a compelling journey in gothic suspense
by London Clarke
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 30 Nov 2021 | Archive Date 07 Feb 2022
A lush gothic from bestselling author London Clarke, Dunmoor is a tale of generational curses that threaten to destroy the most innocent and vulnerable.
England, 1818. Lady Helena Winters hasn’t seen her husband in over a year—not since he disappeared without a trace. Torn between seeking a new purpose for her life and longing for her husband to return, Helena travels with her father to Dunmoor House for a fundraising ball. Although the estate was once her husband’s ancestral home, it has recently been purchased by Luke Lennox, a gentleman planning to establish a foundling hospital.
Helena quickly finds herself battling memories of life with her husband and searching for answers to what might have happened to him. Even so, she is drawn to Luke Lennox and his dream of saving and educating children—a passion she shares.
Within Dunmoor’s decaying walls lies a long and sordid history, a legacy of evildoers perpetrating unspeakable acts of wickedness. Now, the corridors echo with voices. Vines grow inside the house, and shadowy figures plague the children at night.
But in the dark forest on the edge of the property, a terrible secret awaits, and what Luke and Helena uncover there will endanger both their lives.
Average rating from 22 members
Lady Helena's husband has been missing for over a year and has left her with unanswered questions and fodder for gossip and scandal among English polite society. So when Helena's father suggest that they travel to Dunmoor House for a fundraising ball in an effort to help her escape her troubles, she quickly packs her bags. Here she meets the new owner of Dunmoor House, Luke Lennox. Luke has purchased Dunmoor house to establish an orphanage.
But Dunmoor isn't just your typical English manor house. It's riddled with a macabre history and a supposed curse. When things start going bump into the night and endangering the children, guests, and residents of Dunmoor House it's up to Luke and Helena to unsolve Dunmoor's mysteries before it's too late.
This was a gripping and eerie scary story that definitely gave me the chills and kept me up reading into the wee hours. The author does a beautiful job of creating an atmosphere that had me sitting on the edge of my seat, paranoid of every little noise and shadow that would appear in my room. The author painted such a vivid and creepy setting that I could feel it sucking me into it's nightmare. This is a definite must read if you love a good ghost story.
Many thank yous to St. Martin's press and NetGalley for advanced copy of this title for review
First I would like to thank netgalley and this author for giving me her advanced arc book to read before it went for sale on November 30. This book is called Dunmoor and it was an excellent read.
If you like historical thriller mystery with a hint of romance books this is for you.
In 1818 Lady Helena winters has not seen her husband in over a year not since he disappeared without a trace.. torn between finding a new purpose in her life to waiting for him to return she travels to the estate of Dunmoor with her father for a fundraising hall. Although the estate was once her husbands ancestoral home is has recently been purchased by a gentleman named Luke Lennox who is trying to make a hospital.
As her father stays at the estate he begins to become very gravely Ill with pneumonia. They call in a doctor and the doctor says he’s very very sick, her father starts to tell her that he sees children in the home and tree monster figures in the middle of the room at night. The dr tells her that her father is just seeing things it’s part of the illness and has to take medication. There is something wicked in Dunmoor house..
Helena begins to see the same thing questioning if her father is telling the truth, as time passes she finds ledgers from her husband who disappeared things he wrote in a diary about his sister like having An affair with her and then seeing an abomination in the house there is something wicked in the house.
Helena is with a heavy heart feeling a loss of her husband that she never knew him really she felt hurt and wandered the evils that run in the house.
As time passes she sees tree figure monsters, children as you find out more in the story basically towards the ending in the story there was men in black robes that go on a hunt they find children in town and they keep them in the house they poison torture them turn them into slaves and do strange rituals, then they send them to the forbidden woods and hunt them like rabbits. They also feed the things in the forest the giant tree creatures— they do it for years and years, they made a pact with the devil to live forever in order to turn the victims into trees.
Towards the end she goes with Luke Lennox to burn down the estate. And He proposes to her and she is in love with him as well, Then at the end of the book you find out that her other husband is very much alive by the letter and there will be a sequel which I cannot wait to read!
Last night, I sat up reading this book, doing the “just one more chapter” thing until it was well past midnight. I’m a huge fan of gothic horror/suspense/ghost stories and this one was right up my alley.
I was drawn quickly into this book, into every character and their lives. I love Helena’s strength, charisma, intelligence and compassion. I totally fell for Luke and his wanting to save the world attitude. His friend, Alex, provided comic relief as well as that reckless hero figure. The backstory was wonderful, filled with curses and folklore. I love when folklore is written in such a way that it gives life to inanimate objects. The trees were totally terrifying!
The settings were very well written. I love when a scene in a story’s setting is cold, damn and chilly and I find myself reaching for a cup of tea and a blanket. It’s the perfect marriage between setting and suspense that leaves me wondering if the chill running down my spine is from terror or from the cold.
Here’s what I didn’t like. I understood the folklore to be very dark, very tragic, and very sinister. However, some the human suffering factors, especially where the children were concerned, were a bit much. It’s not a hidden fact that orphans in the 1800’s were treated horribly but I guess it felt a little too triggering and I come from a safe and secure childhood.
That being said, I understand the author is also trying to bring attention to the very real modern day problem of sex trafficking.. Kudos to her for doing that so well with this story.
And that ending!! Woah! I’m already there for the next book and new adventures with Helena and Luke.
I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley and this is my freely given review.
I definitely feel that lush is a great way of describing this gothic suspense novel.
Lady Helena Winters is the female protagonist. She is 24 years old, and living with her father in Kent, after a scandalous separation from her husband. Lord Winters, after a couple of years of marriage, evicted his wife from their home, and is engaged in a love affair with a teenaged actress. He is missing, and presumed to have taken off to the Continent. Helena is broken-hearted, and appears at a loss for what to do with her life, being still married to him.
Mr. Luke Lennox had recently purchased the rundown house and estate of Dunmoor, from Lord Winters, with the intention of turning it into a foundling hospital. Dunmoor was Winter's childhood home. Lennox has high ideals of taking in young male and female foundlings and giving them a better life and future through education and a stable home. Some of the locals are not happy with his purchase and plans for it, especially relatives of the Winters family, as Dunmoor has been a part of their family for hundreds of years. Lennox is made aware that there is also a CURSE upon Dunmoor as well. From the beginning, Lennox, his cousin, his staff, the children are aware of strange happenings, and the children are afraid of the ghosts. Lennox himself has seen some suspicious things, including strange figures in robes wandering about. But not enough to give up on his endeavour. Part of his plans also include a ball to help raise funds to continue the renovations and fund the hospital.
The father of Lady Winters is a business associate of Lennox, and he and his daughter travel to the region, to stay with friends, and attend the ball. Lady Winters was curious about Dunmoor, not having been there, and is encouraged by her father to get out more, rather than hide at home after her husband's abandonment.
Because of some unexpected events, she and her father are forced to stay for a prolonged period at Dunmoor itself, and Lady Winters stays in the region for months, and becomes more involved in the hospital. She, and the others around Dunmoor continue to experience various nefarious events and sitings, and evidence of the curse and Dunmoor's evil history, until things are forced to come to a head. She also learns more about her husband's past and his childhood at Dunmoor.
It was a bit over the top in terms the plot and storyline as there are so many different layers and elements. But it was so grandly descriptive and compelling that I was drawn in and completely enjoyed the entire story. London Clarke had a wonderful way of setting the atmosphere - maybe some may find it florid, and a bit heavy handed at times, but she did a great job setting a suspenseful, gothic atmosphere. Spine tingling - it did not help that I spent a lot of time reading this in the dark, during a miserable wet windstorm, with lots of blowing branches against the house.
Here is and example:
"A cold and forceful wind blew at their backs and didn’t let up until they’d entered the house. A flock of dead leaves followed them, tumbling inside the foyer as Luke trampled them underfoot.
He was overwhelmed with the oppressive, breathless gloom that greeted him. A cloak of stale air. But it was so present, as though someone lay a cold, wet death shroud over his nose and mouth."
If Guillermo del Toro got his hands on this, well, imagine the graphic imagery coupled with his creative imagination, attention to detail, and vision. This brought to my mind his gothic movie Crimson Peak (2015, starring Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain). Dunmoor, the house and history, was just as much a character in the story as Lady Winters, and Mr. Lennox. The descriptions of the encroaching forest and vines sound like they would have been perfect for his creative/artistic imagery.
I absolutely enjoyed reading this and give it a 4.5 out of 5 stars. The only issue I have is the ending... in that it truly is not an ending; it is a "to be continued" and there is not happily ever after... but definitely there is a book 2...
In the meantime, I am off to re-watch Crimson Peak, since I have the urge to immerse myself in some more gothic spookiness. The movie, btw, was largely filmed in the Toronto Pinewood studios, and in locations in and around Toronto, and Southern Ontario - my stomping grounds :)
I cannot recall when I first became enamored with gothic literature and films and whatnot. I was probably quite young and I have a strong suspicion that on the film end, at least, WPIX had a lot to do with it thanks to weekend airings of Rebecca and The Ghost and Mrs Muir and such. My mother and grandmother, of course, each had shelves upon shelves of books and I was given free reign to just grab at random. When most of my friends were oohing and aahing over things like The Babysitters Club, I was losing myself in the pages of Agatha Christie and Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne.
I was having a severe book slump this weekend. I went through multiple chapters of multiple books and absolutely nothing was clicking for me. I decided it would probably be best if I just went with something more reliable .... and gothic. My first thought, of course, was to grab my next Hester Fox. Unfortunately, I remembered that I was being forced into going to a mandatory holiday social thing at work and carrying around a paperback was probably going to be frowned upon. However, I could carry my phone as everyone else probably would be ... so I went snooping around Netgalley's Read it Now to see if anything would possibly satisfy the urge.
Then I saw Dunmoor.
Oooooh that cover.
It clicked and I clicked the button before I even read the description. In fact, it wasn't until I started putting this post together that I bothered with silly nonsense like finding out what it's supposed to be about. That cover was enough to get me. It gets even better when the cover gets swiped to the left and the story begins. I still have a bit to go until I'm finished, but as of yet it's eerie and dark and spooky and mysterious with just enough romance to be able to say that it's there.
It was okaaaaaaay.
Interesting enough plot.
I didn’t want to DNF it but I also wasn’t captivated.
Thanks to #netgalley and the author for this ARC and the opportunity to review.
Lady Helena Winters is besides herself as she has not seen her husband for a year. She doesn’t know if he is dead or alive. Not knowing what she should do, she decides to with her father to a fundraising ball to Dunmore House. It was her husband’s home but has been sold to a gentleman Luke Lennox who wishes to make the house into a foundling hospital. Lady Helena finds that to be a passion as when she discovers that he wants to educate them and have them get opportunities to become an apprentice to a trade. Unfortunately there are evildoers that have other plans. The Dunmoor House is supposedly cursed.
It’s spooky and scary at times. Besides the curse, there are ghosts plus evildoers galore. There are tunnels under the house. This adds to the gothic horror story that has a touch of romance in it. It was the mystery of the Dunmoor curse that kept me engaged. There is also a subject touched — the child trafficking that occurred in that time. The author gives a reference you may look at to find out more about child trafficking. The ending of the novel leaves me wanting the next book to be published as soon as possible!
What begins as a noble endeavour to open a home for orphans, turns into a tale of horror. This is a tale where Jane Austen-like ladies and gentlemen meet ghosts, and then some. But as the story unfolds, greater horrors come to light. A husband is missing, presumably galavanting with another woman. Or, perhaps he is not.
My first gothic romance and it was a good one. Very spooky atmospheric and full of suspense
I received this book from netgallery in exchange for an honest review as given above.
Dunmoor is a beautiful, lush and absolutely gripping novel. Clarke perfectly conjures an evocative Gothic setting in Dunmoor House, and populates her story with nuanced, complex, and eminently likeable characters, from the willful and whipsmart Lady Helena to the thoughtful and earnest gentleman Luke Lennox and his rakish companion Alex. Its supernatural elements are effectively haunting, and several images stayed with me long after I read them. I'd recommend this enthusiastically to fans of Mexican Gothic and Crimson Peak.
Thank you Net Galley and the publisher for a free ARC in exchange for a honest review! This book follows two POVs throughout the whole book which I really enjoyed. We got both Luke and Helenas perspective on the events that were occurring. Helena journeys to Luke's recently purchased orphanage to attend a Ball with her father and her best friend. Soon after the ball Helena's father gets sick which causes her to have to stay a little longer at the orphanage in Dunmoor. It just so happens that Helena's missing husband grew up in Dunmoor and has talked to Helena about the horrors that reside in Dunmoor.
Luke wishes to do good in peoples lives by opening up this orphanage however he soon realizes he is in over his head and that the living haunt Dunmoor just as much as the dead do. This book was captivating from the first page up until the last.
The only thing I struggled with a little bit in this book was the pacing of events it was confusing to keep track of the passing of time. But that didn't stop me from enjoying this book!
Sun moor is one of those books that I think will haunt me for a while, literally. This creepy tale has the vibes of Crimson Peak and Rebecca, featuring all the hallmarks of the best gothic horror stories. The story revolves around Helena Winters as she decides to help a young man running an orphanage in the home of her missing husband. Following this she learns of mysterious deaths and creatures that haunt the halls, only something she and Mr. Lennox, might be able to solve.