Today we have a review from Luke…
The Dead of Winter – Chris Priestley
A boy, a mysterious guardian and a haunted house with a terrible secret.
When Michael Vyner goes to spend the Christmas holidays with his distant and aloof guardian, he finds himself in a dark and desolate East Anglian house – a house that harbours a terrible secret which it will fight to retain. Michael’s lonely task soon becomes clear as he is haunted not just by a solitary woman in the mists but by the terrible reason behind her death.
The book starts with the funeral of Michael’s mother and as his father is also deceased, he is sent to live with a man whom his father had connections. He is to spend Christmas at Hawton Mere, the home of his guardian Sir Stephen and his sister Charlotte. Whilst travelling to Hawton Mere, Michael sees a vision by the road. This is the start of the torment he feels during his stay and which reaches a climax which kept me guessing until the end.
This is by far the best ghost story I have read and I read it in one sitting. Sir Stephen is tormented by previous occurrences from his childhood in the house and this has led to deterioration in his mental state. Michael is isolated with no one to befriend apart from the servants, and it is them that give him indications that all is not well within Hawton Mere.
I will not spoil the ending by telling more of the plot, but you will be as surprised as me at the outcome.
Thoroughly enjoyable book and very well written.
Thanks, Luke, and thanks to Bloomsbury Children’s Books for sending it to us.