The Haunting by Alex Bell

Title - The Haunting
Author - Alex Bell
Publication Date - February 11th 2016
Publisher - Stripes Publishing
Format - Kindle Edition (Provided via publisher via NetGalley)
Pages - 352

Some curses grow stronger with time...

People say that all Cornish inns are haunted, but the Waterwitch's history is particularly chilling. Built from the salvaged timber of a cursed ship, the guest house's dark secrets go further back than anyone can remember.

Emma is permanently confined to a wheelchair after an accident at the Waterwitch which took place when she was ten. Seven years later, she decides to return to the place where the awful event occurred.

But the ancient inn still has its ghosts, and one particular spirit is more vengeful than ever...

First of all, I'd like to say a massive thank you to Alex Bell and her publisher Stripes Publishing for providing me with a review copy of The Haunting in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Despite being familiar with the Red Eye series, I've only read one other book and that was Frozen Charlotte. To say that it rattled my bones would be a huge understatement. It was strange and unusual and ensured I didn't sleep comfortably that night. But if I thought that one was bad, after having read The Haunting, I think I've seen Alex Bell take her books to a whole other level of frightening.

Alex Bell is terrifically spot-on when it comes to the descriptions within her books. In The Haunting, we're introduced to Emma and her assistance dog Bailey (who stole my heart, by the way!). After having had an accident years before, Emma is now confined to a wheelchair and now, seven years since she left, she's heading back to the Cornish town of Looe to visit her Grandmother who is seriously ill. The place is full of terrible memories for Emma. After all, it was in Looe, inside the Waterwitch, where her life was changed immeasurably. Arriving back in the town is strange for Emma, and it isn't long until she's reunited with her old friend Jem and his young sister Shell. Throughout Emma making the decision to head back and her arrival, there was an unavoidable sense of foreboding in the air, and when Emma's grandmother tells her not to return to the Waterwitch, it becomes clear that something is very wrong where that place is concerned.

One aspect that I truly adored within The Haunting was the history behind the Waterwitch. Including witches and sailors and shipwrecks, it gave me plenty of food for thought and I found that I couldn't get enough of it. I was desperate to hear more about what had happened all those years before and I couldn't wait for the ribbons wrapped around the Waterwitch to unravel and reveal its secrets. It was intriguing to say the least, as well as rather morbid, but all of this only added to the heavy, dark feel of the story. As I mentioned above, Alex Bell's descriptions were unbelievable. A particular favourite of mine was this one -

'a demented daddy long-legs of a laugh that skittered straight towards me on many-jointed, spindly limbs.'

Urgh. That description makes my skin crawl, and I'm not joking when I say that this novel is absolutely jam-packed with them. The Waterwitch was like a mad, deranged fun-house where the floors tilted and the pictures on the walls were alive. There were rooms that were haunted with ghosts of people from long-ago and quite frankly I raced through this book, terrified yet unable to put it down. I won't lie, I'm a bit of a wimp, so I do scare easily, meaning perhaps this book won't have the same effect on you, but for me, this was everything that horror should be. Unnerving, bizarre, and with the ability to make your skin crawl, I adore Alex Bell's books and really hope to get a collection on the go someday soon.

All in all, I think it's fair to say that I adored The Haunting by Alex Bell. It's odd but I get a strange little thrill from scaring myself and this author's books always manage to get me right where it scares me most. I'm always fascinated by the gruesome tales that she weaves her through her books, and The Haunting exceptional. Becca's Books is awarding The Haunting by Alex Bell with five stars! Gruesome, dark, and so-very-capable of inducing nightmares, if you loved Frozen Charlotte, then you will adore this.


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