I love reading everything from fantasy to historical romances. On a constant quest for more books to read.
The book starts with a letter from a man named John Simpkins to his friend Norman telling him that he has found a strange journal among his deceased fathers posessions.
His father was a country doctor and one of his patients suffered from severe depression so he asked her to write about what troubled her. Simpkins is forwarding the journal because he believes it to be true even if the recollections are very disturbing.
Then we switch to the journal of the woman Charlotte Metcalf she was born in 1887 and two years later her beloved brother.
Together with their parents they live a charmed Life- her family is very wealthy her mother a heiress but without close relatives since her grandparents,parents and cousins all drowned in a horrific accident.
Her father does have relatives but he is estranged from them and one the one ocassion when Charlotte brings it up he becomes very angry and upset. But this is only a minor thing in her life and she soon forgets about it.
But then her father dies and there are enormous debts,even her mothers fortune had been spent.
They are ruined and the few friends and distant relatives they have either are unable or refuse to help,so in the end there is no other place for them to go but the workhouse. The final disgrace is that the few posessions they have left is taken away from them locked away in a chest. Even the doll of Charlotte.
But worst of all she and her mother are separated from Arthur who is taken away to the mens wing of the workhouse. Their mother doesnt last long and soon dies.Charlotte consoles herself with that as long as her brother is alive and she will be able to see him again some day she can endure.
She goes into training to be a maid and when she is assigned a place on the outside she asks to see her brother but is told he "is gone"At first she thinks it means he died but the cruel woman who runs the workhouse tells her that:
“Brother? What brother? Your brother’s gone long ago,” she said.
Her words hit me like one of the blows she liked to deal out. The blood rushed from my face. I do not know why I did not faint, for the fear I had felt that first moment of her arrival had returned with redoubled force. I was certain for a moment that she meant he was dead.
“Gone?” It was all I could do to force the question out.
“Yes, of course. Did you think he’d stay on here forever, maybe just to wait for his big sister? This isn’t a hotel, you know. Our inmates don’t pay for their keep like decent folks. Your brother was found a place and sent to it like any other lad his age.”
Charlotte is sent away to find her own way to her new employers house but her faint hope that it will be any better is soon squashed and her station in Life cruelly driven into her when she notices a photograph with her decased father on a mantlepiece.Tearfully she reveals who she is to the lady of the house who appears symphatetic but in the end does nothing for her.
Charlottes old friend from the workhouse arrives to be ladies maid at the same houseand tells Charlotte that she know where her brother is. Instead of going to the metal foundry where he was supposed to work he ran away to seek out their fathers distant relatives-the Ayrton at Barras Lodge.
After learning this she start to have strange dreams about her brother where he is asking for her help and trying to get to her. Soon she makes her escape.
She has bad feelings about going there but she has to find her brother!
When she arrives at Barras Lodge she expects to be driven away and her claim to be a relative disbelieved.Instead she is embraced by her cousins,a pair of siblings named Anthony and Antonia.
At first everything is wonderful but then Charlotte starts to notice things,how there are no birds in the garden around the house,footsteps passing by her door at night and the scratching at doors at night.
I could not wholly dispel a growing fear that there was something unnatural about Barras Hall and its grounds.
And why are the clothes given to her by her kind cousin Antonia ten years out of date?
This was a really scary book,the creeping kind of horror wich is apperant even if the inhabitants of Barras Lodge try to make logical explanations for things.
The ending is aa downer. You want good or at least the protagonist to prevail against evil I was made very uncomfortable with the idea that the evil was still out there ready to
If you are looking for a book where the maincharacters overcome all her
This is a recollection of someone who just survived a brush with evil and who despite making a new life for herself with a loving husband and children,still suffered severe PSTD from the events taking place in the book.
If this book has any message at all its probably that the most evil things arent perpetrated by something supernatural but is what humans can do to each other. A very bleak outlook
The diary format at first was a bit offputting because Charlotte complains about modern times and how spoiled her grandchildren are but things got going when she started on the actual story-
Maybe someone cleverer than me would have figured out how things would end before me especially as the last name of Charlotte (wich is Metcalf) is so foreshadowing. I didnt even think about her name until I googled it.
I cant feel I spoil anything in revealing this because its revealed early in the book.
And finally I want to adress this books cover.
Oh my god this book cover....at first glance the cover looks extremely cheesy but when I came to a certain scene in the book I had to admit it didnt seem nearly so cheesy anymore...
One Word though
My thoughts about the cover before I read it "looks pretty generic for a book from the 90s,but not that scary.
My thoughst after I finished it.
"Well I am glad to see some cover artists read the book"
"That is seriously disturbing"
"I am freaking out over this cover.Its made by some kind of diabolical genius and now it will haunt me forever" OO
Do you want to know what is so disturbing about the cover?