Book Review: Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling by: Michael Boccacino

Rating: 5/5

Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks

Publish Date: July 24, 2012

Origins: From Publisher for Review

Format: Trade Paperback

Order From:  Amazon / Barnes & Noble

Synopsis: Debut novelist Michael Boccacino invites readers into the world beyond the realm of the living in Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling, a Victorian gothic tale of the strange and supernatural. But all who enter this house must beware--for there is a price to pay for visitors who wish to save those they love. The story of a British governess and her young charges seduced by the otherworldly enticements of a mysterious mansion in the forest following the inexplicable death of the former nanny, this Tim Burton-like tale of dark fantasy is a bewitching treat for fans of horror and paranormal fiction, as well as readers who love creepy gothic tales and mysterious shadowy English manor houses. Not since Suzanna Clarke introduced Jonathan Strange to Mr. Norrell, and Neil Gaiman's Coraline crawled through a secret door into a twisted and sinister mirror world, has there been a journey as wondrously fantastic and terrifying as Charlotte Markham's adventures in the House of Darkling.

Review: “Charlotte Markham and The House of Darkling” is a disturbingly gothic tale, set in semi-Victorian times. Charlotte Markham has always noticed the ‘man in black’ – he was there when her mother died, her father died, and her husband died. After Charlotte’s husband passed away, she was hired to be the governess for the Darrow boys, James and Paul. Their mother had died and their father had become remote, so they only had Charlotte and Nanny Prum to guide them. When Nanny Prum is found brutally murdered, Charlotte is the children’s only caregiver. She and the boys have fallen victim to strange, yet wondrous, dreams and when she asks the boys to give their dreams life through drawing a map is created. Taking a picnic lunch, Charlotte and the boys follow the map and enter The Ending. This is where they are taking to The House of Darkling, where Lily Darrow now ‘lives’ and the master of the house, Mr. Whatley is not what he appears. Now caught up in a deadly game of chance with Mr. Whatley, Charlotte must find a way to defeat him to save the Darrow family and the whole town.

Told through Charlotte’s words, “Charlotte Markham and The House of Darkling” is a devilishly dark fantasy tale set in two worlds. The world of the living and The Ending, where Death does not exist and time plays by its own rules. The gothic feel and Lovecraftian creatures which populate The Ending are deliciously amoral and richly detailed. The writing is decadent and pulls you into a mundane, yet deeply beautiful and horrible magical world with grace and style. I enjoyed this book immensely and recommend it highly!


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