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Abigale Hall by Lauren A. Forry
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Abigale Hall

by Lauren A. Forry

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Abigale Hall is a book that didn't sell itself to me directly, it took a while for me to get into the story. But, at the same time was I curious enough to know more, to find out answers. Why did the aunt send Eliza and Rebecca to that weird house, and what's going on there? What's wrong with the housekeeper Mrs. Pollard. Is the house haunted or is it just Eliza imagining that? And, to be frank, what is going on with Rebecca? Lots of questions, and as the story progressed the more hooked I become until I finally had to admit that I was quite taken with the book.

Now, I have to admit that haunted houses are "my thing". Just give me a tragic or horrifying backstory or both and some poor family moving into the house and I'm sold. Abigale Hall has an interesting backstory and I wanted to know, is there a ghost or not? But, I must say that the ending really surprised me and pushed the stable 3-star rating to a 4-star rating. It's a jaw-dropping kind of ending, in many ways.

Abigale Hall may have taken some time for me to really get into, but it turned out to be one of those books that I'm glad I kept on reading. The story turned out to be really interesting and I was intrigued by Abigale Hall and really wanted to know what was going on there. And, most of all, I like that the conclusion really surprised me several times. It's not a horror story per se, more a mystery story with a bit of an ominous feeling to it.

I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy through Edelweiss for an honest review! ( )
  MaraBlaise | Dec 14, 2017 |
** I received a copy of this book for free through a Goodreads giveaway. **

This was a creepy, enthralling mystery with enough twists and turns to keep my attention throughout the book. I did get a bit annoyed with the side story in London (the main story takes place in Wales) but I do understand the need for the extra information and side-character story. The characters were well-developed and while I honestly disliked the majority of them, they weren't supposed to be sympathetic characters so the author did a great job with that! The ending did wrap up just a bit too neatly but it was enjoyable over-all and definitely worth reading if you like ghost stories, gothic mysteries or creepy tales. ( )
  J_Colson | Nov 30, 2017 |
This book is full of dreams and madness.

That sounds like it could be great, doesn't it?

Well … no.

A common piece of advice for aspiring writers is "never start a book with a character's dream". And Lauren A. Forry didn't. However, after a little while it seemed as though every other chapter began with a dream. Another fairly common piece advice for everyone is "your dreams are always much more interesting to you than to anyone else in the world". By the third or fourth time a chapter opened in the middle of Eliza's nightmare, I rolled my eyes. By the fifth or sixth time I was frankly disgusted. This was another time I was constantly on the verge of quitting, but kept reading because I wanted to know how it all would be wrapped up.

Someday I'll learn that it usually isn't really worth it.

The other part of my first line, madness, was something else that started to inspire disgust by the time I got through the book. By the end this book was starting to look like a DSM-5, a psychiatric diagnosis guide. I'm sure I've used the comparison to salt before in a review: some is good, and more is never better. This was just all much too much.

The other reason I kept going was that the writing had some merit. The gradual – very gradual – revelation of what happened to Eliza's family, and the unspooling of how Abigale Hall got to be the place of horror as described in the book was handled well, for the most part.

But characterization was not terribly strong – Eliza's love, Peter, was a bit like a paper doll being moved through the plot, and the bad guys were straight out of central casting for any 60's gothic. And the madness lapping at just about everyone's knees and splashing about on all the walls and ceilings left lots of questions throughout as to who was trustworthy and who was not. Done well, of course, this sort of uncertainty adds to the atmosphere of a creepy gothic novel. Not done well, it can cause whiplash.

And in the end the pain and aberrant behavior and horror – and dreams and madness – proliferated to the point that it became rather pointless, and … I'm tempted to use the phrase "torture porn", especially since a great deal of the aberrant behavior and horror is focused around a young girl. After chapter upon chapter of oh no she's not – oh, she did, I became jaded, until the big climax of the story landed with a blood-soaked thud. It was like the most brutal five episodes of Criminal Minds in which children are involved, the ones I will never ever watch again, balled together and distilled down to take out the enjoyable character moments. And I found the ending completely unsatisfying, and not something that justified ploughing through the whole book.

The usual disclaimer: I received this book via Netgalley for review. ( )
  Stewartry | Jul 23, 2017 |
Abigale Hall by Lauren A. Forry is a 2016 Black & White publishing publication.

I’m always on the lookout for a modern, (recently released), pure Gothic tale, meaning all the great Gothic ‘must haves’ are present and accounted for, such as : the large manor house, the strange housekeeper, some supernatural element or grotesqueries, and the brave young lady who must fight off the forces of evil in one form or another.

This book certainly has all those elements, and the author did a fantastic job of creating that mood and atmosphere that I so love about Gothic mystery and horror.

The historical details added a nice touch, the characters were well drawn, the Welsh setting is of course the perfect location, and the heavy permeation of evil continually lingers in the air.

The narrative sags and the pacing lags on occasion, and the plot is not always cohesive or as tightly woven as I would have liked, but I could overlook it on this occasion, mainly because of the chills and thrills, and horrifying shivers I got along the way, which is what really makes the book work.

The ending is an unexpected stunner, and reminded me a little of the old chillers written back in the seventies. I love those books and have long hoped that someone would revise the genre a bit, give it a modern flair, without watering it down or sacrificing the spooky atmosphere in the process. This author has done an admirable job of that here.

Overall, this creepy tale of Gothic horror and suspense is the perfect book to curl up with on a dark and stormy night. But, beware… you might go to sleep with the lights on!

3.5 stars ( )
  gpangel | May 22, 2017 |
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"Amid the terror of the Second World War, seventeen-year-old Eliza and her troubled little sister Rebecca have had their share of tragedy, having lost their mother to the Blitz and their father to suicide. Forced to leave London to work for the mysterious Mr. Brownwell at Abigale Hall, they soon learn that the worst is yet to come. The vicious housekeeper, Mrs. Pollard, seems hell-bent on keeping the ghostly secrets of the house away from the sisters and forbids them from entering the surrounding town-and from the rumors that circulate about Abigale Hall. When Eliza uncovers some blood-splattered books, ominous photographs, and portraits of a mysterious woman, she begins to unravel the mysteries of the house, but with Rebecca falling under Mrs. Pollard's spell, she must act quickly to save her sister, and herself, from certain doom. Perfect for readers who hunger for the strange, Abigale Hall is an atmospheric debut novel where the threat of death looms just beyond the edge of every page. Lauren A. Forry has created a historical ghost story where the setting is as alive as the characters who inhabit it and a resonant family drama of trust, loyalty, and salvation"--… (more)

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