Tag Archives: London

‘Hawthorne Cottage’ by R.L. McCallum

Hawthorne Cottage

I shall broach unto thee a dark farewell

If not ye heed this ghastly knell –

Henceforth beware where time is keeping

The dead abroad who are not sleeping…

Summary

Thus begins R.L. McCallum’s Victorian gothic tale of Professor Alexander Greystone, a writer from London who moves to a haunted cottage in Hampshire, England for a more peaceful, simple life. Little does he suspect the terror that awaits there in the form of the seven Hawthorne sisters, former tenants of the cottage who haunt the house and whose contact with the living is rife with terror and violence. The novel follows Greystone’s investigations into the root of paranormal activities at Hawthorne Cottage, bringing the reader through a gamut of close calls, near-death and (full-death!) experiences, a haunted painting, and ignorant curious bystanders until it comes to its conclusion and the reader finds out whodunit.

The plot was imaginative and enjoyable, the perfect story for a rainy day, and I finished this book in less than a week, which is always a good thing. It holds the attention of the reader in most places, but I did find it to drag too slowly in several instances. The author claimed to have purposely used Victorian vernacular in writing this piece, but I found a few anachronisms, and  at times the character voices were not very distinguishable from one another, especially those of Professor Greystone and Constable Kingsley. Other than that, however, the description was excellent and the dialogue between Greystone and Woodruff was especially good.

Plot

I enjoyed the classic elements of the gothic novel, the rain, the ruined cottage, the hauntings, a few deaths. I was slightly disappointed that the nature of Mrs. Parmby’s relationship to the Hawthorne sisters was not further explored, and I felt Miss Farnsworth was not prominent enough a character to be included as she is in the synopsis of the book. I also wondered why, if Anastasia Hawthorne were pregnant when she died, was there no baby among the hauntings at Hawthorne Cottage? The conclusion had promise, and then fell short. The mystery of the killer of the Hawthorne sisters was solved, but Abigail Hawthorne had not been helped to the other side, nor did Greystone discover where she had been laid to rest. The reader, however, is told in what feels like an aside, of how Abigail is brought to peace and where her body had been hidden all along. It felt untrue to Alexander’s character that he would muscle through so many near-death escapes at Hawthorne Cottage to get to the bottom of the mystery, all for the sake of writing his book, which is a very strong motive, and then not give himself the satisfaction of tying up the loose ends for himself and his readers, especially when the other spirits were no longer causing trouble in the house to distract him. I also felt that the death of Cora McKenna was unnecessary, unless the trend of women dying in whom Alexander is interested is to continue in further Professor Greystone novels, as was hinted at in several places throughout the book.

‘The Gothic’ – Check out this link for an explanation of the genre of gothic literature

Grammar & Punctuation

I found there to be several small grammar and punctuation errors, but nothing that hindered the actual progression of the book, and all in all I quite enjoyed this spooky story.

Star Rating

For an excellent ghost story (but because of a few too many hitches) I give this book a resounding 3.5 stars out of 5 and recommend it as a satisfying read for a rainy day or a weekend at the cabin.

Further Reading

R.L. McCallum has a great voice and other works by him can be found on Amazon or at his website.

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‘Resurrection: Amazing Grace’ by Elizabeth Davies (February 21st, 2015)

Re-posted from LiveJournal:

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This is the second book in Elizabeth Davies’ Resurrection trilogy, and while still more interesting and well-written than most eBooks I have been unfortunate enough to read, I did not find it up to par with the first book in the trilogy, State of Grace. I truly enjoy the characters and the exploration of Brecon, Wales throughout various periods of history in this trilogy, but it is severely off-putting that the heroine, Grace Llewellyn, is constantly getting severely battered around (and not even seeking medical help!) without ever being able to properly fend for herself. I mean, she’s a pilot, right? Don’t you have to be really level-headed and focused to fly an aircraft? She’s really resourceful and sturdy, but would someone with the analytic skills required of a pilot really not look both ways when crossing an unknown street? I mean, yes, she’s been transported in this instance to 1873, but this basic safety principle has been ingrained in modern-day people since childhood, and would especially be put into effect by a person like Grace whose career involves piloting an aircraft. I mean sure, there are coordinates she must follow when flying, but she would also have to scan the sky at some point or other – she would be used to checking. There is no excuse for her to get run down by a horse because she didn’t look before she stepped out of an alleyway. And what was with refusing to go to a hospital when she returned from the 1700s??? Her collarbone was freaking BROKEN. I understand that she doesn’t want people to keep her in hospital because of her tumour, or to ask too many questions. But I mean, her consultant, Mr. Cunningham, is okay that she’s not in hospital, so if anyone had a problem with her leaving, she could refer them to him. She could explain her broken collarbone and bruising to thugs. They could be masked. The whole scene where Ianto smuggles her to London was basically just so Jeremiah could wipe her memory there. It was completely unnecessary. There could have been a better way to make that happen. However, I really do enjoy the time-travelling vampire romance idea, and I truly look forward to seeing if Grace will become a vampire or not, and if she and Roman will meet in their future.  Also, it bothers me to no end that this book series is advertised as a trilogy, when in reality it is more like three volumes of the same book.
3 stars out of 5.