Today’s team review is from Judith W, she blogs here https://readandreview2016.wordpress.com/
Judith has been reading Ghosts Of Manor House by Matt Powers
Ghosts of Manor House is Powers’ debut thriller and horror novel, about Edmund and Mary Wilder, a married couple shattered by the loss of their young son. Mary receives an invitation for the family to become guests at Manor House, an apparently quaint hotel, but Edmund soon realises all is not as it seems.
In his author’s note, Powers explains he “wanted a story that fits with my memories of watching The Haunting, The Changeling and The Shining.
This horror genre is definitely conveyed; the opening of Ghosts of Manor House was enjoyable and suitably unsettling – I won’t give any spoilers away – but it peaked my interest in the story.
I really like haunted house stories; this book delivered all the conventions that you may expect from one – mysterious voices, creaky floorboards, and an ominous housekeeper.
Mary and Edmund’s grief at the tragic death of their son, and their desire to bring him back, to me, echoed Stephen King’s Pet Sematary, a horror novel about a burial site that holds the power of life, even after death. Admittedly, I read Ghosts of Manor House not long after finishing Pet Sematary, so King’s story was still fresh in my mind. This this may not have been an intentional echo, it may have been my own interpretation.
Although a fictional story, Powers does his best to keep his characters and situations realistic. For the most part, this is effective. However, I don’t think Edmund or Mary were developed as well as they could have been, though this may be the constraint of writing a shorter book.
The use of the present tense to narrate the story throughout was an… interesting choice. To me, this made some of the writing feel clunky and amateurish because I didn’t know what purpose this served. The use of flashbacks to reveal what truly happened to the family was a good technique, but until these started, I at times got lost in the various narrative strands – it was very difficult to place where the characters were, though this may have been Powers’ intention.
Edmund’s over-personifying of Manor House frustrated me as well; I liked the concept of a haunted house coming to life, but if every description of the house is personified, it loses the subtlety great horror has.
On the whole, Ghosts of Manor House is a quick read and a reasonably enjoyable haunted house story.
Star Rating: 3/5 Stars
Edmund and Mary Wilder are very much in love. But the death of their young son, Tommy, has shattered their family. Edmund is determined to bring them back together, drawing on the only bit of strength he has left—his love for Mary and their daughter, Stephanie. But Mary sinks deeper into depression while little Stephanie’s anger grows. Edmund flounders in his attempts to rescue his family from the brink of collapse and doesn’t know where to turn.
Then Mary receives an invitation for the family to become guests at Manor House, a seemingly quaint Bed and Breakfast. This, she assures her husband, is the answer to all their troubles.
Edmund arrives ahead of his family to spend a couple days working on his long-delayed novel. But his growing curiosity about the old house leads Edmund to an encounter that will change him forever.
What will you sacrifice for love?
An old fashioned psychological thriller with a nod to Stephen King, Manor House will keep you guessing and compel you to turn the page to the very end.
A mother will sacrifice anything for her children. A husband will risk everything to save his wife. Manor House will take them all.
Matt is the author and creator of Ghosts of Manor House and Senior Producer at Zynga. Computers and video games have been a part of his life since he was young. As a child, he always played video games and when he was ten, his Dad told him that he should try making his own. And so he taught himself to program and create games on the computer. He majored in Computer Science and enjoys working with a team of creative people. Matt has a passion for books and finds writing to be a great way to release his inner creativity.
Matt lives and works in the busy and vibrant metropolis of San Francisco where he is surrounded by extraordinary views of the ocean. He loves how the city is filled with a variety of people and activities – there is always something to do and new to see. In addition to San Francisco, Matt spends a lot of time in Grass Valley with friends and family where he can escape the concrete jungle for the relative calm of this gold mining sierra town. This is where the characters and story of Ghosts came to life.
He loves to write because he can use his wacky and twisted imagination to create interesting characters that he brings to life on paper. Matt’s writing process with Ghosts started with a concept, “write a creepy haunted house story.” Ideas became scenes, which became characters that created a story. Matt made a deal with Manor House to tell its tale and so he did, but at what price?