Graphic novel review: House of Penance by Peter J. Tomash, illustrated by Ian Bertram


A horrific story of a haunted house and one woman’s mission to wash away the blood curse of her husband’s invention from claiming her own life and soul.

This is a tale about guilt, ghosts, and guns…of how fortune brings misfortune, as a grim and determined woman oversees the construction of a house twenty four hours a day for twenty years with the simple motto of keep busy building or get busy dying.


I loved this. Perfectly spooky to look at from the outside but an emotional tale of grief on the inside. ⁠

Loosely based on the story of widow Sarah Winchester, this novel embellishes the story of her desperate grief, continuously building upon her house to keep the curse of the Winchester family at bay after the death of her husband.⁠

Despite this being a fictional take on nonfictional events, I enjoyed the story that was told. However, I felt the pacing and flow of the story wasn’t entirely there throughout.⁠

As for the artwork, I mean wow. Perfectly macabre and gruesome. I saw another reviewer writer that Ian Bertram ‘illustrates how something feels, rather than how it is’, and I couldn’t agree more. ⁠

Ultimately, I think the artwork is what really makes this book shine as the story seems to get a little bit lost in places. I would definitely be interested in reading more graphic novels illustrated by Bertram!⁠

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (Story: ⭐⭐⭐, Illustrations: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐)

Book Details:

Pages: 176
Edition Published:
2019, Dark Horse Books
Genre: Sequential Art > Graphic Novels, Horror,
Goodreads Av. Rating: 3.57

2 Replies to “Graphic novel review: House of Penance by Peter J. Tomash, illustrated by Ian Bertram”

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