Title: Elderwood Manor
Author: Christopher Fulbright and Angeline Hawkes
Publication date: July 15th 2014
Page Count: 132 pages
Age Rating: Adult (blood, gore, violence, and disturbing imagery)
How I got my hot little hands on it: Received an ARC to review
Publisher’s page: Elderwood Manor
Things fall apart—Bruce Davenport knows this all too well.
On the heels of his wife’s death, laid-off and penniless with an eviction notice on the door, the only thing left for him and his four-year-old son Cody is Bruce’s childhood home, secluded deep within Ozark forests, haunted by the ghosts of his past.
After he receives a strange phone call from his dying mother, who has lived alone in the house for the past 15 years, Bruce reluctantly returns to the estate with his son.
But they soon find that something else dwells in the home, in the earth, in the woods. Unseen things are out for vengeance and blood. If they can survive the night, they may just find out what truly lies within the walls of…Elderwood Manor.
I’ve heard good things about DarkFuse’s horror offerings, and I’ve got to say, I was not disappointed at all. Gorgeously creepy descriptions and fantastic pacing made this novella a great way to scare myself silly for an evening.
The book opens in kind of a classic horror setting: a desperate man driving down a dark road to his family manor, a place he promised himself he would never return to, but extenuating circumstances have forced his hand (in this case, he needs money and his mother has called him home on her death bed). When Bruce and his son Cody get to the grand manor, the house and the grounds are pretty ramshackle and empty – except for something evil lurking in the shadows. The story follows your typical Must Survive Until Morning course with a rather original backstory to the origin of The Evil, imaginative ghastly creatures, and some great scares along the way.
Elderwood Manor is a great haunted house/dark family secrets/evil-has-tainted-this-place story. There are no slow points. From a graceful, foreboding opening, the tension is ratcheted up at just the right points and the suspense is kept at the perfect pitch. This book kept me on my toes, wide-eyed and fingers-crossed almost from beginning to end.
I loved the descriptive language used in this novella – the writers do a fabulous job of pulling you in and bringing the story to life, both a blessing and a curse when it comes to horror. There’s some blood and gore here as well as some pretty disturbing imagery. These parts are brief and far between, but if you’re sensitive to that you may have to skim some parts.
I really enjoyed this novella and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to paranormal horror book lovers, especially those readers who love books centered around a haunted house with a horrifying history.
The mythological lore of elder trees, whose presence for which Elderwood Manor is named, and the connection of the trees to the earth Mother Goddess is at the center of paranormal horror that plagues the aforementioned estate and its inhabitants. Peet’s Coffee Gia Organic Blend is a great accompaniment to this lore – named for the personification of earth, the primal Greek Earth Mother, this smooth, medium blend coffee has an earthy taste with a bit of a bitter/chocolaty cocoa flavor.