Published: March 2nd, 2023
Publisher: Serpent’s Tail
Genre: Gothic Fiction, Horror Fiction
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audiobook
Today is my stop on the blog tour for this chilling debut novel. Thank you to Serpent’s Tail for the gifted copy and the chance to take part in the tour.
‘In her beautifully written debut, Kate Collins gives the haunted house novel a refreshing renovation, while retaining a deliciously chilling atmosphere that fans of Shirley Jackson will love. I was entranced’ Francine Toon, author of Pine
The perfect place to destroy a family…
The Reeve stands on the edge of the Dorset cliffs, awaiting its next inhabitants. Despite Orla’s misgivings, her husband insists this house will be the perfect place to raise their two children.
In 1976, Lydia moves to Dorset as a nanny for a family grieving their patriarch. She soon starts to hear and feel things that cannot be real, but her bereaved employer does not listen when Lydia tells her something is wrong.
Separated by forty years, both Lydia and Orla realise that the longer they stay at the Reeve, the more deadly certain their need to keep the children safe from whatever lurks inside it…
Nothing is quite what it seems at the Reeve, and with its pervasive atmosphere of claustrophobia and dread, Kate Collins’ gothic creation will chill you to the core.
“Her children would devour her, if they could; they would eat her up and make her live inside of them forever. The house wanted them to live inside of it forever.
She had become a mother to a monstrous child. The Reeve had spoken to her, whispered, and she had listened.”
Unsettling, eerie, and atmospheric, A Good House For Children is a chilling Gothic story that will leave you sleeping with the lights on.
On the edge of cliffs in Dorset the house stands waiting for a new family to inhabit it. But no one stays for long at The Reeve and there are whispers in the local village of ghostly figures and curses. Following two families forty years apart, can they protect their loved ones from the darkness that lurks in this strange home, or will it claim them forever?
“It’s not somewhere you’d want to keep a family, is all… It’s a bad house. It’s a bad place… It’s not safe. It’s not right.”
This is definitely not a book to read right before bed! In her accomplished debut, author Kate Collins has created a gothic mystery that will chill you to your core. Narrated by artist Orla in 2017, and nanny Lydia in 1976, the writing is exquisite, almost poetic at times, and filled with evocative descriptions that bring the story and characters to life. A rich tapestry of a novel, Ms. Collins toys with the reader, making you wonder if this truly is a ghost story or simply a case of isolation messing with the women’s minds. But as I tried to rationalise what was happening, she slowly built the tension to an unbearable fever pitch, and the strange and chilling moments were no longer able to be rationalised. I was now as convinced as Orla and Lydia that this house was haunted, and was screaming at them to run as far away from the house as they could and burn it to the ground before anyone else got caught in its clutches.
Intricately woven, vivid and compelling, it had me on the edge of my seat as it moved seamlessly between timelines and narrators. All of the characters felt real and relatable, building a real connection between them and the reader. Orla and Lydia each had their own distinct voice and were very easy to like and root for. But for me it was the children, particularly little Philip and Sam, who stole the show and a piece of my heart.
“She felt the weight of the house at her back, the whole house, waiting for her to turn so that it might embrace and swallow her – as though it were a living animal, ready to bite.”
But this is also a book where the biggest character is not a person, but the house itself. The author mentions in her authors note that ‘reeve’ is an old Dorset word for ‘unravel’, making it the perfect name for this house. Haunting and forbidding, it seems to call to families who are already troubled in some way. Families looking for a fresh start or healing. It has a sinister atmosphere before anything has happened, but soon the families become aware of strange events as the house begins to interact with its inhabitants, playing with what they see, hear, think and feel. It quite literally haunts them, the house feeling alive and like there is something evil dwelling in it. An inescapable sense of claustrophobia and fear lingers over every page and as things begin to unravel and I was on tenterhooks waiting to find out if the families would escape or fall victim to this terrible place. For despite what the title claims, The Reeve is NOT a good house for children…
A stunning yet nerve-shredding gothic tale, A Good House For Children is perfect for those who enjoy a twisty and unnerving story. A gripping debut from an exciting new voice in the genre, it will haunt you long after reading.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Kate is a writer of long-form and short fiction. From West Cork, Ireland, she now lives and works in Oxfordshire.
Her short fiction has been longlisted for the Bath Short Story Award 2021, and her debut novel, A GOOD HOUSE FOR CHILDREN, will be published by Serpent’s Tail in the UK in March 2023, and by Mariner Books (Harper Collins) in the US in Summer 2023.
BUY THE BOOK:
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Thanks for reading Bibliophiles xxx
Please check out the reviews from the other bloggers taking part in the tour.
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