My rating: 5 of 5 stars
It is that time of the year, the ghosts, the ghoulies, the phantoms, and all that is evil coming out of the woods and having a feast on us poor souls! Rebecca Netley’s debut novel The Whistling arrives in time for the spooky season; It had captured my interest ever since I had seen it in the Twitter feed of Michael J books, so no points in guessing my delight when my wish was granted by the publishers.
The Whistling takes the reader to the 1860s to a far-off island in Scotland called Skelthsea and the remote island has been captured beautifully by the author. Gothic thriller often has a huge rambling mansion in their story but few authors have the capability to make a whole place as a character by itself. Skelthsea is alive in the very fiber of the story creating the perfect background for the house, Iskar, to create the chills in our spine. And if that wasn’t enough, the author surprises the reader by taking storytelling to a different height with an audio effect. Not many authors have grabbed my attention so thoroughly with the effect of sound. It is not just the creaking of old floorboards or the soft footfalls, which are the staple ingredients for such ghost stories but also the sound of the widow’s whistle that calls the dead from their grave, the sound of the whispers carried by the wind, the sound of the sea that remains in every stone of the house, the author hooks the reader in with this astounding brilliance.
The Whistling also highlights the perceptions and assumptions by people when they are blinded by manipulation and the consequences of such blind beliefs. The other factor that works in this tale of revenge and tragedy is the heart-warming relationship between Elspeth and Mary, both of them encumbered by the mind-numbing grief that haunts them. Mary as the mute child tugs at our heart and in many parts of the story, all one wants to do is hold her tight and never let go. If there was one thing that I was disappointed within this tale was probably the ending, coz I expected more spectacular fireworks but it does not matter much as Rebecca Netley nails the classic gothic thriller completely with a lonely haunted house and a lot of witchy action to boot.
Kudos to the cover designer at Penguin Michael Joseph, the image with the burning candle inside the glass lamp coveys the eerie atmosphere of the story marvelously.
Many thanks to Net Galley, Penguin Michael Joseph, and the author for a chance to read and review this book. All opinions are expressed voluntarily.
SEND SHIVERS DOWN YOUR SPINE WITH THIS CHILLING AND GRIPPING STORY SET IN A FAR-FLUNG SCOTTISH ISLAND . . . THE PERFECT HALLOWEEN READ AS THE NIGHTS DRAW IN
‘Chills you to your bones . . . More unsettling and beautiful than you can imagine’ 5***** READER REVIEW
Alone in the world, Elspeth Swansome takes the position of nanny to a family on the remote Scottish island of Skelthsea.
Her charge, Mary, hasn’t uttered a word since the sudden death of her twin, William – just days after their former nanny disappeared.
No one will speak of what happened to William. Just as no one can explain the hypnotic lullabies sung in empty corridors. Nor the strange dolls that appear in abandoned rooms. Nor the faint whistling that comes in the night . . .
As winter draws in and passage to the mainland becomes impossible, Elspeth finds herself trapped.
But is this house haunted by the ghosts of the past?
OR THE SECRETS OF THE LIVING . . . ?
Chilling, twisty and emotionally gripping, The Whistling is an atmospheric page-turner with shades of the classics, yet a unique character of its own, perfect for fans of Susan Hill and Laura Purcell
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