Book review: Starve Acre by Andrew Michael Hurley⁠


The worst thing possible has happened. Richard and Juliette Willoughby’s son, Ewan, has died suddenly at the age of five. Starve Acre, their house by the moors, was to be full of life, but is now a haunted place.

Juliette, convinced Ewan still lives there in some form, seeks the help of the Beacons, a seemingly benevolent group of occultists. Richard, to try and keep the boy out of his mind, has turned his attention to the field opposite the house, where he patiently digs the barren dirt in search of a legendary oak tree.

Starve Acre is a devastating new novel by the author of the prize-winning bestseller The Loney. It is a novel about the way in which grief splits the world in two and how, in searching for hope, we can so easily unearth horror. 


I love this authors work, it’s the type of horror that is so subtle, almost imperceptible, and then you realise you’re backed into a corner, suddenly trapped and terrified. ⁠

This book is a folk horror look at grief and explores the idea that while nature can appear to be welcoming and a safe haven, it can also reflect back at you the death and cruelty it holds and has witnessed.⁠

This is a really slow moving novel, but it keeps you glued to it’s pages as it unravels the past alongside the present that slowly begin to merge into one another. Hurley’s writing is simply beautiful, it’s easy to read in a way that you can picture and experience events along with the characters.⁠ ⁠

I love books where the scenery and setting becomes a character itself, and this one does it perfectly!⁠

I found it hard to like the characters in this story, and initially I thought this might cause me to dislike this story, however I soon realised that it didn’t matter much. They each had some likeable aspects to them, so it wasn’t distracting enough to make me not want to read about them.⁠

The ending in this is something to behold, most readers of this one will be sure to tell you that it’s pretty unforgettable! The story ends reasonably ambiguously, so only go into this one if you’re happy to be left asking questions.⁠

The only thing that I didn’t like about this book was one, what I consider to be, large plot-hole. I don’t want to give away any spoilers but there is one thing that happens which is accepted easily by our main character, Richard, which is entirely hypocritical to what he preaches about throughout the rest of the story. I really wanted to be able to look past it, but my annoyance with it stuck long after reading.⁠

Overall though, this was an incredible read. I’ve read and enjoyed two books by Hurley now and I can’t wait to read more! This ticked all the folk horror boxes for me! 

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Book Details:

Pages: 256
Edition Published:
Genre: Horror, Fiction
Goodreads Av. Rating: 3.84

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