Title: Hare House
Writer: Sally Hinchcliffe
Publishing House: Mantle
Date of Publication: January 6th 2022
Rating: 5 stars
‘’We walked through a landscape bleached with frost, the earth standing hard and frozen. Ice crept everywhere. Even the streams had begun to freeze, ice fingering out from their edges, tombing them over. Yet the cold left me feeling alive, as if we were indeed the only things out there that were still living, the only things moving in the whole landscape.’’
Sally Hinchcliffe has created a mystery that doesn’t need ghouls and spirits and damsels in distress to become engaging. Instead, the story focuses on the most terrifying of monsters. The human soul and the sins of a murky past. We don’t need spirits in closets or boogeymen hiding under our beds. Family, a doomed love affair and the pressure from local communities (not to mention experiencing an absurd war) become the worst demons haunting your steps. Questionable decisions, repercussions (justifiable or not…) and isolation create the most terrifying shadows.
Having someone watching your every move behind dark windows makes it difficult for us to think straight. What could be more terrifying?
The writing is beyond beautiful. I could copy dozens of paragraphs dedicated to the beauty and mystery of autumnal nature, the mysticism of the Scottish moors and the enticing, yet unmistakable, threat of the approaching winter. With references to witches and the history of witchcraft (without becoming a gimmick) and an unreliable narrator that I adored, this is a novel that doesn’t insult our intelligence.
If you’re looking for naive governesses besotted with their darkly mysterious employer or fashionable madwomen in the attic, then look elsewhere. If you desire a novel that will actually make you think while inviting you for a hike within the heart of a golden autumnal forest, then Hare House is the perfect companion for the dark evenings of the year.
‘’If I hadn’t laughed before, I might have then, except that we had reached the churchyard gates and were standing staring at them. The wind here was wild and gusting, the tops of the trees tossing violently, and for the first time it struck me that walking through forests in a gale wasn’t that sensible an idea. But it wasn’t that which had brought me to a halt, brought both of us to a halt. On the gateposts ahead of us, fresh paint stood stark red against the rain-blackened stone. It was crudely done, the letters crammed in towards the end, the paint running, but it was still clear. Exod 22:18.’’
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