Published by Orion on 20th November 2014 and available here
When Lindy, a recently widowed American expat, buys a large manor house in the Cotswolds, she thinks it’s the fresh start she and her wayward daughter Izzy need. Stagcote Manor is a large, rambling house with a rich history and Lindy is thrilled at the prospect of their new life there.
Izzy, however, is less convinced. She longs to be back in the hustle and bustle of London. There’s something unnerving about the house that she can’t quite put her finger on. And as Izzy begins to immerse herself in Stagcote life, she gradually realises the locals have a lot of strange and disturbing superstitions, many of them related to the manor.
When Izzy begins to investigate the history of the house, her unease soon darkens to fear as the manor’s dark past finally comes to light.
Many thanks to RS Pateman for my review copy of this book.
Lindy decides to move out of London with her troubled teenage daughter, Izzy. Izzy is resentful at being forced to move to the old manor house in Stagcote, a rather isolated village. She finds her new home increasingly disturbing and the locals rather strange, with their rituals and superstitious beliefs. Izzy is drawn into the mysteries and superstitions, questioning whether there is any truth in them. Is there evil at work? Is there a curse on the manor house?
The strength of this book and what draws you in are the superstitions and a pervading sense of evil. As a reader, you really get a sense of the hold the ancient superstitions have on the locals and how this clashes with modern day thinking. I loved the notion of the bees being charmed and talked to, by one of the odd villagers.
As the central character, Izzy is rather annoying initially, as she clashes with her mother. She soon comes into her own, on a crusade to find out what is going on. I was willing her on.
This is a classic ‘strangers move into an odd locality and anything can happen’ scenario. It reminded me of those horror movies of the past. Pateman does an incredible job creating a creepy atmosphere and escalating the tension. I really did not see the ending coming. Appropriate and chilling.