Review for Gnarled Hollow

Review for Gnarled Hollow

I received this book from Netgalley in exchange of an honest review.

OH MY GOSH. Guys, this book was just too good. I have been looking around for something like this, books with haunted houses, maybe even (a bit) in the style of Darcy Coates. And I found it in this book. It never had a boring moment, you will be on the seat of your chair all the time, and you may just not be able to sleep or walk around at night easily (I know I didn’t, as I read part of this book before I went to sleep, bad bad idea).

Meet Emily Murray, she just got fired from her job at the university, but an opportunity knocks on her door. Does she want to spend her summer at a big house in the country to study the works of one of her favourite authors: Margot Lewis? Of course, what else would you expect, our girl is instantly interested. And so a summer full of creepy things, hauntings, but also romance, will start.

Yup, you read that right, there is also romance, but surprise, this one wasn’t going for the obvious choice so many authors make. You won’t see a MxF relationship, oh no, we got ourselves a sweet FxF relationship. I was a bit worried if the romance would fit this book, because it is still mystery/horror, but I loved it, I was eagerly looking for those sweet and soft moments away from the horror and the creepiness. June and Emily just fit together like two puzzle pieces. I did like that they both worked to be together, it wasn’t just oh we are together and done, oh no, we see Emily’s thoughts, and see how she starts to love June. But that she is also worried about how things would go after this summer. Does June love her or just see her as a casual fling? The author did a great job on writing this romance, it was believable, fun, and made you root for these girls.
I do have to say at one point I was worried for the romance, but I shouldn’t have worried.

The house was properly creepy. Really, thanks to the descriptions I just wanted to stay away. Far away. But not only the house and all the things that happened, the gardens/pool were also a place of nope. The things that happened to our characters were haunted, spooky, and I was definitely creeped out. Doors that close on their own, time loss, a girl looking out of the window. The author did a magnificent job slowly revealing more creepy things about the house. About the presence (or presences) lurking there. And then we slowly found out about what happened in the house so many years ago. Oh my goodness! If you thought you found out one thing, wait until the next thing is revealed.

Emily was a very nice character, I liked her instantly, maybe also because of how she felt about herself and how she felt as if she was an outsider. I can totally relate to her. I loved how strong she was and how hard she worked on breaking those codes (Margot Lewis loved codes). I was impressed that, instead of letting someone else do it due to how Jim was, she went to Jim multiple times to talk to him or to give him help.

June! Next to Emily my favourite character. She was just so much fun, and I loved how dedicated she was about her work/studying all the art stuff. Plus, even though she was clearly frightened, I liked how she stayed. For Emily.

I am not sure how I felt about Jim. He was by far my least favourite character from the book. It also didn’t help that THAT happened to him, but even before that he was a dick. I get that he was afraid, and probably didn’t want to let the fear in, but he did some things that just pissed me off. I guess I should say good job to the author for writing him that well.

Mark, I liked how he was instantly a believer due to what he saw. How he didn’t dismiss it (like some other characters). How he listened to Emily, and also later on became quite a strong character. Sure, he was afraid, but he wanted to dig deeper, he wanted to find out all he could. He was also the one to find out several things due to what he does for work, things that really turned some stuff upside down for our characters and their situation. Who knew that a house could change dimensions!

Why Emily felt so at home in the home? At least I could call it that. Sure, she had her moments of frights, and at times felt pretty out of place. I definitely had a suspicion on the matter, even some theories. As we found out more (and certain events happened) I settled on one theory, and I was delighted to see it confirmed! How fun! It fits so well. It is kind of a thing that you see more often in haunted houses books, but I love seeing them.

I also liked seeing the characters work/study. They have such interesting fields/hobbies. From art to English to gardening. I loved seeing them discover new things in the house based on what they did as work/hobby.

All in all, an exciting book that won’t let you go until the end. You will just be as invested as the characters to solve this mystery. Even if that means not sleeping at night. I would recommend it to everyone!

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