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Wylding Hall by Elizabeth Hand
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Wylding Hall (2015)

by Elizabeth Hand

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1901693,340 (3.97)16
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The members of a British folk band are spending the summer at Wylding Hall, composing music for the next album. But there is something mysterious with the manor and the group's lead singer, Julian Blake disappears within the manor and is never seen again.

Many years later the surviving musicians and people that knew them when they were at Wylding Hall will tell their story to a documentary filmmaker. Will Julian Blake's fate finally be revealed?


I found this book to be intriguing and the story was really peculiar. It took some time for me to get used to the form of the story, with everyone taking the turn telling what happened, from the beginning of the summer towards the end. But then again I never read the blurb before I started to read the book yesterday. I prefer to know as little as possible when it comes to stories. Especially stories like this one.

But when I got the hang on people and rhythm of the story, then I really started to enjoy the tale. This is just the kind of story I like, a haunted mansion, people seeing ghosts and very strange events. Something that left me a bit frustrated was that I really wanted to hear the band's music. I was really keen to listen to the music because it “sounded” so wonderful. I wish they would make a movie of this book so that they can make real songs of the fictitious songs in this book.

I liked this book very much and I will without a doubt read more from Elizabeth Hand!

I received this copy from the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest review! Thank you! ( )
  MaraBlaise | May 19, 2019 |
I do love a unique take on haunted house tropes! This one is less suspense/horror and more of a clever, eerie Behind the Music documentary pastiche - the chapters are made up of faux interview segments between members of an alt folk band and those in their orbit, digging into the strange and surreal origins of their final album (and the disappearance of their band mate). ( )
  KLmesoftly | Nov 18, 2018 |
Windhollow Faire is a trad folk group in Britain in the early 1970s. They've put out one album which was a modest success. Arianna, their female singer, wasn't quite what they needed, and they got a new one, Lesley, an America.

And Arianna kiled herself, jumping out the window of Julian, the male lead singer and the band's primary songwriter.

So things are a little stressed and strained, not to mention the scandal, and their manager, Tom Haring. rents a decaying manor in Hampshire, Wylding Hall, to get them out of London for the summer and let them concentrate on creating the music for their next album.

Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Years later, in a series of interviews, the five band members, Tom Haring, and friends and acquaintances each in turn tell parts of the story. As it unfolds. we gradually come to understand that something went terribly wrong, in ways no one really understood.

I loved the language and the imagery, and found myself completely drawn in. Recommended.

Disclaimer: I may have bought this one. Or I may have received it for free and now don't recall. Apologies for the vagueness; I do try to keep track of these things, but sometimes fail. ( )
  LisCarey | Sep 19, 2018 |
What happened to Julian Blake? That’s the question being asked in a documentary being made about fictional band Windhollow Faire. The remaining members, along with their producer and other associates, are interviewed about the summer they spent at Wylding Hall and the album that came out of it.

The format of the story was really interesting, with the point of view changing as each character told their part of the story. Each character revealed information that filled in gaps from the others’ narration and it felt very much like an actual documentary. Everyone had their own unique voice, even Julian, who the reader only gets to know through the other characters.

I enjoyed the paranormal elements of the story and the tension rising as the characters’ thoughts shifted from “this is a weird, old house” to “okay there is probably some supernatural stuff going down here.” And there was some spooky imagery that I really loved that made me wish I was reading this closer to Halloween to appreciate it even more.

I wish more had been resolved by the ending, but I wasn’t particularly dissatisfied with it. It felt right for the book and it makes sense considering the whole premise of the story. ( )
  PugPhD | Apr 27, 2018 |
First off, let me say I’ve always been a huge fan of English folk-rock, so this book about a group of English folkies at a haunted house held a charm for me from the get –go: which character is the fake Richard Thompson, which one is Nick Drake, which one is Sandy Denny, etc. One of the characters is something of a mystic, one is a scholar of British folklore – right up my alley. Aside from that, though, it’s just an exceptionally well told story.

Following the tragic death of one of the band members, the group’s manager sends them to a nice country house to rebound and to make music. Of course, it’s a creepy, eerie, scary house, with a creepy, eerie scary ghost in it. Everything goes south when the lead guitarist disappears, apparently after an assignation with a mysterious girl (see above, re: ghost).

The climax of the tale gave me literal chills, a rarity in my cynical and hard-to-scare old age. The ending give just enough resolution, but not too much, so there are questions left to haunt the reader after the last page. ( )
1 vote CasualFriday | Jun 21, 2017 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Elizabeth Handprimary authorall editionscalculated
Heacox, Neil AlexanderCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Ellen Datlow, with love and gratitude for 27 years of friendship, acute editorial insight, and doll heads
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Tom Haring, Manager/Producer
I was the one who found the house.
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Book description
When the young members of a British acid-folk band are compelled by their manager to record their unique music, they hole up at Wylding Hall, an ancient country house with dark secrets. There they create the album that will make their reputation, but at a terrifying cost: Julian Blake, the group’s lead singer, disappears within the mansion and is never seen or heard from again.

Now, years later, the surviving musicians, along with their friends and lovers—including a psychic, a photographer, and the band’s manager—meet with a young documentary filmmaker to tell their own versions of what happened that summer. But whose story is true? And what really happened to Julian Blake?
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From the award-winning author of Waking the Moon, a short novel of unexpected terror When the young members of a British acid-folk band are compelled by their manager to record their unique music, they hole up at Wylding Hall, an ancient country house with dark secrets. There they create the album that will make their reputation, but at a terrifying cost: Julian Blake, the group's lead singer, disappears within the mansion and is never seen or heard from again. Now, years later, the surviving musicians, along with their friends and lovers-including a psychic, a photographer, and the band's manager-meet with a young documentary filmmaker to tell their own versions of what happened that summer. But whose story is true? And what really happened to Julian Blake?… (more)

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