Emily Murray has recently lost her job as an English professor at a prestigious college and she was welling in the depths of despair until she was given a once in a lifetime opportunity—she was hired to study and work on the writings of Margot Lewis, a superb modernist author. Emily has never believed in ghosts or haunted houses but after her first day in the house, she had to admit that something was amiss. The house kept changing in several ways because rooms would suddenly appear and then vanish, doors would slam shut and lock on their own and time would either slow down or speed up and throw everyone in the house into a state of panic.
There are four other scholars besides Emily but the beguiling art historian, Juniper Friend, leaves her tongue tied. They decided to research the Lewis family, the history of the house and find out who was the artist that had created all of the breathtaking masterpieces that adorned the walls at Gnarled Hollow.
Will Emily and the other scholars be able to uncover the long held secrets and the puzzling mysteries of Gnarled Hollow and the tormented spirits that dwell there or will their pursuit of knowledge cost them their lives?
Emily Murray is an unemployed English professor. She has studied American and European modernist authors and she was thrilled with the prospect of studying Margot Lewis’s writings and seeing her home, Gnarled Hollow. I’ve got to come clean and say that I wasn’t impressed at all with Emily’s passive personality in the beginning because she allowed people to treat her however they wanted and she would just accept it. Later on in the novel, my opinion of her changed for the better when she began to stand up for herself. There’s no way that I would be able to stay in a house with a ghost but Emily did and I think she’s a total badass!
Juniper “June” Friend is an art historian. She is beyond delighted to be the only person who is tasked with studying the various paintings at Gnarled Hollow. I just love Juniper’s affable and nurturing personality because she brought all the scholars together and they formed such a close bond due to her influence. Sigh… I envy Emily, I really do because if Juniper was a real, flesh and blood woman, I would turn up by Gnarled Hollow (ghosts be damned) with the biggest U-Haul ever and we would be riding off into the sunset.
The Writing Style
I must say that this author made me fall in love with the way she portrayed each of her quirky characters and she also brought Gnarled Hollow to life for me. It takes a lot to spook me but I’m not ashamed to admit that I held onto my kindle for dear life while I was shouting at the screen, begging Emily and Juniper to get as far away from that house as possible. I also admired the way Charlotte Greene cleverly portrayed the time slippages throughout this story because she made it seem very realistic without overloading me with too much information.
I’m always thrilled to lose myself in stories that have a supernatural twist and this one has given me that and so much more. What could be better than devouring a novel that has a maleficent presence that roams an elegant house and a couple of ambitious scholars who are staying at the house while they’re doing research on the writings of a world renowned author? I couldn’t think of anything that I would rather do besides binge read this enthralling story until the wee hours of the morning.
The fade to black sex scenes are not really a big deal for me but some readers may be disappointed by this because Emily and Juniper shared a sizzling attraction for each other from the moment they met.
If you’re like me and you enjoy stories with menacing spirits and curious scholars who are trying to solve a mystery that is over five decades’ old, then I believe this is certainly the story for you! Just make sure that you’ve got your favorite snacks and drinks nearby because you won’t want to put the book or the kindle down once you start reading.
Excerpt from Gnarled Hollow by Charlotte Greene
White and stately, it had none of the trappings of other horrible large houses of the era: no columns, no marble, no flying buttresses or unusual gables. It was, in fact, something like a large, English-style cottage. However, the enormous windows made it entirely different—huge, eye-like squares across the entire façade of the house, seemingly hundreds of them at first glance. The wide lawn in front contained no fountains or statues to disrupt the open, empty green, and the white road curved around it in a graceful arc. The house was, in a word, one of the most beautiful things Emily had ever seen.
Embarrassed now, and glad she was alone, she put her shaking hands back on the steering wheel and followed the road around the green on the right, parking directly in front of the main door. Ruth had told her about a converted carriage house somewhere that she and the others should use as a garage, but she decided to find it later. She was compelled, somehow, to look at the house now.
Emily got out of her car and walked across the large lawn, back to the road where she’d stopped upon seeing the house. She turned around to take it in again as a whole, holding her breath. She wanted, in part, to feel that same rush of happiness she’d experienced when she first saw it. The sensation was weaker now, but still there, and heat and gratitude rushed through her. This is mine, she thought. I live here now.
Movement caught her eye, high up in one of the windows on the right, and she sought out the spot. The trees were far away from the house, the whole yard and some surrounding areas on both sides leveled completely, but for a moment she was certain she’d seen merely the reflection of a branch or a cloud. She couldn’t make out anything through the sunlight’s glare, and she stepped to the side to avoid the direct path of the light.
A woman stood there in the window upstairs, staring down at her.
Emily’s heart leapt, and she froze, so surprised she had to bite her lip to keep from crying out. She put a hand to her chest and laughed a little before lifting it in a wave. The woman continued to stare at her without moving or responding. Emily let her hand drop down at her side, confused, and a moment later the woman turned and disappeared into the room behind her.
Puzzled by this behavior, and curious to see who she was, Emily walked back across the lawn and to the front door, rooting through her key ring for the one to the front door. On impulse, she turned the knob and found the door unlocked. She pushed the door wide and went inside.
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Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9781635552362
- Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
- Charlotte Greene Online
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