Read from March 13 to 24, 2014 — I own a copy, read count: 1
Synopsis: A jumble of entries, written in different hands, different languages, and different times. They tell of a rumour. A shadow. A killer.
The only interest that Oxford Professor Charles Meredith has in the diaries is as a record of Hungarian folklore … until he comes face to face with a myth.
For Hannah Wilde, the diaries are a survival guide that taught her the three rules she lives by: verify everyone, trust no one, and if in any doubt, run.
But Hannah knows that if her daughter is ever going to be safe, she will have to stop running and face the terror that has hunted her family for five generations.
And nothing in the diaries can prepare her for that.
Bookish things: 432 pages. The cover has been redesigned but I quite like the gritty looking one I have at the top of this post. The new one I think looks a little more juvenile.
Where to buy: Amazon on kindle for a whopping $15.67 or in paperback for $14.17. The prices have been set by the publisher, not the author.
Considering this book is written in a way that spans over 100 years, covers written history from a number of different people and flits around between the 1800s and now quite quickly, you’d be forgiven for thinking it could be difficult to get into.
It was, thankfully, quite easy to get drawn into and seriously easy to follow. The cross over between the different time periods is not immediately known to the reader, but within a few pages I began to draw conclusions that were almost always the right ones. I found this use of covering large chunks of time quite effective overall and it really gave the story something unique – multiple protagonists.
The antagonist, what to say about that? Well it was ingenious. I loved the use of pacing in the writing to make something seemingly innocent appear to be dangerous, it really allowed for me to become wrapped up in the whole tale.
I really enjoyed the way Hungarian folklore was weaved into the story, it was left, like breadcrumbs to be followed and gradually uncovered by the array of protagonists throughout the 100+ year timeline.
With the rich folklore and history came a well written, beautifully constructed story, some of the phrases and scenes painted (and painted they were!) were so richly detailed that I felt like I was there with the characters, not just reading about them from the comfort of my lounge.
Beautiful, crisp, tense writing in scenes where it mattered:
A king-size bed. Plenty of room underneath it. A wardrobe in the corner, old and echoey. Floor-length curtains. So many places to hide. But none of them matter. None of them. Because one of the balcony doors is standing open, and a breeze that smells of lavender and late autumn sun and a terrible finality of endings is pouring through the gap, and now she can no longer deny what has happened, can no longer hope…
Yet beautifully descriptive prose when the need arose too:
As they crossed the bridge, Lukacs studied the vast edifice of Buda Palace on the opposite bank. the building overwhelmed the hill on which it stood, its tall walls of stone, washed golden in the setting sun, rising up proud of the surrounding trees. Verdigris roofs, turrets and domes blazed with color.
A thoroughly enjoyable read one for the thriller and horror fans but also mild enough to cater to those fans of the paranormal and historical genres too.
**Note: I obtained an electronic ARC copy of this book through Net Galley in return for an honest review**
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