This weekend, I took part in Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon. Between 1pm Saturday (my time) to 12pm Sunday, I worked my way through four ghost / horror themed books, which, given that part of readathon was spent home alone, maybe wasn’t the wisest choice! 😮
I love taking part in Dewey’s Readathon, which is held twice a year in April and October. It’s a great event that allows participants to read for whatever length of time suits them with no judgement. I’ve never done a full 24 hours – I like sleep way too much for that – but I did read for around 16 of the 24 hours, which isn’t too shabby.
Here are the books I read this weekend.
Water Shall Refuse Them by Lucie McKnight Hardy
The heatwave of 1976.
Following the accidental drowning of her sister, sixteen-year-old Nif and her family move to a small village on the Welsh borders to escape their grief. But rural seclusion doesn’t bring any relief. As her family unravels, Nif begins to put together her own form of witchcraft collecting talismans from the sun-starved land. That is, until she meets Mally, a teen boy who takes a keen interest in her, and has his own secret rites to divulge.
Reminiscent of the suspense of Shirley Jackson and soaked in the folk horror of English heritage, Water Shall Refuse Them is an atmospheric coming-of-age novel and a thrilling debut.
The Lingering by S. J. I. Holliday
Married couple Jack and Ali Gardiner move to a self-sufficient commune in the English Fens, desperate for fresh start. The local village is known for the witches who once resided there and Rosalind House, where the commune has been established, is a former psychiatric home, with a disturbing history.
When Jack and Ali arrive, a chain of unexpected and unexplained events is set off, and it becomes clear that they are not all that they seem. As the residents become twitchy, and the villagers suspicious, events from the past come back to haunt them, and someone is seeking retribution…
At once an unnerving mystery, a chilling thriller and a dark and superbly wrought ghost story, The Lingering is an exceptionally plotted, terrifying and tantalisingly twisted novel by one of the most exciting authors in the genre.
Things We Say in the Dark by Kirsty Logan
So here we go, into the dark.
Some things can’t be spoken about in the light of day. But we can visit our fears at night, in the dark. We can turn them over and weigh them in our hands and maybe that will protect us from them. But maybe not.
The characters in this collection find their aspirations for happy homes, happy families and happy memories dissected and imbued with shimmering menace. Alone in a remote house in Iceland a woman is unnerved by her isolation; another can only find respite from the clinging ghost that follows her by submerging herself in an overgrown pool. Couples wrestle with a lack of connection to their children; a schoolgirl becomes obsessed with the female anatomical models in a museum; and a cheery account of child’s day out is undercut by chilling footnotes.
These dark tales explore women’s fears with electrifying honesty and invention and speak to one another about female bodies, domestic claustrophobia, desire and violence. From a talented writer who has been compared to Angela Carter, Things We Say in the Dark is a powerful contemporary collection of feminist stories, ranging from vicious fairy tales to disturbing horror and tender ghost stories.
Little Eve by Catriona Ward
Eve and Dinah are everything to one another, never parted day or night. They are raised among the Children, a community of strays and orphans ruled by a mysterious figure they call Uncle. All they know is the grey Isle of Altnaharra which sits in the black sea off the wildest coast of Scotland.
Eve loves the free, savage life of the Isle and longs to inherit Uncle’s power. She is untroubled save by her dreams; of soft arms and a woman singing. Dinah longs for something other.
But the world is at war and cannot be kept at bay. As the solitude of Altnaharra is broken, Eve’s faith and sanity fracture. In a great storm, in the depths of winter, as the old year dies, the locals discover a devastating scene on the Isle.
Eve and Dinah’s accounts of that night contradict and intertwine. As past and present converge, only one woman can be telling the truth. Who is guilty, who innocent?
You can find out more about Dewey’s Readathon at their website.