V.L. Valentine ~ Begars Abbey
Winter 1954, and in a dilapidated apartment in Brooklyn, Sam Cooper realises that she has nothing left. Her mother is dead, she has no prospects, and she cannot afford the rent. But as she goes through her mother’s things, Sam finds a stack of hidden letters that reveal a family and an inheritance that she never knew she had, three thousand miles away in Yorkshire.
Begars Abbey is a crumbling pile, inhabited only by Lady Cooper, Sam’s ailing grandmother, and a handful of servants. Sam cannot understand why her mother kept its very existence a secret, but her newly discovered diaries offer a glimpse of a young girl growing increasingly terrified. As is Sam herself.
Built on the foundations of an old convent, Begars moves and sings with the biting wind. Her grandmother cannot speak, and a shadowy woman moves along the corridors at night. There are dark places in the hidden tunnels beneath Begars. And they will not give up their secrets easily…
This took me absolutely ages to read.
Not only was it slow, but it just didn’t grip me quick enough. Actually, it didn’t really grip me at all. It had all of the right ingredients: creepy servants, strange house and a family with secrets, but they just didn’t add up.
Considering it was described as a chilling, gothic read I was expecting a bit more darkness and drama, rather than the usual scandal that comes with an aristocratic man who believes himself to be above the law.
I did enjoy it, especially the history of the old house, but felt there was too much description, considering the genre, and without so many details, the pace would have been much better.
None of the characters was particularly interesting and, although the main story was quite predictable, the ending felt unclear.
I won a proof copy from Viper Books. Opinions my own.