Book Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.25 / 5 stars)
After one of his many drunken stupors, James Brown returns home to tragedy. With no where else to go, he wanders the streets, only to be mesmerized by the captivating Elene. He immediately wraps himself up in her lies and travels to her family’s estate, Black Hollow, where secrets lie around every corner. As he navigates the halls of the villa, his own past climbs out to haunt him. But who is the monster in this house? And will James’s survive to tell his story?
In a compelling story filled with suspense that keeps you at the edge of your seat, we are transported back to Boston in the late 1800s. Myria Candies paints imagery that makes you feel like you are right there with her characters. The suspense is there: you can hear a pin drop, you can feel the air turn cold, and sense the way fear ruptures through James as he tries to escape Black Hollow. I was able to picture this as a ninety-minute horror film that I would watch during Halloween. The story seems haunted, only to show us who the true monsters are: the people.
Yet, while I was drawn into the story and was basically able to read it in one sitting, I almost think it was too long. The writing is a bit too passive, which worked in some places to increase the suspense, but often times I felt like we could see the emotions but not actually feel them with the characters. This ended up impacting my perception of the main character, James: if we had really felt his emotions, I think I might have ended up with a better understanding of his own desires and interests. Perhaps this inability to understand James, seeing him more as the passive narrator, is what makes Elene so much more striking though.
Speaking of Elene, what an interesting character! I was compelled by her, but still, by the end of this, I still don’t understand her true motives. I don’t think anything needs to be wrapped up nicely, but was she actually evil? Or was she a product of her environment just like her siblings? Perhaps the uncertainty is what makes her such a mesmerizing character…she deceives even the reader.
With all that being said, Myria Candies does paint a story equal to a suspenseful horror movie. It would be bound to compel audiences and keep them at the edge of their seat.
So if you want a quick, suspenseful story, check out Black Hollow. If anything, you’ll get a decent chill from the manor as you navigate it with James.
What’s it about?
In the city of Boston, James meets the captivating Elene. Mesmerized by her beauty, in a destitute position, he accepts an invitation to join her and a mysterious man to their estate to attend to the sickly Amelia. Lies, murder, ominous occurrences and a professed love cause him to stay way past his desire. Every turn at Black Hollow, uncovers hidden secrets and dark stories from the past. All to reveal the truth behind why he was brought there in the first place.