Thursday, July 7, 2011

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥: The House on Blackstone Moor by Carole Gill

Release Date: December 17th, 2010 (Paperback release May 2011)
Publisher: VampLit 
Page Count: 251
Source: Complimentary copy provided by author, via NURTURE Virtual BOOK Tourz™, in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you!), as part as the Carole Gill blog tour

This is a tale of vampirism, madness, obsession, and devil worship as Rose Baines, only survivor of her family’s carnage, tells her story.

Fragile and damaged by the tragedy, fate sends her to a desolate house on the haunted moors where demons dwell.

The house and the moors have hideous secrets, yet there is love too; deep, abiding, eternal, but it comes with a price: her soul.
What Stephanie Thought: Unpredictability and sweeping romance excite in this emotional and action-packed Gothic horror novel. A fair warning: it's not for the weak at heart, as it includes the blood and guts of spine-tingling vampirism.

I am charmed by illusion of it all; English Rose, whose entire family is brutally murdered by her father's hand, is sent to an asylum (for her own safekeeping, the doctors tell her), where she for the first time, encounters insanity at its finest. Here is where she begins to ponder upon the blurry line between dementia and evil, and later, unfortunately discovers what and how thin that line is.

Luckily, she is saved from having to live in the appalling lunatic ward, by the generosity of a doctor who offers her a job at an obscure club, owned by an eerily beautiful couple, the Dartons. What this club is for, and how it functions, Rose does not know. But she does know that the Dartons have two peculiarly smart, beautiful children—her job is to be their governess—and live in a house near the creepy and deserted dock that contains a black stone: Blackstone Moor. The stone is rumored to have attained its color from blood stains; the children explain that it is an ancient sacrificial stone. Rose does not believe them. How foolish she is.

Rose, nineteen and fresh-faced, is lovable and rather smart for her degree of innocence. Her whole life before her father's madness had been pure and plain, or at least we are led to believe. Her observant eye allows her to follow along quickly to the dangers and frights that approach her, but that doesn't mean she copes with them well. Hysteria blooms from an unforeseen part of her, in reaction to the unimaginably gruesome secrets that are revealed at the Blackstone House. Soon, this hysteria is diagnosed as none other, than the paranormal absurdity she's experienced with the Dartons all along.

Usually, I find sub-plotted love stories within horror or crime novels (white virgin falls in love with handsome brooding hero) annoying, but Gill concocts such an unconventional, yet surprisingly enchanting, attraction between Rose and an unavailable party, that I can't help but swoon over their relationship. 

Rose's story is an adversity of sorts, because in the end, her fall of innocence leads to her emotional death. She does however, get an eternal happy ending, at least alongside her lover, which sparks the smallest of hope within me. That, and the fact that she speaks in the past tense throughout the story, gives me a sense of security, knowing Rose will end up okay. It means Rose has a story to tell. It means she survived to let her story be told.

Stephanie Loves: "'Yes, dread and fear are different. Dread is beyond fear, I think. Dread knows fear was correct in the first place. Dread just intends to sit and wait for the worst to happen, which will happen, because dread, if nothing else, is sure of itself.'" A beautiful anaphora and personification!

Radical Rating: 8 hearts: An engaging read; highly recommended. ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥