- AUTHOR – Ramsey Campbell
- PUBLISHER – Flame Tree Press
- PAGES – 288
Queenie is the ageing matriarch of the Faraday family, and even death can’t break her hold over her eleven-year-old grand-niece Rowan. She’s buried with a locket that contains a lock of Rowans hair, and soon afterwards Rowan is befriended by a mysterious uncannily intelligent girl of her own age. Only her aunt Hermione suspects how sinister this is, but will retrieving the locket save her niece? By the time anyone sees what effect the ghostly influence on Rowan is having, it may be too late for her. If the child who takes her place in family isn’t Rowan, Rowan may be somewhere else not quite like our world…
The story follows the Faraday family in their daily life of looking after their poorly aunt Queenie and what happens after she dies, the novel started off really slow placed, and not quite gripping at all, well except maybe for a bit of intrigue of where this story was going. Queenie was a freaky old lady, who seemed very much like a witch type human and knew there would be more to her, even after she died and it would seem my first impression was correct. It was brilliant how she was written, she was not your typical witch and was definitely not portrayed as such either. Her nieces Alison and Hermione seemed very much afraid of her, Hermione more so than Alison and that did bug me at first, Hermione was a grown adult but was acting very childish and well to be honest very whiny. Alisons daughter Rowan was likeable from the start, she loved reading and wasn’t afraid to be herself, but I had a feeling her new friend Vicky, who was very outgoing seemed to be a little more than human.
After Queenie died the book continued to be very slow placed and I did consider if to carry on or not, and I am so, so glad I did because not much longer after I became hooked. The description of each place was beautifully written and really made me feel like I was there In the house, at the beach or in the dunnes. Not long after Queenie died, we met the little girl Vicky who approached Rowan and befriended her, but she seemed to pop up everywhere in the family’s life, it was not written that it was her but you just knew who it was, like when Lance the nephew was at the a train station and he saw the little girl, it was more than obvious between the lines who that little girl was. Lance I didn’t like from when we were first introduced to him at Queenies funeral, there was just something off with him, it didn’t need spelling out in words, you could just read it in between the lines. I knew there was something really sinister with him and although I had a feeling what it was I really hoped I was wrong. I was shocked by his death, but I had a feeling that maybe it wasn’t him who did that to himself.
As soon as I was half way through the book I could not put the book down, it went from 10 mile an hour to 75 mile an hour in a page turn, Vicky was becoming more and more intriguing and I needed to know more about Vicky and what she was up too, that’s when Hermione spelled it out for me and it made a lot of sense.
I finally started to connect with Hermione when she expressed her thoughts about the afterlife, she really started to remind me of myself after just loosing my nana, these are the same thoughts I have also found myself having, and then before I knew it Hermione had gone from this shy awkward scared woman to being bold and trying to become the hero by saving her niece, and doing all she could to protect her knowing everyone else thought she was crazy and I was a bit gutted when she died but still I thought she might have just done the trick and saved her.
All seemed right again when Rowan tried her hardest to find her way back home to her family, you could feel the anxiety her parents were going through when they had no idea where she was and you found you had the same anxiety just wanting her to be back with them.
The ending was beautifully written, I’m not one for a happy ending in a book that has not been so happy but the ending was near perfect and although it was a happy ending at the end of a creepy story, it worked really well.
If you can persist with a slow starter I would definitely recommend this book, especially if you love horror/supernatural novels.