Thursday, August 2, 2012

Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling

Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling by Michael Boccacino
review copy provided by William Morrow/Harper Collins
Description from Goodreads:

Debut novelist Michael Boccacino invites readers into the world beyond the realm of the living in Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling, a Victorian gothic tale of the strange and supernatural. But all who enter this house must beware--for there is a price to pay for visitors who wish to save those they love. The story of a British governess and her young charges seduced by the otherworldly enticements of a mysterious mansion in the forest following the inexplicable death of the former nanny, this Tim Burton-like tale of dark fantasy is a bewitching treat for fans of horror and paranormal fiction, as well as readers who love creepy gothic tales and mysterious shadowy English manor houses. Not since Suzanna Clarke introduced Jonathan Strange to Mr. Norrell, and Neil Gaiman's Coraline crawled through a secret door into a twisted and sinister mirror world, has there been a journey as wondrously fantastic and terrifying as Charlotte Markham's adventures in the House of Darkling.

My take:
Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling was just as deliciously creepy and wonderfully Gothic as the cover description and blurbs state. I enjoyed every dark, creepy, haunting minute of reading this book.This was such an interesting book. I found it to be very Victorian Gothic but not really a horror story, although there is much that is disturbing and kind of startling in this laced-up Victorian village.

I can't really even begin to try to explain the story -- it would give too much away and might ruin the discovery for the potential reader. There is a very otherworldly feel to the book that just pulled me into the story - much like Coraline or any movie by Tim Burton. The basic premise is that Charlotte Markham has lost her husband and has taken the position of governess for the young sons of the widower, Mr. Darrow. When their nanny dies under mysterious and violent circumstances, she takes on that role as well - and then during the process of helping the boys deal with this new loss, finds herself in a very strange situation between the real world and another, shadow world that is somehow influencing the real one in some very negative ways. Any more explanation would just ruin things.

Suffice it to say, if you enjoy dark, Gothic tales of  the Victorian variety, this would be a great choice. I really loved this book -- despite - or because of some of the very creepy, disturbing events and ideas in it. This would make a great read for October - to set the mood for the month.

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