So here’s the first of my regular review posts…
every 2nd Sunday every month. Books, music, shows, films, TV & more…
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The Quick by Lauren Owen
A superb gothic horror which evokes bygone eras of Victorian England without sounding old-fashioned.
The story begins in Yorkshire with two children growing-up in a grand house but there is already a sense of something sinister ahead.
Then we are taken to London to experience life in a busy city.
The horror is subtle and the measured use of words reject traditional, overused terms to describe the supernatural forces. Yet you will know what kind of terrors to expect.
The characters are rich and well formed. They fill their stages in a familiar version of London, made popular by the almost obsessive love we have for macabre and the grimier version of such an iconic city.
Glimpses of it appear: ‘two harlots brawling on the Haymarket’… ‘shivering wanderers sleeping under Waterloo Bridge’…. ‘a grim brick alley’ and conjure up the dire version of old London town.
Whilst in a delightful contrast we are given a glimpse of a society gathering: ‘…the dancing, the music, the glittering chandelier above the staircase, the rustling, many-coloured progression of women’s dresses – cream and rose pink and heliotrope, taffeta and satin and crepe de Chine, patterned with flowers and butterflies.’
For a taste of the darker element in this novel:
“Why your skin is so white and your mouth is so red
Why your hands are so cold like the hands of the dead.”
This delicious read was a ‘Read Regional’ pick which are books by local writers in the North of England promoted under ‘new writing’.
The Magic Cottage by James Herbert
I have mentioned this book before on my blog, I won’t apologise for that! I read this book every couple of years.
I have a soft spot for this one. Not often included as one of Herbert’s best novels but I love it.
I like the gentle sections showing a sweet country cottage existence, contrasted with the wild rock ‘n roll city-living. Is it clichéd? Probably. Wild bohemian types move to idyllic cottage but all is not as it seems. But that’s to be expected.
Yet the ‘evil’ element isn’t a hell-demon or aliens but ordinary people who seem very nice if a bit odd….
Hope you take a look at these two supernatural horror stories, one set in gothic England the other in a modern time of cars and cults.