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Rebecca is just as wonderful now as it was the first time I read it as a teen. The tale is the very definition of “Gothic,” and the lush, detailed writing is elegant and romantic in the true sense of the word.

The first name of our narrator is never given, she is simply the second Mrs. DeWinter. Young and inexperienced, she is shy and terribly afraid of nearly everything – the antithesis of the modern heroine. She does not want to offend or rock the boat, but when she comes up against the most horrifying housekeeper in Gothic history – Mrs. Danvers – she begins to find her backbone.

Our heroine’s growth is perfectly done. But what I love most is the spirit of Rebecca herself. The descriptions of how Manderley is her house, that she is all around, are breathtakingly eerie. When Mrs. Danvers speaks of her, she becomes a true ghost. Is the housekeeper a player of Gaslight’s Mr. Manningham’s caliber, or does Rebecca truly walk the halls? To me, the answer is secondary to the beautiful atmospheric writing.

I’m already looking forward to wandering down the halls of Manderley again one day.

 

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Before White Oleander, I wouldn’t have believed I could have become so emotionally invested in a meandering coming of age epic about a 14-year-old orphan (Astrid) as she moves from home to home for one reason or another. The truth is, I only read this book because it was recommended by a friend and, as someone who will read literally anything, I knew I’d get through it without any problem – but I certainly didn’t expect to fall madly in love with it.

But I did. I was riveted from page one and couldn’t put the damned thing down.

I loved following Astrid to each of her new foster homes and watching her grow from the dysfunction and chaos around her. With each move, she meets new people, all of whom shape her in new ways – ways that ultimately help her understand her relationship with her own toxic, narcissistic mother (Ingrid), who has been imprisoned for murder hundreds of miles away.

While the plot is solid enough to stand up on its own, what really captured me here were the characters. These are real people, motivated in real ways, with all the necessary layers to make them well-rounded, dynamic, and believable. If I ever get the chance to meet Janet Fitch, I’d like to shake her hand and thank her for writing such an excellent character study.

Five full stars. I recommend White Oleander to, well, anyone who likes reading books with good plots and great characters.

For more recommendations, visit Alistair on BookBub.

In honor of the spooky season, you can get two ghost-laden Thorne & Cross novels in ebook for $0.99!

Haunted

Haunted is Tamara’s classic ghost story containing a bevy of spirits and horrors – from good-hearted dead hookers to a headless sea captain, a voodoo priestess, evil dolls, cold spots, sex dungeons, lonely lighthouses, and more succubi than you can shake your stick at. Can horror writer David Masters and his intrepid daughter, Amber, survive the terrors of Baudey House? Read Haunted to find out!

Savannah

In Alistair’s paranormal murder mystery, Sleep Savannah Sleep, newcomer Jason Crandall moves his family into the old Victorian in Shadow Springs with high hopes for a new beginning – but after beautiful young socialite, Savannah Sturgess, goes missing, he’s plagued by haunting visions and terrifying dreams. By day, strange things happen in the old house; mysterious footsteps, chill phantom breezes – and the nights are even worse. Is Savannah herself trying to tell him that the dead don’t always rest in peace? Get your copy of Sleep Savannah Sleep to find out.

Sale ends October 14th, 2019

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In the Cut is an edgy, fast-paced thriller chock-full of tension, sex, and mystery with an ironic and exciting ending you won’t see coming. I finished this book in one sitting and was particularly struck by the unusual use of language and grammar (so many writing “rules” were beautifully broken here – I loved it) but what really propelled me was a fascinating protagonist in search of something she didn’t even know was missing.

I’d recommend this book. It’s an interesting story, sure, but there’s more to it; layers that intrigued and so much left to the imagination, despite some graphic descriptions. Think Psycho meets Looking for Mr. Goodbar.

Well done, Ms. Moore. I think I’ll be reading more of you.

For more: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/alistair-cross?list=reviews

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Gretchen is a thriller that will also appeal to lovers of horror. It’s told primarily from the point of view of Lucy, a teen who has spent her life on the run with her mother. Lucy has always been resigned to her fate – changing states, changing schools, keeping secrets – but now she’s beginning to rebel.

As the book begins, Lucy and her mother relocate to house in the country outside a small town. Their new landlord, a concert pianist, and his daughter, Gretchen, welcome them, and despite their eccentricities, Lucy wants to stay. From there, the eccentricities and Lucy’s discomfort grow, and the story – a fascinating mystery – unfolds.

The pages of this tight and twisted tale flew by – I could hardly turn them fast enough. Highly recommended.

For more: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/tamara-thorne?list=reviews

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When literary writer Thad Beaumont’s cover is blown and the world finds out he’s been moonlighting as a crime writer under the pseudonym, George Stark, blackmail promptly ensues. Rather than caving to the blackmailer’s demands, Thad Beaumont decides to go public – and kill off George Stark himself. That’s when the pseudonym takes on a life of his own and begins an angry murderous spree …

The Dark Half exhibits King’s many artistic gifts: Excellent characters, unforgettable horror, witty dialogue, and the kind of plot that keeps you turning page after page. You can’t help but get the feeling that King was taking a little revenge of his own with this book – and that only adds to the intrigue. Writers and readers alike will love this book.

For More: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/alistair-cross?list=reviews

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If you’ve ever read this book, you can see why someone said, “We must make this into a movie. Not only that, but it must star Bette Davis and Joan Crawford!” And while it definitely was an excellent movie, the book digs one layer deeper, submerging the reader (reluctantly, at times) into the minds of some seriously fascinating (and in Jane’s case, twisted) characters.

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? is a quick read that sprinkles rather than spews its horror. It is, if nothing else, an intriguing glimpse not only into the human psyche (watching Jane’s descent into madness is one of those proverbial train wrecks you won’t be able to look away from) but also a peek into what might really be going on behind the closed doors of other quiet, seemingly peaceful houses.

As Jane and Blanche’s own next-door neighbor says, “Sometimes I wonder about the two of them over there in that big old house all alone. They don’t ever seem to do anything – or have anyone in for company. It must be awful … ”

Lady, you have no idea …

For more: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/alistair-cross?list=reviews