Monday, 30 May 2011

The Gallows Curse by Karen Maitland

The Gallows CurseThe Gallows Curse by Karen Maitland

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Oh my goodness - Wow isn't nearly a good enough superlative for what this author does.



Having LOVED her first 2 books I was a touch nervous starting The Gallows curse in case it didn't live up to my very high expectations ...



But it exceeded them. I just cannot fault this lady's writing, she brings the dark ages to life in the most believeable ways, her use of modern language in conversation heavily peppered with atmospheric curses, makes it even more accessible and easy to read yet the meticulous research and vast amount of facts and folklore she manages to cram in, make you feel you've experienced her stories not just read them.



We follow the story of Elena, a Villein, plucked from village life and called to the manor to perform a simple task which has horrific repercussions in her life and those whose lives touch hers.



Tricked by Raffaele, the main male character, returned from the crusades, bearing guilt and a desire for revenge which taint his life.



In part the story is narrated by a mandrake and is steeped in witchcraft, myth, magic and superstition. To say much more might spoil the spell which will be cast over you when you journey back to the early 13th century and wallow around the marshes of Norfolk.



Fantastic, enjoyable, atmospheric writing. I really battled between picking the book up and cracking on with it as I was desperate to know what happened next and leaving it a while as I so dreaded it coming to an end. Well all good things must come to an end.



If you haven't read anything by Karen Maitland yet please do give her books a try, she is rapidly rising to the very top of my favourite authors list.



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Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Don't Breathe a word by Jennifer McMahon

Don't Breathe a WordDon't Breathe a Word by Jennifer McMahon

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


It's a sheer pleasure to review this exciting new book kindly provided by Netgalley


QUOTE: From Goodreads;

On a soft summer night in Vermont, twelve-year-old Lisa went into the woods behind her house and never came out again. Before she disappeared, she told her little brother, Sam, about a door that led to a magical place where she would meet the King of the Fairies and become his queen.

Fifteen years later, Phoebe is in love with Sam, a practical, sensible man who doesn’t fear the dark and doesn’t have bad dreams—who, in fact, helps Phoebe ignore her own. But suddenly the couple is faced with a series of eerie, unexplained occurrences that challenge Sam’s hardheaded, realistic view of the world. As they question their reality, a terrible promise Sam made years ago is revealed—a promise that could destroy them all.



Reading the publishers blurb might lull you into thinking this is a teen fantasy fairy romance - well think again, this is no cozy bedtime tale.

What it is however, is a thrilling, tense, psychological chiller abounding with rollercoaster twists and turns. It grips you by the throat with sharp pointy little teeth and shakes you until you want to scream!

The storyline zips back and forth between the present day where Pheobe and her husband Sam are settling nicely into middle aged married life together and events in their childhoods 15 years earlier where dreadful catastrophes affected them and their families.

Dark family tragedies happened in Sams childhood and in Pheobes too, hardly surprising then, that Sams young sister Lisa wants to believe in the fairies who live at the bottom of the woods.

Then Lisa disappears without trace and the youngsters memories of events are intertwined with fairy stories and a dark mysterious shadow man calling himself Teilo king of the fairies.

However when childhood events begin to have repercussions in the present day the adult Sam and Pheobe are forced to consider whether dark folk tales and the land of fairie might hold the answers, or whether someone wishes them ill and wonder who they can trust.

With multiple twists and turns, lies and promises and secrets reappearing to haunt the couple, never knowing who to trust, sometimes wondering if the Grimmest of fairy tales can come true.

You will begin to wonder if the slight movement you sometimes catch in the corner of your eye is an evil fairy creature and whether childhood nightmares about the bogeyman under the bed aren't so childish after all.

I think this book should appeal to anyone who can suspend a little supernatural disbelief and who enjoys psychological thrillers like

These Things Hidden
or
Sister
I'll certainly be searching out the authors backlist to read.

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