My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Many Thanks to Net Galley, Random House UK, Transworld Publishers and the author for a chance to read and review this book.
Disturbing and creepy, The Whispering House by Elizabeth Brooks is a crafty gothic thriller.
When Freya first spies upon Byrne Hall while attending a cousin’s wedding, it captures her imagination like nothing else. The gardens, the sea below the cliffs and all the trees surrounding the house makes it a very enchanted place which she longs to explore although, it is the same cliffs where her sister Stella’s body was found. 5 yrs into Stella’s suicide, Freya and her art critic father are yet to come to terms with the loss and are still grieving, unable to talk openly about the whirlwind that was Stella.
Few drinks and wobbly feet carry her trespassing into the house wherein she sees a mosaic painting of Stella. Despite it not being a good likeness, Freya takes it upon herself to a journey to Byrne Hall, trying to understand her sister’s final moments.
A chance meeting with Cory in the town, and a rude encounter with his mother Diana in Byrne Hall and pathetic weather, gives her a chance to remain inside the house. Inch by inch, things begin to change as Freya believes in her love and the artistic capabilities of Cory and Byrne Hall begins to dominate her every thought.
The Whispering House, I would say has no mystery, coz there is only one direction where the story can lead to and it is in all fairness guessable. But the author succeeds in creating a story that raises the goosebumps with Diana’s sickness and her rudeness, the ghostly house, the eerie and echoing rooms that are all empty, and then a nail-biting end to a fever pitch suspense of how everything gets resolved. This is where Elizabeth Brooks has created a compelling narrative in making us understand a dark tale of obsession and vulnerabilities perfectly building a gothic feel to the whole endeavor.
I really wanted a little more depth to the character of Stella as it felt half formed even though there are parts in her POV. The lack of fireworks in the first part of the story does tend to slow down the pace but it is quite an absorbing read.
Recommended to fans of gothic fiction!
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Freya Lyell is struggling to move on from her sister Stella’s suicide five years ago. Visiting the bewitching Byrne Hall, only a few miles from the scene of the tragedy, she discovers a portrait of Stella – a portrait she had no idea existed, in a house Stella never set foot in. Or so she thought.
Driven to find out more about her sister’s secrets, Freya is drawn into the world of Byrne Hall and its owners: charismatic artist Cory and his sinister, watchful mother. But as Freya’s relationship with Cory crosses the line into obsession, the darkness behind the locked doors of Byrne Hall threatens to spill out.