Marion Zetland lives with her domineering older brother, John in a decaying Georgian townhouse on the edge of a northern seaside resort. A timid spinster in her fifties who still sleeps with teddy bears, Marion does her best to shut out the shocking secret that John keeps in the cellar.
Until, suddenly, John has a heart attack and Marion is forced to go down to the cellar herself and face the gruesome truth that her brother has kept hidden.
As questions are asked and secrets unravel, maybe John isn’t the only one with a dark side.
Here is yet another book on my list of recent reviews that has been nothing like I expected it to be! Which seems to be the general consensus with this one, but while lots of reviewers were being disappointed by this, I wasn’t. I was perfectly happy with the way this one turned out. So happy, in fact, that I thought it deserved a 5 star review!
I can’t get over the fact that this is a debut novel. I know there are lots of debuts out there that are incredible, but it’s been so long since I discovered one that I’m in awe of this one! Burns’ has such a skill to her penmanship you’d have thought she’s been delivering bestsellers for years.
I think the downfall, to others, for this one is the lack of story and plot development. The synopsis has you believe there will be an amazing discovery in the cellar of Marion’s house, when the reality is (and maybe this is a slight spoiler) Marion knows what’s in the cellar all along… and so do we. It’s pretty obvious from page one.
Personally, the fact that the storytelling was on the backburner in this one didn’t bother me. I was so enthralled and amazed by Marion as a character that I was more than happy reading all about her sad, lonely life. People are obsessed with things that are different or conceived as ‘weird’, hence the millions of online lists about them and the old school “freak shows”, and when we see something weird or different, we gawp, we can’t look away. This is exactly how I felt about Marion. I couldn’t look away.
That’s not the say there wasn’t a story in this one, of course there was! It was just slow and didn’t go particularly far. Not in the sense that some books do, where there is a definitive beginning occurrence, middle occurrence and the end big-bang- occurrence.
Do not read this book if you’re feel lonely or melancholy, because my God, this one might just send you into a spiralling depression. It is seriously upsetting in places…
The writing, the characters and the mood of this book were absolutely superbly done. I can’t wait to read whatever Burns’ comes up with next.
Thank you so much to Legend Press for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review.
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