An English Ghost Story by Kim Newman #BookReview

HorrorOct2015

An English Ghost Story ~ Kim Newman

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Format: Paperback, 315 pages
Publication Details: October 7th 2014 by Titan Books
Genre(s): Horror; Supernatural
Disclosure? Nope, I bought it.

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A dysfunctional British nuclear family seek a new life away from the big city in the sleepy Somerset countryside. At first their new home, The Hollow, seems to embrace them, creating a rare peace and harmony within the family. But when the house turns on them, it seems to know just how to hurt them the most—threatening to destroy them from the inside out.

Review

This was the last book I read for Horror October, and I’m so glad because I finished the month on a high.

An English Ghost Story was exactly what I was looking for! It was a book which started with promise. I was absorbed from the beginning even before anything spooky happened and then it built up its suspense and creepiness in a masterful, almost majestic way.

The Naremore family move into a grand old house in the countryside which was previously owned by a famous children’s author whose popular series of books were about a haunted boarding school. It turns out that these books were a lot less fictitious than anyone would have believed.

However, the ghosts, spirits, or presences (however you would like to refer to them) struck the Naremore family as friendly, and they found The Hollow an enchanted place to live. A place where they were finally happy; it had brought the family together in a way they had not felt before.

Unfortunately for them…the family had been lulled into a false sense of security and bit by bit, the ‘others’ in the house start to make life very difficult in The Hollow. The dream home, becomes a nightmare. They are turned against each other, and it looks as if they won’t wake up until there’s no one left.

This book was delicious for a horror fan like me. Ghost stories aren’t usually my favourite because I often find them unbelievable and just not scary enough, but I loved how ‘real’ An English Ghost Story felt. It gradually built up momentum as the house began to turn against them and slowly pulled their family apart. I couldn’t put it down.

It was funny in places, certainly creepy, and had some great gory, gross-out moments, but it felt magical too; it had a whimsical feel about it, like reading through a dream.

I was very impressed by my first delve into Kim Newman’s imagination, and I can’t wait to read more. Maybe I’ll finally get round to Anno Dracula now!

unicorn rating 4

Printer’s Devil Court by Susan Hill

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Title: Printer’s Devil Court
Author: Susan Hill
Series: N/A
Edition: Hardback, 128 pages
Publication Details: September 25th 2014 by Profile Books
Genre(s): Horror
Disclosure? Nope! I bought it.

Goodreads
Purchase

A mysterious manuscript lands on the desk of the step-son of the late Dr Hugh Meredith, a country doctor with a prosperous and peaceful practice in a small English town. From the written account he has left behind, however, we learn that Meredith was haunted by events that took place years before, during his training as a junior doctor near London’s Fleet Street, in a neighbourhood virtually unchanged since Dickens’s times.

Living then in rented digs, Meredith gets to know two other young medics, who have been carrying out audacious and terrifying research and experiments. Now they need the help of another who must be a doctor capable of total discretion and strong nerves.

‘Remember that what you know you can never un-know. If you are afraid, then…’

Review

Printer’s Devil Court is a short novella from acclaimed horror writer Susan Hill. I’ve enjoyed a lot of Susan Hill’s books over the years, and this one was no exception, but I can’t help just wanting to talk about how pretty this edition is. It’s really stunning with its embossed dark red dust jacket. I love it!

The story is deserving of such a beautiful cover too, which is always good.

As with many of Susan Hill’s ghost stories, this one is set in the Victorian era and is instantly chilling and atmospheric.

It follows an ambitious young doctor and his medical student friends who share a house in Printer’s Devil Court. Unbeknownst to our protagonist-and all-round-good-guy Hugh Meredith, he swears himself to secrecy and is embroiled in some unsavoury experiments on the dead. In turn, he finds himself being haunted by one of the experiments gone wrong.

I love the way Susan Hill creates spooky atmospheres in her books, and in this one we are taken through dark, isolated streets and foggy cemeteries as we weave our way through the nitty-gritty of the story.

I’m not usually a huge fan of stories as short as this, but I think it really works for ghost stories. They don’t need to be drawn out so much as long as the spooky elements are built up well, and Susan Hill is a genius at that.

I thought this was an absolute perfect read for a dark and stormy night.

unicorn rating 4

Printer’s Devil Court is available to buy here from Waterstones where you can also download a preview.