A House With Good Bones
by T. Kingfisher
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Pub Date 28 Mar 2023 | Archive Date 28 Mar 2023
Macmillan-Tor/Forge, Tor Nightfire
A haunting Southern Gothic from an award-winning master of suspense, A House With Good Bones explores the dark, twisted roots lurking just beneath the veneer of a perfect home and family.
"Mom seems off."
Her brother's words echo in Sam Montgomery's ear as she turns onto the quiet North Carolina street where their mother lives alone.
She brushes the thought away as she climbs the front steps. Sam's excited for this rare extended visit, and looking forward to nights with just the two of them, drinking boxed wine, watching murder mystery shows, and guessing who the killer is long before the characters figure it out.
But stepping inside, she quickly realizes home isn’t what it used to be. Gone is the warm, cluttered charm her mom is known for; now the walls are painted a sterile white. Her mom jumps at the smallest noises and looks over her shoulder even when she’s the only person in the room. And when Sam steps out back to clear her head, she finds a jar of teeth hidden beneath the magazine-worthy rose bushes, and vultures are circling the garden from above.
To find out what’s got her mom so frightened in her own home, Sam will go digging for the truth. But some secrets are better left buried.
Also by T. Kingfisher
Nettle & Bone
What Moves the Dead
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 192 members
Another win for T. Kingfisher! A spunky, relatable protagonist, a creeping evil, and a fresh look at the garden witch and unexpected horrors, this book was as horrifying as it was lovely. Full review to come on Rue Morgue.
Once again Kingfisher delivers a beautifully written novella. I found the atmosphere to be spooky and creepy which added to the story. It was plenty creepy as well. Characters are interesting and I particularly like the relationship between mother and daughter. I like the author's writing style and how well they describe creepy settings. Kingfisher is becoming a favorite horror author of mine. Her stories are sweet and spooky. Perfect for Halloween time or anytime.
This is it. T. Kingfisher is an auto buy author for me. I was sold on What Moves The Dead and I haven't been able to stop talking about it with everyone I know. But that book had a very specific sort of audience. An audience who is already familiar or comfortable with horror and EAP and general eerie mishaps. THIS book, is a horror book for everyone. Really. It's true. This is the horror book for people who don't really believe in ghost stories, and aren't entirely sure how they feel about wizards, or monsters, and are maybe a little more comfortable during the daylight in small towns where people are more concerned with being normal than having ghosts or wizards or monsters in their home. And THIS book is about one of those people, who doesn't believe in all of this nonsense and spends a very long time looking for scientific explanations meanwhile I had heart palpitations every time something chaotic and insane happened. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to anyone wanting to dip their toes in horror, or who has a fondness for haunted houses, vultures, ladybugs, or roses.
An absolute must read for all horror fans!
Sam is visiting her mother in her childhood house while being furloughed from an academic gig and comes to discover that not all is right at home. It starts with the little things: everything is ecru now, there's a Confederate wedding painting on the wall, and Mom seems really into saying grace and speaking kindly of Sam's terrible, dead grandmother. The roses outside are devoid of insect life save for ladybugs and, being an insect person, Sam is bewildered by this. She's also worried about her mom. Maybe it's dementia? Maybe she's losing her mind?
Little things start to happen that are easy to write off at first. A swarm of ladybugs, for instance. Some sleep paralysis. Nothing to freak out about. But then Sam starts asking questions, looking into her terrible grandmother's family tree, and finds a great grandfather who was friendly with Aleister Crowley. Things spiral from there.
I really loved this book--from the slow spiraling of the mystery surrounding the house to the breaking open of Sam's family secrets. Not only is Sam an excellently drawn character, but the setting is also perfectly pieced together. You can just see the newish subdivision shoved into rural Southern fields and trailers where it doesn't belong. The way the horror story really suddenly blooms is also perfect. Loved everything about this weird little story.
I read A House with Good Bones in one sitting, fueled by a feral delight in the creepy, unsettling narrative that T Kingfisher has crafted. This is jumping to the top of my hand sell list the moment that it comes out, and I can't wait to start recommending it.
The story follows Sam, a sharply witty but unintentionally blunt woman on furlough from her academic job, and Sam's mother Edie, a nurturing soul with a rebellious spirit who has lately begun to withdraw and shrink in a way that is concerning her children. When Sam comes to stay in the small southern suburban home that her grandmother passed down, she becomes concerned about changes in her mother and in their home. Dark omens build up around them, and darker family secrets slowly start to unravel around them.
Kingfisher has a gift for characters, creating an enthralling dynamic between the different generations of the family. Each of the women are strong in their own way, protecting their families in their own way. The revelations throughout the plot serve to increase the depth of these characters, intensifying the strangeness of the dynamic.
The plot is wonderfully weird, with unexpected turns. Instead of relying on jump scares and surprise twists, the story unfolds like a horrific dreamscape. It makes good on every promised crumb of foreshadowing, including the title, until you see it unfurled in its grotesque entirety. The surreal, sharp-witted tone reads throughout, turning the story into a wild ride.
Kingfisher is excellent at writing stories that engulf you without overstaying their welcome, and this is another excellent addition to their bibliography.
Bizarre, creative, incredibly well-written, and everything else I've come to expect from a T. Kingfisher book.
Back home due to a delayed work project, Sam Montgomery can't help but notice how strange her mother is acting. Once colourful and fun, the family home has been reverted back to Sam's late (and abusive) grandmother's plain style. Even the hated Confederate wedding portrait is back. Could it be dementia? Delayed grief? Sam is determined to get to the bottom of her mom's odd behaviour, but the truth is unimaginable, entangled in all the dark family secrets hidden in Gran Mae's picture-perfect rosebushes.
As with other Kingfisher protagonists, Sam was an excellent, well-developed character. Relatable and funny, with a very interesting passion for archaeoentomology that felt real. The side characters were good too, offering quite a bit to the story. (My favourite would be the quirky neighbour who rescues wildlife and has a little one-winged vulture friend named Hermes!)
A House With Good Bones has great writing, a quick pace, and monsters so creepy and surreal that I don't know how they landed in the author's imagination. I was definitely afraid to fall asleep for a while after reading this, and I'll be looking at rosebushes differently from now on.
I can't praise A House With Good Bones enough. If you like weird and creepy, I'm sure you'll love this as much as I did. Get your hands on a copy when it's published March 28, 2023!
I loved this beyond belief and, by the way, I now want a vulture.
If you do not want a vulture after reading this book, you are probably a horrible human who needs to be devoured by the hungry white things that lurk beneath.
This book is wonderfully witchy. I loved all our characters (even one who was wrong and creepy). The book manages to be mystical and funny, yet also grim and scary in all the right ways.
I tore through this one with pleasure and just wanted more when it was all over.
Oh, and a vulture. I wanted a vulture.
• ARC via Publisher
T. Kingfisher is one of my favorite authors. (The only one whose books I will autobuy.) This title is no different. Absolutely loved the story and the atmosphere. Honestly, I dont know what else to say. Every book I've read by this author has been a 5 star read for me.
T Kingfisher DOES NOT MISS. This is southern gothic in a way that feels so fresh and grounded and scary AF. Her heroines always feel so devastatingly normal that it makes the scares all the more scary. Add in a whole host of amazing side characters and quite the twist and this book is unputdownable.
This was my first T Kingfisher book and let me tell you I am impressed.
This book was eerie and creepy at the same time. Perfect for spooky season!
A southern gothic featuring an old family home, vultures, roses, and hauntings. When Samantha Montgomery’s archeology expedition is cut short she decides to visit her mother again after her brother calls her with concern. Now she is coming back to their old family home where they lived with Grandma Mae... a cruel old woman who made their lives miserable and had passed away. Upon arrival Sam is met with a huge vulture perched on the mailbox staring at the house... if that wasn’t a bad sign, she then sees her mother who looks worse for wear and is acting extremely strange, it doesn’t help that Sam begins to see strange things herself, hearing her grandmother’s voice and the strange rose bushes that grow in the garden that have no bugs.... which should be impossible. Now Sam finds herself begin to suspect something much more implausible is going on... and her memories of her childhood with her grandmother begin to resurface... soon she’ll dig deeper in dark family secrets and find herself facing off against horrors she never expected. I absolutely loved reading this one, it was such a fun southern gothic and I loved the use of roses and vultures in it. Seriously this was a great read!
*Thanks Netgalley and Macmillan-Tor/Forge, Tor Nightfire for sending me an arc in exchange for an honest review*
A House With Good Bones is a fun, quirky, and exciting ride of a ghost story. Our protagonist, Sam, easily pulls you right in and keeps you fully engaged with her conversational narration; and it’s fun to watch her slowly wrap her scientific mind around the reality of magic and ghosts. That leads me to my biggest point: this story was just as entertaining as it was eerie.
The one thing I am coming to appreciate about Kingfisher’s writing, above all, is just how funny it can be. I have never been so amused reading horror. The best thing about it is that the humour- for me, anyhow- doesn’t take anything away from the horror. It just all works together to make a richer reading experience. I was still plenty creeped out by all the weirdness going down in Gran Mae’s house. I’ve come to judge the merit of a horror novel not by how edge-of-your-seat, can’t-read-fast-enough thrilling it is, but by how much of an excitable, running commentary I keep for my husband. You know I’m really into the story if I can’t stop interrupting my own reading, just to tell my husband how screwed the characters are or how creepy-crazy things are getting. As I read this one, I just couldn’t shut up.
I also love when I’m able to recognise people I know in books, and Sam reminds me so much of my own biologist sister that I’m considering buying her a copy, when it releases. My inner pop culture geek was positively screaming when Aleister Crowley made his way into the narrative (fun unrelated fact- Jimmy Page, of Led Zeppelin, bought Boleskine House, because he was just that much of a Crowley fanboy). Little connections like that always amuse me endlessly, and they always make the story seem all the more real.
I can’t wait for this to hit the shelves.
I think at this point I can say there isn't a horror (or any other genre) I won't read from T.Kingfisher. Would it be impossible to just have the arc's sent to me without me requesting them? Pretty please?
My thanks to NetGalley for making an eARC of this book available to me.
This is the perfect book to read on a stormy night, assuming you don't want to be able to sleep until the following day. It moves from disturbing to scary to downright terrifying.
The author continues to present us with well developed characters who feel real, and who we can't help but root for as they dig themselves into and out of some horrifying situations. We get vultures and ladybugs and roses and good family and bad family and good neighbors and bad neighbors and plenty of bug-talk.
First off, thank you so much to #Netgalley, the publisher and especially the author for this ARC!
Okay so T. Kingfisher is in my top 3 favorite authors…. This book was incredible! I love every book they have written, they are so easy to read and keep you on the edge of your seat. When I got the ARC for this book I actually did a little dance I was so excited! My favorite book by them this far was the hollow ones but this book gave that a run for its money…. This book was so creepy and atmospheric and I already preordered a copy for my own collection. Do yourself a favor, go in as blind as you can to this book and enjoy!
T. Kingfisher is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors of all time. I absolutely love her writing style, and her horror novels are always unique and completely chilling. I love a good haunted house story, but Kingfisher takes it to the next level with A House With Good Bones. I really like how much thought Kingfisher puts into her main characters: they're not just cookie-cutter final girls. Sam was a great main character, and I liked the fun facts and witty remarks her knowledge of insects brought to the story. The tension was built up perfectly as Sam struggled to figure out why her mother was acting so strange. The last bit of the book was unbelievably creepy, and I don't think I'll ever want to have a rose garden now. 5/5 stars.
T. Kingfisher gets better with every book - this is her best yet in her growing collection of horror titles. I loved the way this book has a very slow creep. For the first quarter of the book, it's still, "This all seems pretty normal, and something is just a little, tiny bit off, and knowing that I'm reading a Kingfisher horror book makes me very suspicious about these rose bushes." By the time things start going terribly wrong, it's almost a relief, because the tension of waiting for the shoe to drop was getting unbearable. Strong recommend.
Another winning book from T. Kingfisher, it does everything that I was hoping for and I really enjoyed the way it was written. It worked so well as a Southern Gothic novel, it had a great plot going on and did what I was hoping for. The characters were interesting and they felt like real people. I look forward to reading more from this author.
“I think it’s the same principle.” The authors of this particular book selection assumed that of course the reader knew what the Age of Horus was and also presumably why someone would want to bring it about. Parsons had consulted Elgar about this project, according to the footnotes, but it said that Elgar had been “dismissive of his plans” and “warned him against his stated goal of shattering the boundaries of space and time.”
Another winner from T. Kingfisher! I love the gothic elements of the book and the plot is creepy. One of the best things about her writings are the well developed characters and the touches of humor.
“Anywhere there’s people, there’s a possibility of evil, wouldn’t you say?”
A House With Good Bones is everything you want in a horror/thriller/gothic book. Creepy, weird, mysterious, fast paced, and did I mention, weird! Throw in hilarious dialogue, a hugely likable cast of characters, and great setting and you have a 5 star book. Kingfisher made it impossible to put this book down and had me thinking about it when I was not reading it. I did not expect it to go where it was going and I loved the weirdness of it all. Do yourself a favor and pick this up!
If you’ve ever had the privilege of living for a time in a haunted house, then you’ll be pleased to know that T. Kingfisher does a superb job of perfectly capturing what it is like. If you are like me, scientifically minded and quite skeptical regarding supernatural occurrences than you will completely relate to the protagonist of A House With Good Bones, Sam - an archeologist specializing in insects who ventures home to live with her mother in her grandmother’s house in between digs. Sam quickly realizes that all is not right with the house or her mother who starts to exhibit signs of being nice and normal, mimicking the personality quirks of her deceased grandmother.
A House with Good Bones is a cleverly written horror story with enough snappy wit to keep things real and enough action and creeping horror to keep the pages turning. Kingfisher’s newest novel is sure to delight fans of Grady Hendrix and anyone who grew up watching The ‘Burbs. Highly recommended!
Huge thank you to NetGalley, Tor Nightfire, and T. Kingfisher for an advanced reader’s copy in exchange for an honest review.
One thing I love about this author is that she can tell a heck of a story without rambling on into 400 plus pages. She is able to get right to the heart of each book efficiently and while still giving you the full experience. I loved the southern setting and gothic atmosphere. This novel was original and thought provoking.
Once again, T. Kingfisher has written a spooky book that makes your heart race from page one, full of dread and the fear of awful consequences (while light on violence.). The supernatural threat - while present - takes a backseat to family fears in this one. Beginning with a daughter's sudden realization that her mother isn't herself (and the creeping, paralyzing fear of dementia, which robs us all of our loved ones), it circles into realizing how the effects of terrible parents can trickle down through the years, and how we choose to express those effects can stretch beyond the grave.
I can't recommend her work strongly enough.
A House with Good Bones by T. Kingfisher
Publication Date: March 28, 2023
Sam returns to her childhood home for an extended stay but it quickly becomes evident that her mother is acting strange and Sam can’t let it go. There is a buried jar of teeth in the garden and vultures circling overhead and she is desperate to find out the rationale behind these rather odd occurrences.
What to say about a book where I really think the less you know, the better your reading experience will be? I guess thank you to the author for unlocking a new fear… GARDENING. I will not be sticking my hands anywhere near a flower or worse… into the ground *shutters* anytime soon. Kingfisher has managed to take the mundane and twist it into this creepy crawly tale releasing just in time for gardening season in the northern hemisphere!
Written in her usual twisted but charming manner, Kingfisher tells a tale about an intergenerational trauma in a family home. Snarkier and more sarcastic than her last novel, it still packs its punch.
If Kingfisher writes it then I will read it (and during so frequently question her sick and twisted brain and then mine for picking it up and enjoying it)!
Thank you to Tor for providing an advanced reading copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This was another great T. Kingfisher novel! I really enjoy Kingfisher's ability to create and entire cast of likable characters and her ability to weave them into complicated and increasingly-weirder situations. A House With Good Bones was a perfect combination of humor, horror, and the supernatural.
I have found myself continuously recommending T. Kingfisher's books to fans of folk horror and this books will be no exception. There are moments in this book that were deeply scary and I am glad I wasn't home alone when I read this title. And like the other books that I have read by this author A House with Good Bones is filled with warm humor, excellent character development, and obscure information that you can use to impress your friends (in this case, archaeoentomology).
This was my first T. Kingfisher book, but I can confidently say it won't be my last!
Horror is pretty hit or miss for me, but I absolutely devoured A House With Good Bones. There was a lot of build up and suspense, which made the creepy moments hit that much harder when they did occur. As someone who lives in North Carolina, occasionally has sleep paralysis and has recently had a ton of vultures in their yard, this book got to me in a way that no other horror book ever has. I always read at night, and I was genuinely spooked during some of the scenes.
One of the reasons horror is hit or miss for me is because I feel like as soon as the "monster" or entity or whatever you want to call it is revealed, any unease I felt immediately disappears. This was not the case with A House With Good Bones. The Gran Mae scene was genuinely creepy and the underground children even more so.
Unexpectedly, there was a lot of humor in this book, which I greatly appreciated at 2 am. Sam had me laughing out loud multiple times. Her dry wit, bluntness and fascination with bugs reminded me so much of my sister it was uncanny. Her head was a delightful place to be in. Such a great protagonist, and I really enjoyed the side characters as well!
Overall, this was a great spooky read and I definitely recommend!
I always look forward to a new T. Kingfisher book and this one doesn't disappoint! Perhaps a little more slight than her recent books, but a fun haunted house family trauma drama read. If anything I'd like it to be longer!
She did it again y'all! She did it again!
And here I thought she couldn't top her previous books.... Pshhhh! I was dead wrong!
A House With Good Bones by T. Kingfisher is her best yet IMO! I know it's my favorite.
The way she creates the atmosphere is so chilling and creepy.
Her writing as well was so intricately written, beautiful and just completely captivating. As usual.
T. Kingfisher certainly knows how to pack a punch and end with a bang that is both satisfying and leaves you craving more.
Dark, twisted, suspenseful, A House With Good Bones has all the elements of a Southern Gothic tale.
Give me more please!
It's official I will read anything she creates. She writes it, I'm reading it!
"I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own."
Thank You for your generosity and gifting me a copy of this eARC!
Thank you to the publisher for the copy - all opinions are my own.
This book is INCREDIBLE - it is the exact perfect mix of mystery/horror/paranormal and is so uniquely done that I could not set this book down if I tried.
I loved everything about this book - the characters (a lead character who is a socially awkward nerd who studies bugs?? Possible witches? Crazy conspiracy theory neighbor? Yes, love it), the pacing (steady build up to explosive conclusion), the intensity (things aren't quite right, but you don't quite know why), the twists....its all so wonderfully packaged together, and executed to perfection.
Paranormal horror can be a bit hit and miss for me, but I was 100% in to how this story unfolds. It has all the right elements without being insanely over the top and wild. I would pay good money to see this book made into a movie - it would be phenomenal on screen.
Overall, this is a must for winter reading lists - its the perfect story to escape into on a cold wintery day.
T Kingfisher has quickly become my favorite horror author. I found this book so mysterious and haunting…not quite knowing what was happening and then BOOM huge plot twist that was so wild I beg of everyone not to spoil it! Fantastic, wild read.
T. Kingfisher's novel "A House With Good Bones" builds beautiful tension from the very first page. Sam's world and family seems to just be completely and fully formed from the first word. The overall building of suspense is accomplished with such skill that you can almost feel the hairs on the back of your neck standing up one by one. The journey that Sam takes through this story to discover if there's something going on with her mother is an absolute roller coaster that is worth every twist and turn.
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