What Did I think of my Stay at. . .
The Rooms of Turnstone Manor
As I’ve mentioned before, I love it when a story has that certain something I can connect with from the outset. In this case, we have a wonderful twist on the usual ‘haunted house’ theme. A subject that I have something of a soft spot for, having spent eight years of my early childhood living in such a dwelling.
But a haunted hotel? Aha, that’s taking it up another level.
Upon his arrival at Turnstone Manor, Terry Peters is instantly intrigued by the mysterious history of the grey-stone mansion turned bed and breakfast. Visiting the town of Miller’s Cove for a friend's wedding, he is determined to make the best of a vacation that has started out as less than ideal. His stay soon turns nightmarish however, when he makes a gruesome discovery in the home's library. Even more sinister and fantastical secrets are to be revealed to him within the manor's warped walls and twisted hallways, until he is uncertain of whom he can trust among Turnstone's peculiar occupants. Will he escape the strange plague which haunts the mansion, or will he succumb to it, unable to trust even his own sanity?
So, what’s on the menu?
Something rather tasty. That’s what.
After tempting us with a little spice at the beginning, Erica Schaef then winds back a little and introduces us to the town of Miller’s Cove in a straightforward, ‘conversational’ way that allows you to settle in and get comfy. Only then does she start to develop the main course of her story. And I really enjoyed that. The characters are instantly relatable; the scenes evocative of holidays and short breaks spent in quaint hotels; the dialogue easy to follow. And the plot? Oh, there are all sorts of tasty, bite-sized things going on, but they’re developed at a measured pace that allows you to keep track of who’s who, what’s where, and most importantly, what’s coming. Yes, the mounting anticipation of skullduggery is a delightful condiment that Schaef sprinkles into the story ark in a way that makes you want to keep coming back for more.
I read and review a lot of books, and The Rooms of Turnstone Manor reminded me in some ways of certain aspects of Jeannette Ng’s Under the Pendulum Sun, as Schaef manages to encapsulate the same moody, evocative, almost claustrophobic atmosphere here, that makes her story such a success.
Well worth a read. And please, bring on another course!