I have to say this sounds like an incredible debut. It’s more of a monstrous fantasy than a spooky, Halloween type book. The story goes that, many years ago, the remote North Atlantic archipelago of St Hia was home to a monster. Her name was Thordis, and she had been adored. But when she was unable to provide her husband with a child, he sought one elsewhere – and Thordis was driven to a terrible act, before disappearing from her home. Today, lashed by storms and far from the mainland, the islands are dangerous. Many have been lost to a wild stretch of water known as the Hollow Sea.
But to one visitor, it feels like a haven. After several years trying to become a mother, Scottie has made the heart-breaking decision to leave her home and her husband in search of a fresh start. Upon her arrival on St Hia, the islanders warn her against asking questions about Thordis – but Scottie can’t resist the mystery of what happened to the woman whose story became legend.
After years of secrecy, can Scottie unravel Thordis’s story? And how will doing so change her own . . . ? I love this mix of motherhood, infertility and the monstrous. In fact monstrous births hark back to one of the most famous gothic novels; Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. It sounds like such an ambitious debut and I can’t wait to tell you all about it.
Billed as a horror/ thriller this is one of my favourite themes in fiction – books about books. Rare book dealer Lily Albrecht has just been given a tip-off about The Book of the Most Precious Substance, a 17th century manual rumoured to be the most powerful occult book ever written, if it really exists at all. With some of the wealthiest people in the world willing to pay Lily a fortune to track it down, she embarks on a journey from New York to New Orleans to Munich to Paris. If she finds it, Lily stands to gain more than just money. This could erase the greatest tragedy of her life. But will Lily’s quest help her find some answers, or will she lose everything in search of a ghost?
A book with all of life’s answers, if only you can find it...
I absolutely loved A.M. Shine’s last novel The Watchers and it had such a killer ending! I chose it as one of my books of the year so my hopes are high for The Creeper.
Superstitions only survive if people believe in them. Renowned academic Dr Sparling seeks help with his project on a remote Irish village. Historical researchers Ben and Chloe are thrilled to be chosen – until they arrive. The village is isolated and forgotten. There is no record of its history, its stories. There is no friendliness from the locals, only wary looks and whispers. The villagers lock down their homes at sundown. It seems a nameless fear stalks the streets, but nobody will talk – nobody except one little girl. Her words strike dread into the hearts of the newcomers. Three times you see him. Each night he comes closer. That night, Ben and Chloe see a sinister figure watching them. He is the Creeper. He is the nameless fear in the night. Stories keep him alive. And nothing will keep him away…
Last Minute Mentions
I’ve just been granted access to these spooky titles so thought I’d give you a quick preview.
I loved C.J.Cooke’s The Lighthouse Witches, an interesting mix of isolated Scottish location, a history of witches, ghostly apparitions, disappearances and time travel. The Ghost Woods sounds downright spooky.
In the midst of the woods stands a house called Lichen Hall. Even the name starts to conjure up an atmosphere of decay. This place is shrouded in folklore – old stories of ghosts, of witches, of a child who is not quite a child. Now the woods are creeping closer, and something has been unleashed. Pearl Gorham arrives in 1965, one of a string of young women sent to Lichen Hall to give birth. And she soon suspects the proprietors are hiding something. Then she meets the mysterious mother and young boy who live in the grounds – and together they begin to unpick the secrets of this place. As the truth comes to the surface and the darkness moves in, Pearl must rethink everything she knew – and risk what she holds most dear. This sounds like a great mix of the supernatural and women’s history.
ELSPETH NEEDS A MONSTER. THE MONSTER MIGHT BE HER.
One Dark Window is billed as a gothic fantasy romance. An ancient, mercurial spirit is trapped inside Elspeth Spindle’s head – she calls him the Nightmare. He protects her. He keeps her secrets. But nothing comes for free, especially magic. When Elspeth meets a mysterious highwayman on the forest road, she is thrust into a world of shadow and deception. Together, they embark on a dangerous quest to cure the town of Blunder from the dark magic infecting it. As the stakes heighten and their undeniable attraction intensifies, Elspeth is forced to face her darkest secret yet: the Nightmare is slowly, darkly, taking over her mind. And she might not be able to stop him.
I’m so excited to be on the blog tour for this gothic mystery novel, with such a lush cover I want to frame it.
1930. Nell Fagan is a journalist on the trail of a intriguing and bizarre mystery: in 1606, a man vanished from a locked gatehouse in a remote Yorkshire village, and 300 years later, it happened again. Nell confides in the best sleuth she knows, judge’s daughter Rachel Savernake. Thank goodness she did, because barely a week later Nell disappears, and Rachel is left to put together the pieces of the puzzle. Looking for answers, Rachel travels to lonely Blackstone Fell in Yorkshire, with its eerie moor and sinister tower. With help from her friend Jacob Flint – who’s determined to expose a fraudulent clairvoyant – Rachel will risk her life to bring an end to the disappearances and bring the truth to light. A dazzling mystery peopled by clerics and medics; journalists and judges, Blackstone Fell explores the shadowy borderlands between spiritual and scientific; between sanity and madness; and between virtue and deadly sin. Full of my favourite themes and brimming with all things gothic, this is surely an autumn must—read.
How good do all these picks sound? Look out next Sunday for my look at Historical Fiction and Romance.