that Camille fell into her group of friends, even though it was quick, it had an air of authenticity that I really enjoyed, so there was no time wasted to set up the friend dynamic, which was nice. I really enjoyed the characters, and I liked that there was a bit of tension between the friendship group, as it just added a little bit extra dynamic to the cast. I do wish that a little more time was spent in fleshing the characters out as, even though I did enjoy them all, they still felt a teeny bit flat to me and I feel like that could have been rectified had the story been a bit longer.
In saying that though, I am glad that this story was unnecessarily dragged out, it was the right length for the story itself to play out without feeling super rushed or dragging, there wasn’t any pacing issues with this that I came across and the story kept me super engaged so I smashed it out in a matter of days. I feel like the story could have been delved into a little bit deeper, but then in saying that, sometimes stories are too picked apart in their creation which leaves the reader wishing more things were left to the imagination. The story itself was a solid foundation, I do feel that it wasn’t everything that it could have been, but I can’t quite put my finger on why. At times the story line felt like it was a little bit all over the place, but it was still easy enough to follow. I did feel that the ending sort of raced up a bit quick and I was really after a bit more of an explanation even though it was pretty clear what had happened. I feel like Butcher was leaving the aftermath up to the readers interpretation, which isn’t a bad thing.
My copy of the book did have some printing errors which made for a bit of difficulty with things happening as the story sort of jumped between scenes when it wasn’t supposed to, but that didn’t affect my rating at all as I just genuinely enjoyed the story for what it was. I feel like this was a great modern, gothic tale that had fun characters and an intriguing mystery, set against the backdrop of a house that is so large in it’s existence that it almost felt like the house was a character all of it’s own right. It actually made me keep thinking back to Shirly Jackson’s Haunting of Hill House in the way that it was written.
All in all, this was a fun read and I really enjoyed the story, mystery and characters. I do wish that there were some answers to things that occurred and I keep thinking about that ending, so I guess you could say, this is a story that will stick in your mind. While I do wish that the story itself was explored deeper and that the characters were given more of a chance to develop and become more fleshed out, I still really enjoyed this story. If you’re a fan of gothic ghost stories with a juicy mystery, give this one a go!