Wakenhyrst

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 23 Apr 2019

Member Reviews

At the turn of the 20th century, Maud is a child growing up with her historian father who cares for no-one but himself and considers her too female to be bright enough to worry about.
Over the years, her father starts becoming more obsessed with his work and starts to suspect that their large house and estate may have a devil possessing it - or the inhabitants.

The story mostly stays with Maud as a child, but we do get the occasional look into her future when she is in her 60s. Although I found this an easy enough book to read, I kept expecting more.  A little more mystery and suspense would have worked well, but I felt in the end that part fell flat and instead it was more just an account of what happened.

Perhaps a book best for those who like descriptions of Gothic mansions and strange happenings and are satisfied with things being left as unknown.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.
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At the risk of repeating myself I do like History, Myth and Mystery in a book. Add in East Anglia and I’m even happier. Wakenhyrst has all these things, it takes place in the landscape of my childhood in the time of my grandparents. Wakenhyrst will have the prickles on the back of your neck raised whilst you feverishly turn the pages to find out what happens next. When I next go home I am going in search of wall painting in churches.
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I have loved Michelle Paver books from when she did the chronicles of ancient darkness, and I love this book as well.
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Another excellent tale from Michelle Paver. A gripping read and while not  as creepy as the ghost stories - "Dark Matter" and "Thin Air" - still truly  unsettling. This is a study in madness and hypocrisy rather rather than a straight down the line haunting, and reminded me of Sarah Perry's The Essex Serpent - that may have been its fenland, otherworldly setting.  Everyone seems trapped in this house by the fen, thier stories woven around it. 

Written in two voices - bright, intelligent yet repressed Maud and her father Edmund (though his part is told through journal entries read in secret by the duaghter) the story unfolds in unexpected ways. Edmund is obsessed by the life story of a 15th century mystic (Alice Pyett, who is based on Margery Kempe) and with own his sense of self  importance (all the men in this story in fact, apart from the household staff are astonishingly arrogant, but I guess was normal for the early 20th Century).  Paver has created a world of secrets and lies, and the affect these have on a household, it reverberates down through time until we find Maud find some freedom much later in life. It's a great read!
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I wouldn't say this was particularly gothic, but I enjoyed it nevertheless.

Wakenhyrst takes us on a journey through the diaries of a father and daughter to unravel why he murdered someone. To be honest, the explanation isn't that shocking and the tone makes it confusing over when exactly the story's set, but there's something compelling here which sucks you in and keeps you reading.

Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC without obligation.
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I received a copy from Netgalley.

I love gothic horror mysteries and that premise was what attracted me to this book immediately. However, this book didn’t really fulfil my personal idea of a gothic horror mystery. That being said, the mystery aspect was really good and I really enjoyed the story. 

It starts in 1966 and tells through news articles of a report granted a visit to a once grand house and the lady, Maud, who owns the property. The lady is a recluse and as a child witnessed the descent into madness of her father. No one really knew what happened (this was back in 1913) and the house seems to have remained in a similar state since. The reporter has been digging into the history of the father and the mystery surrounding the demise of a once prominent and respected man from a highly well to do family. There’s rumours of witchcraft and devil worship and all sorts of superstitious things. 

The lady retells the story as she remembers it and her father growing up from when she was a small child to when she was a teenager and when the incident happens.  The story tells of Maud’s troubled adolescence - she’s an intelligent child who wants more out of life than what her station will allow. Her father is a tough man to please – a historian. As she grows up Maud eventually manages to convince her father to allow her to use his library also helping with his translation of an old text with a religious theme. 

We see passages as well from the father’s notebook, detailing his inner thoughts as the situations occur, with Maud, with his research and a secret from his childhood which haunts him and is driving him to the brink of madness. There’s a definite religious overtone to the father’s inner journals, demons and sins and secrets and penance and so forth. Though it’s well handled without being overly dramatic and overly preachy. 

Maud discovers her father’s journals and begins her own investigations. It’s really quite fascinating and once you get used to the style of writing hard to put down. I’m not recapping a lot of the plot as it would be very spoilery. Maud was a really likeable heroine, strong willed and sensible, her voice was very easy to follow and as the novel evolves as a reader you really want her to succeed in her tasks. 

There was nothing remotely scary or chilling about it so it didn’t hit the horror mark for me, but it was quite atmospheric.  The mystery was really good and it had a satisfying ending. I really enjoyed the book and would definitely read something by this author again. 


Thanks to Netgalley and Head of Zeus for approving my request to view the title.
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‘Wakenhyrst’ by Michelle Paver is a creepy atmospheric novel that has been described as a ghost story, but the only ghosts in it are in the minds of the people. Which of course makes them enormously powerful and frightening. I found myself eager to return to this book, resenting time away from it. Paver is a skilled storyteller and I am coming to anticipate her new books with relish. If you haven’t read her adult novels, you are in for a treat.
The story starts with a newspaper article written in 1966 entitled ’The Mystery of Edmund Stearne’. The journalist, who has spoken to Stearne’s daughter Maud about the conviction of her father for murder in 1913, casts doubt on Maud’s version of events. Could Maud be the guilty one? The story is set at Wake’s End, a country house at Wakenhyrst, a village beside the Guthlaf’s Fen in Suffolk. Paver creates this setting with all the intensity and atmosphere with which she created the Arctic in ‘Dark Matter’ and the Himalayas in ‘Thin Air’. The fens haunt every aspect of life at the house and on bad days, when the weather closes in and the mind is in turmoil, the fens invade the rooms too. The rotting stench. A scratching at the windows. Damp and infection. Edmund hates the fens and forbids Maud and her older brother Richard from crossing the bridge; Nurse too is full of scary stories of ferishes and hobby-lanterns that entice people to their death. Others are more pragmatic, depending on the fens for their living and for food.
When Maud’s mother dies in childbirth everything changes at Wake’s End. Richard is sent away to school and thirteen-year old Maud becomes housekeeper and then secretary for her father who is a medieval historian. Edmund’s odd behavior begins when he uncovers an ancient painting in the graveyard of local church St Guthlaf’s. He imagines that the eyes of the Doom, the painted devil, are staring at him with purpose, that the devil knows his secret. The Doom is restored and hung again in the church, but in a locked room. When Edmund kills Maud’s favourite magpie, Chatterpie, her dislike of her father becomes a mission to fathom the truth of his odd behavior.
This is a thoughtful mystery rather than a thriller, the danger and threats unfold at a steady pace and the questions continue until the end. What was Edmund’s crime and how far will he go to hide the truth? Why does he hate the fens so much? How exactly do the strands of waterweed appear on his pillow? Not so much a ghost story as a mystery of rational understanding clouded by folktale, medieval legend and tales of ancient witchcraft and superstition.
The story unfolds through Maud’s eyes and the excerpts she reads of her father’s diaries, plus Edmund’s translations of a medieval mystic Alice Pyett and ‘The Life of St Guthlaf’. Although Edmund is an unsympathetic character, I did pause at one point to wonder the reliability of Maud’s account. Maud is an impressive character; denied education because she is a girl she reads secretly and resents her father’s nightly use of her mother, multiple pregnancies which eventually lead to Maman’s death. Paver is good at drawing a picture of the community; fen-dweller Jubal Rede, assistant gardener Clem Walker, servant Ivy, rector Mr Broadstairs, Dr Grayson and village wisewoman Boddy Thrussel. Modern medicine beside folk remedies. Church of England beside centuries-old folklore. 
So creepy is the story, so isolated is this house beside the fen, that the setting feels older than Edwardian England. It could easily be set in the 19th century, excepting the references to trains and telegraphs. The isolation of the community is key to the crimes committed; truth may disappear, be disguised and denied, but someone always sees, someone always knows. The fen holds the answers.
Excellent.
Read more of my book reviews at http://www.sandradanby.com/book-reviews-a-z/
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This was a pretty atmospheric read that had an incredibly well defined sense of place. It tells the story of Maud, a young girl living with her widowed father as he becomes increasingly more unhinged in his belief that he is being haunted by a demon possessed individual. While many of the story beats here were quite obvious, what I thought Paver did fantastically was make the Fens a character in their own right. The landscape encroaches on the narrative constantly, sometimes oppressive and sometimes comfortingly, but always present and it was this that impacted upon me the most. In truth, the characters are pretty stereotypical in many respects, but the structure of the narrative, with its reportage and diary entries was interesting, which I appreciated. Overall, this is a well constructed, supernatural tale whose true strength lies in the atmosphere evoked by the landscape.
I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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his book has helped me realise that the older I get the fussier I am with the gothic stories that I read for fun. I love the gothic genre as a whole and I have really enjoyed studying it over the years, but I guess when I read one for fun my bias for certain things shines through.

What I Liked…
Michelle Paver is a strong ghost story writer and I enjoyed two of her previous novels, "Dark Matter", and, "Thin Air", and found them to be strong haunting reads. I felt Paver was able to handle the fierce and intimidating environment and that she juxtaposed that nicely with the scares.

For her new novel, Paver has moved from the terrifying heights of mountains and deadly sub-zero temperatures to focus on a domestic setting.

Domestic gothic is one of my favourites especially ones that include isolation and madness. Plus a painting depicting Hell? I was on board.

Paver has the ability to make the most natural of settings feel unnatural and here she wields those skills to great effect with the fen – the wetlands that is part of our protagonist’s land – making us wonder what myth or monster is lurking just beyond.

The novel opens with a reporter seeking out Maud to discuss her father and we learn the story’s climax – a solid narrative technique that allows the story to then begin slowly as the reader knows what is coming, building tension over the course of the plot.

I liked Maud as a character and felt her growth from an curious, but frustrated bundle of energy as a child, to an intelligent, questioning, but no less frustrated young woman was one of the novel’s strengths.

Thing I Didn’t Like…
Structuring the narrative around Maud’s point of view and then splicing it with extracts from her father’s journal did work for the most part, as it did show his mental unraveling. But I found that over time it sucked some of the tension out of the story.

Maud was finding and reading his journal easily with seemingly no worry about him finding out. Then it felt like Maud’s story ran out of steam and it was just a case of waiting for her to read what he had been up to before the plot could move any closer to the ending that was promised at the beginning.

And that was also slightly disappointing. Usually when a novel presents you its ending from the outset, the enjoyment is following the twists and turns until you reach it and often there’s more to it than first shown. I’m not saying I was expecting the rug to be pulled out from under me, but some more details or small surprises would have helped round off the plot.

Moving on, this is where my personal preferences come into play. I found that despite the great detail of the fen and the way Paver builds it as an imposing presence, I found I just didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would. That’s when I realised I prefer my domestic gothics to focus on an imposing presence of a house/manor.

No matter how much the presence of the fen seeped into the house or the character’s lives I just didn’t feel as engaged. Arguably this could be because no matter how paranoid and terrified the father was becoming, Maud always found comfort in the fen – conveying mixed messages to the reader overall.

TL;DR
Personal preferences aside, Michelle Paver’s "Wakenhyrst" is a delicious venture into the gothic, where her skills for incorporating natural surroundings into scares works well. The narrative structure reduces the tension and slows the plot, but the tightrope walk between supernatural and madness is well balanced.
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Michelle Paver is an author I’ve been meaning to try for years, since I noticed all the hype surrounding her 2010 novel Dark Matter. For some reason I never got round to reading that book or any of her others, so Wakenhyrst is my first experience of her work.

Wakenhyrst begins in the 1960s with the elderly Maud Stearne coming under pressure from journalists to tell the story of a murder committed by her father many years earlier. Maud is the only person who knows why Edmund Stearne left the house one day in 1913, armed with an ice-pick and a geological hammer, and killed the first person he came across ‘in the most bizarre and horrible way’. Edmund spent the rest of his life in an asylum and Maud stayed on alone in the family home – the old manor house, Wake’s End, in Suffolk – never speaking about the tragedy to anyone. But now the house needs urgent repairs and Maud can’t afford to pay for them. It seems that she will have to sell her story after all.

Maud then gives her account of the events leading up to the murder, beginning by describing her lonely childhood, growing up at Wake’s End on the edge of Guthlaf’s Fen, ‘the oldest, deepest, rottenest fen ever’, with a father who is cold and domineering and a mother who is constantly pregnant (although most of the pregnancies result in stillbirths or miscarriages). Edmund, her father, is a historian and enlists Maud’s help in transcribing a book believed to be written by Alice Pyett, a medieval mystic. The book that really interests Maud, however, is her father’s secret notebook in which he records his innermost thoughts and fears. Maud already knows that Edmund is not a nice person, but even she is shocked by some of the things she reads in his journal. And when he becomes obsessed with a medieval painting of the Last Judgement, known as ‘the Doom’, she worries about her father’s mental state. Are there really evil forces at work in the fens or are they all a product of Edmund Stearne’s imagination?

I enjoyed Wakenhyrst, but it wasn’t quite what I’d expected. I think because I’d seen Dark Matter and Paver’s other recent novel, Thin Air, described as creepy ghost stories, I assumed this book would be the same, but I didn’t find it very scary at all – although I’m not necessarily complaining about that! There are plenty of Gothic elements, and the setting – a remote fenland community steeped in folklore and superstition – is certainly atmospheric, but it is not really a horror story in the usual sense. The horror in this book is more of the psychological kind, in the portrayal of a man’s descent into madness and obsession. Edmund’s notebook entries, which are interspersed throughout Maud’s narrative, become more and more disturbing and outlandish as his fears of the Doom and of demons in the fens spiral out of control.

I can’t really say that I liked Maud, but my sympathies were with her, particularly after her mother dies – weakened by too many pregnancies, or ‘groanings’ as the young Maud thinks of them (because that’s how each one ends). Maud’s life from this point becomes very isolated and unhappy, trapped in the oppressive atmosphere of Wake’s End as her father, never the most pleasant of men to begin with, gradually loses his grip on reality. The only bright spots in her life are her love for her tame bird, Chatterpie, and her relationships with Clem, the under-gardener, and Jubal Rede, the ‘wild man’ who lives in the fen.

After a slow start, I found Wakenhyrst quite an entertaining novel and I do still want to try some of Michelle Paver’s other books. I’m sure I will get round to reading Dark Matter eventually and will be interested to see how it compares.
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Wakenhyrst is a gothic thriller set on the fens of Suffolk in Edwardian times.

Maud is a young girl who lives with her family in a grand house bordering the fens. Fast forward and Maud is an ageing spinster. She lives in the house alone and isolated; she rarely leaves except to walk in the fens which are precious to her. Everyone knows her father went mad, but nobody knows exactly what happened - nobody but Maud. She has spent years hiding from everyone and protecting her families' secrets, but now she desperately needs money for renovations and decides to finally tell a reporter her story. 

It's a good story - one of demons and witchcraft, obsession and religion. It is also the story of a strict and unyielding father and his young daughter who is struggling to grow up in a world she doesn't understand and which does not understand her. It is a story of both myths and relationships, and is equally centred around the individual difficulties of Maud and her father.

The writing is excellent; very gothic and creepy where appropriate. The madness and horror in parts of the book were positively chilling. At other times it is heartfelt. The characters are very engaging and I found I cared very much about Maud's fate by the end. I really did enjoy this book; it drew me in from the beginning and I didn't want to put it down until the very end. I would recommend this book and give it top marks because I can't find any fault with it.
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This is a great novel; gothic and sinister, exploring the challenges faced by a young woman refused opportunities and underestimated by those around her. But somehow it hasn't stayed with me after reading in the way that Dark Matter and Thin Air did. So, still recommended, but not to so much to my taste as Paver's previous novels were.
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Paver an expert in historical moody fiction. She captures the mood and time with atmosphere and suspense.
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I really enjoyed this; I've read Michelle Paver's two previous adult books ('Dark Matter' and 'Thin Air') and 'Wakenhyrst' was my favourite by far.   A richly atmospheric gothic story, set in Edwardian times, about Maud who, when her mother dies in childbirth, grows up in an isolated manor house with her authoritarian father.  But the behaviour of Maud's father becomes increasingly strange and Maud eventually discovers a dark secret from his past - and also suspects that he has sinister plans for the near future ... Gripping and beautifully written - you really are transported back in time.
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This book was everything I wanted it to be. It's a great mystery, full of obsession, madness, demons and all things creepy. Paver is a master at creating an atmosphere that pulls you completely into the scene and keeps you there in suspense, unable to put the book down. 

This book really delves into the dark sides of Christianity. It shows the madness and religious fervour that can be brought on by those who would use it as a form of control, but it also explores the nature of questioning the concept of Christianity. Whilst escaping from the control of her father and his version of religion, she also questions the mortality of it all. The idea that everyone is born in sin and have to redeem themselves. I really liked to see all her thoughts and explorations while escaping from the strict rules of her father's household. 

It was really interesting to see the study of the medieval fixation on the afterlife, the fixation on the punishment and demons in hell rather than the bright happy reward of heaven. This really is a fantastic look at the history of Christianity both medieval and during Maud's time. 

A damn good mystery focused on how things went down and what actually happened.
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Wake's End, home of the Stearne family, sits in a remote part of the fens, cut off from the world by the water and reed beds; even in the '60s 'progress' in the shape of draining the fen has not reached here. The last of the family, Maud, lives there quietly, surrounded by her memories of an horrific crime, for which her father, Edmund, was imprisoned. For fifty years, the events at Wake's End have been forgotten but now some of Edmund Stearne's paintings have come to light - strange disturbing images he worked on while an inmate at Broadmoor - and the press have begun to snoop around, putting their own lurid interpretation on events, and wanting to know more. Maud at last is forced to talk about her long ago childhood, and the discovery of the Wakenhyrst Doom painting which sparked her father's monomania.

This is one of those books which start at the end - so you're always aware that something deeply disturbing happened many years ago - and then travels back to the lead up to that incident. Of course, this leads the reader to try to guess how all the pieces fit together, but there are unexpected twists there to surprise.


Although it has a lot of the trappings of a horror story, it's more the story of one man's descent into madness and obsession, helped on his way by his odd religious beliefs, fixation on the 'devil' painting uncovered at the local church, and guilt over on incident from his childhood.

Maybe it's not as terrifying as the publisher's blurb might lead you to believe but it's still a chills-up-the-spine read, filled with that sense of creeping horror that Paver did so well in Dark Matter  - this time with a gothic twist which no doubt helps the ominous atmosphere and build up of tension. Good creepy stuff!
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The novel begins with letters and reports alluding to what happened in the past at Wakenhyrst, just enough to whet your appetite and then the main narrative starts and we are taken back in time to find out what happened.

There's mention of old superstitions and the setting helps to build a good dark atmosphere. There's a tension in this book that I can't put my finger on, there is a darkness to begin with and moments of creepy atmosphere. At first I was riveted and enjoyed the style but after a while I started to get bored and couldn't figure out why at first.

I've read books with a similar idea to this and after enjoying Thin Air I was left disapointed with this novel. Thin Air was fast paced, a thriller, very well told. But I didn't enjoy this novel like that one. I got bored with the reading of Maud's father's research: a book about Alice Pycet. And also her father's diary. Both readings seemed neccesary to show her fathers research and his decline into madness, but her father's diary entries were not engrossing and were more like quick reports, of his day and his research. And the story of that Alice woman being possessed, dull!  These parts of the story felt like a lot of information but there was no action.

 I feel like I've already read books like this but better, with similar ideas. Most of the ideas in this were just superstition and you're left wondering if it is madness or something to do with devils, which isn't very original. 

I thought this could've been an interesting read but I only liked the beginning and certain parts of it. I couldn't stand Maud's father and his attitude to women and then I didn't really like the things she did either.

It's neither a quick thriller or  an involving literary fiction. The Synopsis says: "Wakenhyrst is a terrifying ghost story, an atmospheric slice of gothic," I found this sometimes chilling and atmopsheric. "a brilliant exploration of the boundaries between the real and the supernatural, and a descent into the mind of a psychopath. " It  did show the father's descent into madness and the boundaries between the real and the supernatural definitely, but it was the diary entries that ruined this for me.

I disliked the ideas, pacing and was unable to relate or care about the characters, which ended up in me not enjoying this book. I was just glad to finally finish it and it's sad that I have to write a negative review. But I can only be honest. I have a copy of Dark Matter by the same author to read but I'm not going to rush to read it just yet, I'm hoping it's going to be better than this.
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Michelle Paver surprises me with every book she writes. I have loved every single book and her horrors are just amazing. Wakenhyrst is so atmospheric and there's really something dark and mysterious about it. I must say I didn't see the twists at the end and some parts of the book had my heartbreaking. It's just wonderful and would be perfect for a rainy day read. Highly recommend.
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‘’The reeds stood tall and dead: I had the oddest feeling they wanted me gone. The light was failing. I caught a swampy smell of decay. Behind me something rustles and I saw the reeds part for some unseen creature. I thought: No wonder Maud’s mad.’’

Hold this beautiful book in your hands. Let your eyes feast on the haunting magpie and the blood-red stains. Concentrate on the images that will - no doubt- start flooding your mind. Εach and every thought that visits you becomes real once you start reading this novel. It is haunting and ruthless and its cover speaks more eloquently than any blurb. Wakenhyrst by Michelle Paver mighty be the best book of 2019. But be aware: it is not for the faint of heart but for the readers who embrace darkness…

‘’Those who make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.’’
                               Voltaire

Our story begins with a stranger. 1967. A young art historian visits the daughter of Edmund Stearne, a scholar and painter, who has left a strange body of work behind him. Maud takes us back in time, in 1913. Through letters, articles, pages of diaries and our heroine’s own thoughts, we find ourselves wandering in the fens, ‘’the forbidden realms of magical creatures’’, in the darkness. A darkness that suffocates the members of the Stearne household, so thick and muddy and twisted that no moonlight can light our way. Enigmatic and terrifying like the woman in a long, black dress that appears on Edmund’s paintings, secretive like Wakenhyrst and its residents. Suffocating like the sets of rules set by Edmund, a cruel and sadistic man. Or is he?

‘’I know what you did. It is only a picture. It won’t do me any harm...a high thin cry on the fen…’’

The sins of the past is a recurring motif in Gothic Fiction and here it is used to absolute perfection. The fullness of time has come and the house itself has become a character, the fens have paved the way for retribution. Maud becomes the hand, the one who wants to break free. Paver creates atmosphere in such a powerful way, creating a novel that would find its proper depiction as a Bosch masterpiece. Strange findings, dark omens. Traces of witchcraft, owls, moonlit nights that hide terrible secrets. Children are playing in the cemetery, knocking off the wings of angels. Will-o’-the-wisps and dark fairies. Ghosts. Foreboding thoughts that seem to call for Death. And Death is everywhere.

‘’One for the rook, one for the crow, one to rot and one to grow.’’

In Edmund’s mind, the Devil seems to have taken control over his life. Paver uses a perfect combination of literary and raw language to depict the havoc in the man’s life. Jesus said that there are those who think they are righteous because they say ‘’yes’’ to God. Edmund embodies the hypocrisy of the ones who pretend to be devoted when 	in fact they are worse than the very thing they fear. Art is also used as a symbol of knowledge and a constant reminder of the pagan past that Edmund hates. A depiction of the Doom brings disarray in the community and the discovery of a Green Man haunts Edmund. The hidden messages, the symbolisms, the soul of the artists form a menacing danse macabre and taunt him mercilessly. Paver uses the magpie as a symbol of obsession and temptation along with a multitude of the customs of the countryside that make the novel such a rich read.

The winter is bitter, frosty. Arctic winds are blowing. The haunting sound of the ice, breathing through another winter. In an atmosphere of mysticism, superstition and tradition, you will feel your heart pounding and breaking. You will experience the fear of looking at yourself in the mirror, the dread of looking out of the window in a stormy night. This reminded me of Sarah Perry’s masterpiece Melmoth. The house seems to have acquired a life and a will of its own, becoming a nest for troubled spirits and confused human. And in the centre of everything that takes place we find Maud.

‘’The woman at the heart of each one is a witch. The creatures swarming around her are her evil familiars. And the witch is Maud.’’

Maud is a woman who isn’t interested in saints but in the demons and monsters that have been defeated. Who will narrate their stories? She twists every prejudice against women and throws them back at those who deem themselves superior. She is an outstanding character. Resilient, firm, wise and realistically shady. She is not afraid to punish those who think they are entitled to diminish her and is ruthless enough to fight for what is right. Her views on religion reflect certain thoughts that have crossed my mind over the years. Maud is one of those characters that are so vivid you can even ‘’hear’’ their voice in your mind. You know how they speak, how they walk and behave, what they look like. She is the heart of this superb novel.

Read it, friends. That’s all I can tell you…

‘’It is God who made me order the Doom to be torn down, thereby setting the demon loose. And now it is God who commands me to go into battle.’’

Many thanks to Head of Zeus and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

My reviews can also be found on https://theopinionatedreaderblog.wordpress.com/
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Michelle Paver has crafted a gothic thriller that oozes a dark intensity which lends itself perfectly to the supernatural element ever present in this book. 

Our story opens with Maud who is now almost 70 being ‘encouraged’ to tell her story - her father killed one of his workers and spent the rest of his life in Broadmoor. This story has remained untold for over half a century and but for the urgent need of a new roof would remain untold for the rest of her days. But, as they say, needs must, so we are whisked back to Maud’s childhood years in Edwardian England. A time of superstition, belief, fear and hardship. Hardship borne from poverty but also from gender. Through Maud’s eyes and the words of Edmund Stearne’s notebooks we witness the demise of a family, we watch as Maud’s father is undone by his own personal demons and Maud fights to have her voice hear and save those she loves.

Paver’s prose bring to life both the period and the landscape - the novel, even though it feels like a ghost story / supernatural thriller, is steeped in fact (see Authors note) and that makes it even more unnerving.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, Paver has done an amazing job, I have knocked 1 star off because, in my mind it could have done with being shorter - it became unnecessarily repetitive, but that’s a small point, it still a highly recommended read.

Thanks to Netgalley for providing an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
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