Thursday, 8 February 2018

Coal House - W.S. Barton


When property developer Finn Harper impulsively decides to make an investment with his wife whilst away together in North Wales for their anniversary, it seems an opportunity almost too good to be true. But as the disturbing truth of the home's abandonment unravels itself, Finn finds himself alone, and a martyr of the local community. He must confront some personal demons, forcing him to consider what, or even who, is real.


What did I think?

I won an e-book of Coal House in a competition quite some time ago and it took far too long for Coal House to jump to the top of my TBR.  It's a quick read at only 200 pages, but it's definitely a book to be savoured rather than raced through.  The cover gives us an idea of what to expect: a spooky old house with dark clouds hanging over it and the fractured letters of 'HOUSE' depicting the shifting reality that the main character experiences.

Finn and Clara are on a romantic getaway in Wales when they buy a ridiculously low priced house in an auction.  They don't even seem alarmed that there we no other bidders for Coal House, known locally as Tŷ Glo in Dyffryn Du, The Black Valley.  Clara returns to London so Finn prepares for his first night in their new home...alone.  I felt as if the house was expecting him as he settles into a ready made bed, only to be woken during the night by a blood-curdling scream.  This is the point I would have been running for the hills but Finn is determined to find out more about his house and the people who lived, and died, there.

I was unsure of the period Coal House was set in, it's possibly the 1950's, but it's a story that doesn't need to be stamped with a date (only to perhaps explain the very low price of Tŷ Glo)W.S. Barton's writing is of such a high standard that it reminded me of the dark brooding text of Daphne du Maurier, giving Coal House a classic literary feel with a sense of impending doom creating enough suspense to keep the pages turning.

Spooky and creepy, I'll definitely be reading Coal House again; preferably on a cold winter's night as the bare branches of the trees scratch against my window and with only the light from my kindle piercing the darkness, if I dare...  

My rating:




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