The Animals at Lockwood Manner

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About the book

Some secrets are unspoken. Others are unspeakable . . .

August 1939.

Thirty-year-old Hetty Cartwright is tasked with the evacuation and safekeeping of the natural history museum’s collection of mammals. Once she and her exhibits arrive at Lockwood Manor, however, where they are to stay for the duration of the war, Hetty soon realizes that she’s taken on more than she’d bargained for.

Protecting her charges from the irascible Lord Lockwood and resentful servants is work enough, but when some of the animals go missing, and worse, Hetty begins to suspect someone – or something – is stalking her through the darkened corridors of the house.

As the disasters mount, Hetty finds herself falling under the spell of Lucy, Lord Lockwood’s beautiful but clearly haunted daughter. But why is Lucy so traumatized? Does she know something she’s not telling? And is there any truth to local rumours of ghosts and curses?

Part love story, part mystery, The Animals at Lockwood Manor by Jane Healey is a gripping and atmospheric tale of family madness, long-buried secrets and hidden desires.

Review

If you imagine Night at the Museum meets a ghost story meets a WWII meets passion. Now, this seems like an odd combination but it really works! This story is a slow burn, so take the time to give it a chance. If you love atmospheric and spooky reads, then you’ll love this story!

So, if you find the idea of taxidermy animals vanishing in the night then you might be terrified of this story. But it is seriously so interesting in its creeptastic way. This story is intense and complicated. The people in the story are intense and complicated. The time period is intense and complicated. I think you understand my point.

Now, let me discuss the writing in this book. It’s gorgeous. The simplicity yet complexity just makes it a mesmerizing read. It sucked me in right away, but I love atmospheric reads. For those of you who enjoy quick and easy reads, this story may take some time for you to get into. But I promise, you should give it the chance it deserves because I think you will enjoy it!

About the Author

Jane Healey was named after Jane Eyre but, growing up in a Victorian farmhouse that was rumoured to be haunted, was initially too frightened of the ghost in the red-room to read past the second chapter. She returned to it – successfully – during her English Literature degree at Warwick University and later wrote her MSc dissertation at Edinburgh University on ghosts, mothers, and libraries as Bluebeard’s chambers in Jane Eyre and its literary descendants.

She subsequently studied on the MFA Fiction programme at CUNY Brooklyn College and has been shortlisted for the Bristol Short Story Prize 2013, the Costa Short Story Award 2014, the Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2016 and the Penguin Random House WriteNow mentoring programme 2017.

*I received an arc in exchange for an honest review*

Song of the Crimson Flower Review

Summary

From the acclaimed author of Forest of a Thousand Lanterns comes a fantastical new tale of darkness and love, in which magical bonds are stronger than blood.

Will love break the spell? After cruelly rejecting Bao, the poor physician’s apprentice who loves her, Lan, a wealthy nobleman’s daughter, regrets her actions. So when she finds Bao’s prized flute floating in his boat near her house, she takes it into her care, not knowing that his soul has been trapped inside it by an evil witch, who cursed Bao, telling him that only love will set him free. Though Bao now despises her, Lan vows to make amends and help break the spell.

Together, the two travel across the continent, finding themselves in the presence of greatness in the forms of the Great Forest’s Empress Jade and Commander Wei. They journey with Wei, getting tangled in the webs of war, blood magic, and romance along the way. Will Lan and Bao begin to break the spell that’s been placed upon them? Or will they be doomed to live out their lives with black magic running through their veins?

In this fantastical tale of darkness and love, some magical bonds are stronger than blood.

Review

You guys, this book was so amazing! I wish I hadn’t been at the tail end of a slump while reading it because this could honestly be one of my favorite reads of the year! If you are a fan of historical c/kdramas, then you should read this book! It hit me right in the historical asian inspired feels.

Now, let me start off by saying Bao is the most cinnamon bun-iest cinnamon bun there is. It doesn’t help that every time I read his name I desperately want a steam bun (aka, a bao). But, he deserves the world and I was rooting for him the entire read. And Lan is a feisty little firecracker. Once she sets her mind on something, nothing and no one can change it for her!

So, anyways, I digress. This book is lush with description and honestly a beautiful read. It’s rife with headstrong females in powerful positions even though it’s set in a time where women were meant to be meek. It gives off a fairy tale vibe while remaining original. And it shows the power of making your own decisions and finding those you can truly trust.

*I received an arc in exchange for an honest review*