Tuesday, 5 February 2019

The Lingering by S.J.I. Holliday

The Lingering book review
Married couple Jack and Ali Gardiner move to a self-sufficient commune in the English Fens, desperate for fresh start. The local village is known for the witches who once resided there and Rosalind House, where the commune has been established, is a former psychiatric home, with a disturbing history.

When Jack and Ali arrive, a chain of unexpected and unexplained events is set off, and it becomes clear that they are not all that they seem. As the residents become twitchy, and the villagers suspicious, events from the past come back to haunt them, and someone is seeking retribution…

As soon as you begin reading The Lingering, you know there's something not quite right about Ali and Jack. They've packed up their former lives and good jobs and are on their way to live in a commune in the hopes of rescuing their relationship but you don't know what's caused the cracks in their marriage. When they arrive Ali struggles to adjust to the new lifestyle, despite it being her suggestion that they live here, Jack on the other hand seems to be adapting really well. Another curious resident begins to sense that something isn't quite right about the couple though and decides to investigate, what she unearths is beyond what anyone could imagine. Ali has to battle to protect herself and Jack whilst something in the house seems out to get Ali. Will she hold it all together or in her new home, a former psychiatric hospital, will she begin to unravel?

Not too far into the novel I started to hate Ali, I really don't think she's a character you're meant to like though. Especially when her true nature is revealed. I really enjoyed the mash-up of supernatural and mystery. Though I wouldn't necessarily label the book a horror story as it's not actually that scary in a terms of supernatural happenings and more scary in revealing what Jack and Ali have done. It was a really clever plot and twist and one that upon starting the book you wouldn't expect.

I did find the links between the witch trials, the days of the psychiatric hospital and the current day a little tedious as it felt a little unecessary to have all three of those things linked, especially as the links were quite weak too. Personally I think it would have worked better if the witch trials plot had been taken out together and then there could have maybe been a better focus on creating stronger connections between the 1950's and modern day. 

In all The Lingering was an enjoyable, fast paced read that kept me guessing throughout. I liked that it wasn't a predictable horror story in that it didn't focus on the supernatural too much and more on what humans are capable of when they're alive!

Rating: ★★★★☆

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