Spine-tingling chills, inexplicable sights and sounds, raised hair on the back of the neck, menacing invisible touches to the skin are enough to terrify the young and impressionable Charles Latham when he returns home in the wee hours of the morning after a night of dissipated fun. And then he is to learn what true horror awaits.
After the gruesome death of his father and his own inexplicable night-time terror, Charles is confused, frightened and looking for answers even while his older brother George is set on covering up any details that go contrary to an acceptable cause of death. Only the mysterious and secretive friend of his brother, Jasper, becomes his ally in his search for the truth and even then Charles isn’t sure of Jasper.
This story was enticing from the beginning with its Gothic horror feel where I was never certain if there really were malignant ghosts or if it was good old fashion human machinations. I love that it is set in the past- Georgian era I think- and had a ring of historical authenticity to the backdrop, plot and dialogue.
Charles is the narrator and I found his ‘voice’ so well-written and Charles as a character so fascinating. I could almost hear and feel his trembling uncertainty coming through the pages and then it subtly changes as the story progresses until it is almost not even the same Charles in the end. Charles goes from untried wastrel and disappointment to his family to a man whose courage rises with the danger around him and who steps out on faith from all he has been taught to believe to take a chance on someone and something that could very well be what he has been searching for all along. I liked the way the end left an opening for Charles’ to take his life in a new direction.
It is not difficult to see how this book came by its title and how fitting it is once the family secrets start pouring out. I don’t want to give anything away, but not just a few characters in this story turn out to be real pieces of work.
There is a secondary romance plot to the story for Charles and Jasper. It is of course trouble-filled for a few reasons what with Charles suspecting Jasper of killing his father and also Charles having to come to terms with his attraction to a man. There is also the enigmatic Jasper himself whose actions and thoughts are veiled through much of the story with just a few tantalizing hints dropped here and there to make me wonder- friend or foe; seducer or lover. Regardless of his suspicions, Charles is captivated by Jasper as I was too.
All in all, I found this story with its touch of the Gothic an enjoyable reading experience that tingled my spine, but wasn’t horrifying enough to give me the willies and send me running to hide under my covers. This will appeal to those who enjoy m/m historical ghost story romance with Gothic overtones.
Thank you to the author for providing the book in exchange for an honest review.
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