Verdict: Despite a few awkward and cliché moments, The Haunting of Wolfe Haven is an entrancing read, especially for lovers of contemporary Gothic novels.
Three years ago Riley Russell fled her life with her husband Tristan. Now, she returns to Wolfe Haven, and to the mysteries and manipulation that continue to haunt the sinister ancestral home.
After an unusual letter from Abby, her husband’s cousin, Riley returns to her husband’s home, the place she fled three years prior after being put in a compromising situation by her husband’s scheming brother, Colin. She has been brought there to try and win back her husband Tristan’s affections so he does not remarry the suspicious ex-girlfriend, now fiancée Glenda. Though Riley feels more independent, stronger after three years, when she is back at Wolfe Haven, she is immediately drawn into the web of intrigue. But this time there are players that she cannot trust and new mysteries that Riley must unravel for her own safety and sanity.
Author Debbie Heaton’s writing is alluring and haunting. She effectively captures the menacing ways of her characters and creates a tension with vivid descriptions of the house itself – the Gothic, ancestry, rich with history and secrets, good and evil:
“The pine trees below my window were swaying and tapping, and the swing that Abby had moved to the back verandah had started to creak … as if someone - or the memory of someone – was pushing himself backward and forward.”
Though the narrative voice is strong and steady for the most part, there are times when it loses it poetic and natural flow and sounds a little forced and awkward: “my ears pricked up the same way Echo’s ears do when she hears the crinkle of the plastic wrap on junk food or words like ball and walk.” The other weak spot in the novel is the epilogue, which doesn’t add any surprising or additional information about the fate of some of the characters to the novel, but offers a somewhat banal observation on dark and light forces, which is unnecessary since the novel was effective in conveying this message.
Heaton’s descriptions and plot twists sets a pace which heightens the intrigue and mystery, as she reveals tidbits and changes characters’ circumstances and leaves the reader guessing who has done what in the family that has secrets to hide and enemies to watch. The tension, sexual and otherwise between Riley and her estranged husband, Tristan is also beautifully conveyed and culminates in a well written, albeit, somewhat gratuitous sex scene.
Despite a few awkward and cliché moments, The Haunting of Wolfe Haven is an entrancing read, especially for lovers of contemporary Gothic novels.
Reviewed by Maya Fleischmann for IndieReader
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