Hare House: An Atmospheric Modern-day Tale of Witchcraft – the Perfect Autumn Read

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Hare House: An Atmospheric Modern-day Tale of Witchcraft – the Perfect Autumn Read

Hare House: An Atmospheric Modern-day Tale of Witchcraft – the Perfect Autumn Read

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It‘s one of those books (there’s quite a number of them) where there seem to be all sorts of supernatural occurrences taking place for the biggesg part of the story - there‘s talk of witches, for instance - and then in the last few chapters, course is brusquely changed and suddenly, it‘s all about psychological issues.

After completing an MA in Creative Writing at Birkbeck, her first novel, Out of a Clear Sky, was published in 2008. The narrator becomes embroiled in a series of unsettling events related to the local community: hints of witchcraft, mysterious animal deaths, and disturbing effigies abound. Too many plot points were never explained, and the book seemed to feed into stereotypes without challenging them in any way.The narrator’s relationship with Hare House reminded me of some other favourite novels with an imposing house at their core: at first The House at Midnight, and later, as things grow more sinister, The Little Stranger. But among the tiny roads, wild moorland, and scattered houses, something more sinister lurks: local tales of witchcraft, clay figures and young men sent mad. The hints of local legend and folklore is also well handled: Cass casually introduces the idea of there being witches, almost as though she were merely discussing the weather. And yet, when I finished it, I found myself disappointed and left wanting, although I couldn’t really articulate why. A creepy, atmospheric read full of gothic imagery, Hare House captured me and stayed long after the last page.

Although it’s well-crafted in terms of prose style, atmospheric, and Sally Hinchcliffe’s highly effective at establishing a sense of place, the issues I had were with the story/plot and the portrayal of certain characters. Moving into a cottage on the remote estate of Hare House, she begins to explore her new home – a patchwork of hills, moorland and forest. The blurb in the back mentions “a deeply unsettling modern-day tale of witchcraft” - it never got there. It did not quite unsettle or inveigle its way under my skin as Andrew Michael Hurley’s Starve Acre did – oh look!Almost from the off, nothing is what it seems (not even the name of the house) and a series of disturbing events follow, interspersed with the narrator’s explanation of the incident that led to the end of her teaching career. A former London school teacher, forced to resign under mysterious circumstances, rents a house in the Scottish highlands where she meets an obstinate old woman and isolated, parentless siblings.

The themes are typical of this genre; mental illness, symbols of witchcraft, hares (inevitably), clay dolls, sprigs of Rowan, ancestral curses and the like. Striking up a friendship with her landlord and his younger sister, she begins to suspect that all might not be quite as it seems at Hare House.

Her, and the rest of the characters were, for me, a little too predictable, too much like cookie-cutter characters.

Whilst all the ends aren't quite tied up, the writing is exquisite and the heart-racing conclusion is just as satisfying. Not a book I am trying to claim is objectively perfect, but a book that is perfect to me, that feels precisely calibrated for me. No specific spoilers; but discusses some points that you might want to read about in the book first.There’s the odd tease and the odd flashback, but none of it really built up to anything and just seemed a tad repetitive.



  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
  • EAN: 764486781913
  • Sold by: Fruugo

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