Patricia's life has fallen apart. Her son, Noah, is in a Russian prison, framed for a crime that he didn't commit. Her husband has abandoned her, and mounting legal costs have left her broke. In desperate need of funds to pursue Noah's appeal, she takes a job supervising the renovation of Gaunt House, an Elizabethan ruin on the North York Moors. When a corpse and a diary are discovered in the rubble, she begins to investigate the house's tragic history - and finds that the past, and the dead, are closer than they seem.
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A haunted house unlike any other
Exciting, tense, gripping
Stephen King's The Shining has some elements in common -- an updated haunted house story, but with a Lovecraftian udnercurrent
A brilliant performance which really brought the characters alive -- amazingly versatile covering everything from an wealthy Amercan to a 16th century Yorkshirewoman.
I think you need some breaks in to digest what is going on and try and guess what happens next.
The haunted house story has a long pedigree, and the tropes are well-established – half-heard voices, poltergeist effects, an escalating series of events leading to The Awful Discovery – challenging any writer to inject freshness and originality. What makes Ashes such a pleasure to read is how Hemplow re-imagines the genre, and ambushes the reader with their own expectations. Shock and horror are here in spades.
Patricia is managing the rebuilding of a ruined medieval house on the Yorkshire Moors for an American client. Patricia’s son is in a Russian prison, and she desperately needs money to fund his appeal. As Patricia’s personal situation declines and her mental health spirals alarmingly, we also follow the parallel story of Elizabeth, the house’s last occupant, via her discovered diary – Hemplow gives us a note-perfect rendition of Tudor style, with a fine command of Shakespearean invective and attention to historic detail.
As the stories converge, the final horror turns out to be something much nastier than your average ghost, and Ashes builds to a suitably shattering finale.
Devotees of HP Lovecraft will enjoy the numerous references. Hemplow’s verbal panache and talent for winding up the tension make this a very superior slice of modern Mythos.