House of Echoes, by Barbara Erskine

>> Monday, September 22, 2003

I felt like reading a good, meaty paranormal, so I went with Barbara Erskine, and her House of Echoes.

Faced with financial ruin, Jocelyn and Luke Grant at first view the surprise inheritance of an Essex manor house from Joss' birth mother as a godsend. But who really sent the centuries-old house where boyish voices echo, drifts of icy rose petals appear and then vanish, and a chilling shadow threatens the safety of Luke and his toddler son?

When Joss' second child is born, also a boy, it becomes apparent that only the males in the Grant household are threatened, and suspicion falls on Joss. To clear her name and save her family, she must confront and defeat a powerful, ancient presence.
I enjoyed this very much, a B.

This author was recommended to me as similar to Barbara Michaels. The first one I read, Midnight is a Lonely Place, was nothing like them, being more horror (and bloody-ish horror, at that!) than gothic paranormal, but this one was more like it. I love "haunted house" books!

House of Echoes was one of those books you simply can't breeze through. I was incapable of reading more than 30 or 40 pages in a row, so I read it very slowly, all the while reading other things. It wasn't that it was bad or boring, I just felt I'd probably enjoy it more like this.

Although... like Midnight is a Lonely Place, this book suffered from the sagging-middle syndrome. The middle third of the book was pretty slow, and the instances of haunting were much too reiterative. The editor should have tightened this, because it became a bit tedious after a while. It did work to create an atmosphere, but I got somewhat bogged down.

The book did pick up a lot near the end, and the conclusion was very exciting and highly original. I'm not sure how I feel about a certain well-known historical figure being used as one of the ghosts, but it was interesting.

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