‘The Final Act of Mercy Dove’ is a new release Victorian Gothic Horror novella.
This is the story of Mercy Dove.
This is a story of secrets.They hide in the wainscoting where the paint flakes, they slip behind the silk wallpaper. They whisper to the Mistress under cover of nightfall. She knows little else; they are her comfort and her curse.
This is a story of corruption. Of the mind, and the flesh. It sits thick in the air, gathering in corners, loitering at keyholes. Adhering to all who visit, it leaves with them, trailing from their coattails.
This is a story of scandal. Infamy, seduction, and lust. It hovers like a murder of crows, circling the grounds waiting for the invited; the unwitting.
Take a seat; the curtain is about to rise…Let us begin at the end.
Readers should note that there is mature content in this book, so it is recommended for adult audiences only.
‘Autumncrow’ is a collection of stories set in the spookiest town in America, telling of its past and some of its quite varied and interesting residents.
The town of Autumncrow resembles any other small town in many ways, and the people who live there are completely normal people — except, perhaps, for the fact that they acknowledge their monsters and accept their fears more openly than most of us are willing to do.
The stories are loosely interwoven, ranging from the deeply unsettling to the macabre and horrifying. Each tale is a well-written narrative characterized by a dark undercurrent that creates shadows and nuances that become bigger and bolder at night. Some of the imagery is regular Halloween fare, while other elements are more sinister.
‘Autumncrow’ is a most enjoyable work of macabre storytelling, suitable for young adults and older readers.
Set in Victorian London, this is a novella length paranormal adventure story in which the mystery is not so much who did what, but rather what the nature and powers of the main protagonist are. This was quite intriguing, although not the whodunnit kind of mystery that readers might anticipate from the title.
The story is filled with tension and suspense that have been well crafted to build toward the conclusion and keep the reader engaged throughout. The exciting plot is enhanced by the varied nature of the characters and the vivid settings in which they live and operate.
The book finishes with a strong sense of anticipation for further adventures. This reader hopes that the next instalment delivers more adventure and intrigue, but also more of a mystery that needs to be solved.
‘Prince of York’ offers a fascinating glimpse into the life of Reginald Pole, Catholic cardinal who also happened to be the nephew of English kings Edward IV and Richard III. As such, Pole found himself at odds with Henry VIII over more than his Church of England’s split from the Roman Church.
In the turbulent world of Renaissance, political intrigue and religious Reformation, Wilcoxson brings Pole to life, networks him with both prominent and humble people, places him in vividly drawn settings, and animates the conflicts and issues that confronted him in a highly realistic and compelling way. The reader has the sensation of looking on as the events of the story unfold, developing considerable empathy for Pole in the dilemmas and challenges he faces.
The story definitely presents history from a perspective that is not often explored through fiction. Unlike his more famous relatives, Pole’s responses to the world around him are characterised by his faith and humility. Wilcoxson’s Pole reminds the reader, as the man himself would have done, that there is always a bigger picture to consider and that the greatest success is not always found in personal gain.
The book is very well written and most enjoyable to read. Even though it is historical fiction, it feels authentic. Surely, for a work of fiction, there can be no higher praise than that.
‘The Grimoire Prophecies’ is a YA paranormal romance story featuring Sophie Seymour, a high school senior who makes a likeable and engaging main character.
While some of Sophie’s challenges are specific to her own situation, others are highly relatable for most teens. As Sophie begins to discover that there is a lot more to the world around her than meets the eye, she is confronted by choices and decisions that she must make, regardless of how ill-equipped she feels to do so.
In the midst of her trying to reconcile the past and the present, Sophie’s senior school year is made far more interesting than anticipated by the arrival of a mysterious pair of twins. Readers with siblings will easily relate to the tension between Joshua and Ethan, which adds another layer of intrigue and complexity to the story.
As the story develops, the author infuses the narrative with a tantalising blend of anticipation and curiosity that draws the reader in and hooks them in the story, causing them to invest in Sophie’s dilemmas and develop hopes for her future and wellbeing.
The writing is good and the story is well paced. The end of the book leaves the reader keen for the next instalment in the series, and for answers to the questions that remain unresolved thus far.
This is a book with lots of appeal for readers of YA paranormal romance.
Macabre and unsettling, this psychological thriller seems disjointed and strangely sequenced until the strands of the story start to pull together.
That which at first appears to be gratuitous splatter for spaltter’s sake turns out to be far more complex psychological horror brought about by a deadly combination of individual volition and a dark power that cannot be explained.
The reader is shocked and disoriented by the twists and turns, just as the characters are, feeling as though the story lurches from one disturbing and not-quite-fully developed scene to the next without sufficient resolution. As the story begins to gel, and the seemingly unrelated events all start to lead to the climax of the story, the reader begins to realise that this was an entirely deliberate and quite complex strategy, designed to emotionally immerse the reader in the confusion and fear evoked by both the actions of the antagonists and the experiences of the victims.
Gory and unpredictable, this is a dark and disturbing read.
In this book, two distinct narratives unfold: what Annabelle does, and what drives her to do it.
The storytelling is intuitive, drawing on the reader’s instincts and assumed knowledge to build empathy and understanding with Annabelle and to evoke anger, grief and sorrow not just for her suffering and pain, but rather for that of all who have suffered in similar ways.
The story is very well written, boldly narrated by the character from whom it takes its title. Annabelle is a young woman who displays tenacity, conviction, and a desire for justice that proves, as it so often does, to be a far more powerful motivator than self-preservation.
While this book delivers an important and timely story that needs to be told and understood, it does contain some scenes of violence and of sexual assault, so it is not suitable for young readers, nor for readers whose own trauma may be triggered by that content.
Like Annabelle herself, this is a story that points the finger directly at not only the perpetrators, bit also those who enable and protect them with their silence, and demands justice for their transgressions.
While many people may insist that they wish their dreams really would come true, this story reminds the reader that it might not always be a good thing. ‘My Dream Woman’ is a heartwarming, entertaining and quite fantastic tale of the power of dreams in the lives and destinies of those who have them.
The author has created a quite brilliant concept with the Guild of Dream Warriors and in doing so has opened up a whole new realm of potential for contemporary fantasy— one which the author has deftly and confidently made her own with the mystical and mysterious collection of characters who populate this story. Of course, nothing is perfect, and therein lies the complication that sets the plot of this delightful tale in motion.
The story is written in a familiar and relaxed tone that makes the reader feel as if they have known Andi, the central character, for much longer than just the time they’ve been reading. The story rolls on at a good pace, at some times lighthearted and amusing, and at other times suspenseful and intriguing, but always delivering twists that keep both the reader and the characters curious and engaged.
Once again, Cleiptt has produced a highly original and quirky story that has far more depth and meaning to it than just mere entertainment. As the assumptions, fears and instincts of the characters are explored, so are those of the reader, revealing truths that challenge the way in which one understands their own responses to life and the different people with whom we share it.
There is some adult content, so it’s not a book for younger readers, but it is a positive and empowering read that promotes understanding of different perspectives and orientations.
Having found so much to enjoy in this novella, it is very exciting to know there are two more books in the Guild of Dream Warriors series.