It Will Just Be Us by Jo Kaplan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Many thanks to Net Galley, Crooked Lane books and the author for a chance to read and review this book. All opinions are expressed voluntarily.

There are all sorts of classics and there’s a classic!

Wakefield Manor is decaying and situated at the edge of the Great Dismal Swamp makes it a brooding and haunted mansion. And yes, it is peculiarly haunted. Besides the fact that all the ancestors are walking up and down the long and dark corridors, the house does not also let its inhabitants forget, revealing past memories and events in a faded loop.

Samantha Wakefield has been staying with her mom Agnes after a traumatic incident left her too scared and terrified. But the house is not conductive for a soothing recuperation. There’s a room at the end of a narrow and windowless corridor that has remain locked forever that holds much fascination for Sam from a young age. And when her heavily pregnant sister Elizabeth moves back separating herself from her husband Donovan, a new haunting seems to take prominence, that of a young and faceless boy.

Who’s this faceless boy?
What secrets are hidden behind the locked room?

As the stories of the Swamp Witch begins to take shape in bits and pieces for Sam, the faceless boy also is growing up in stages showing the streaks of cruelty and monster that hides underneath.

The first 2 parts of the story is slow in pace and therefore laborious to read, the writing resembling the classic way of storytelling with detailed and rich descriptions of everything under the sun but if you have got that far, do stick with it as the shift in pace begins from Part 3 and then this extremely creepy and horror story becomes a ricochet missile. Each segment of the horrors inside the locked room that gets revealed was engrossing.

None of the characters have any real warmth and at most times the relationship between the young Sam and Elizabeth borders on viciousness! I never did guess the outcome of the story and even after the close of the final chapter kept imagining if it could have ended in any different way.

For fans of classic gothic fiction!

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Sam Wakefield’s ancestral home, a decaying mansion built on the edge of a swamp, isn’t a place for children. Its labyrinthine halls, built by her mad ancestors, are filled with echoes of the past: ghosts and memories knotted together as one. In the presence of phantoms, it’s all Sam can do to disentangle past from present in her daily life. But when her pregnant sister Elizabeth moves in after a fight with her husband, something in the house shifts. Already navigating her tumultuous relationship with Elizabeth, Sam is even more unsettled by the appearance of a new ghost: a faceless boy who commits disturbing acts—threatening animals, terrorizing other children, and following Sam into the depths of the house wielding a knife. When it becomes clear the boy is connected to a locked, forgotten room, one which is never entered, Sam realizes this ghost is not like the others. This boy brings doom. As Elizabeth’s due date approaches, Sam must unravel the mysteries of Wakefield before her sister brings new life into a house marked by death. But as the faceless boy grows stronger, Sam will learn that some doors should stay closed—and some secrets are safer locked away forever. 

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