on April 6, 2012 :
Loved this book. Keeps you reading. Characters are haunting especially if you'd had a wonderful relationship with your Grandmother, like I had. Couldn't stop reading it.
(reviewed 10 months after purchase)
on Oct. 18, 2011 :
Book Description- The townhouses on serene, elegant Beacon Hill in Boston are some of the most lavish and expensive in the country. When Stan and Mattie take up residence in the dark and crumbling five-story house that Mattie grew up in, and has just inherited from her grandmother, their plans are to clean it out, fix it up, sell it, and return to their quiet life on Cape Cod. Mattie is overwhelmed by the gowns, furs and jewels in GrammyLou's bedroom. Stan is amazed by the fifth-floor ballroom which has been locked up since the night of Mattie's father's thirtieth birthday party -- the party that ended in the car wreck that killed both of her parents. Now, as they set about sifting through GrammyLou's endless possessions they find mysterious things: a closet full of still-wrapped presents, a marked passage in her grandfather's Bible, and a secret drawer with disturbing content. Mattie soon learns that her entire life has been built on a foundation of lies... that she was raised in a house of horror, by a monster.
The book description definintely led me to believe that I was going to read a suspenseful short story, but the story falls short of its description. I like the setting; it is all very familiar to me. A Beacon Hill brownstone is the perfect setting for a ghost or horror story. To my dismay, it was more of a story about Mattie looking for answers about her past. She wants to know who her father and grandmother really are and she finds her answers cleaning the brownstone to get ready for sale. To be quite honest, there isn't much psychological suspense and I know that Valentine is quite capable of pulling off something much more thrilling. I think I would have been able to rate it higher than 3 stars had it not been touted as a psychological horror
(reviewed 41 days after purchase)
on Sep. 28, 2011 :
I am getting to the point where I like to read a good short story after I have read a 500 page book So the more my friends talked about this book the more I wanted to read it. As with all short stories you can't give away to much of the plot or you give away the whole story for the next person. If you like a good psychological horror/ mystery without all the blood and guts, old five story brownstone houses and a family and their servants who have some secrets to hide. Then you will like this book. The only problem that I had with it was it was over to soon.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
on Aug. 29, 2011 :
This was an awesome psychological thriller. I enjoyed the detail of the past and present of the characters in the book and how they all intertwined with each other. I felt for Mattie throughout the book as she uncovered as of her life she never knew. I loved this book!
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
on Aug. 13, 2011 :
I must admit this is genre I don't often read, and I'm not sure what appealed to me about this. However, once I started reading, I didn't stop until I finished this novelette. I'm not a huge fan of short fiction, but this is just the right length for the story and the story is a compelling one. The end was quite a nice twist too. Usually, you see twist endings coming from a mile away, but this one really sneaked up on me.
Very good job, Kathleen Valentine.
(reviewed 40 days after purchase)
on Aug. 6, 2011 :
OK, I must confess to the reader of this review that I am a bit biased to Kathleen Valentine's writing. I fell in love with it in her book, The Old Mermaid's Tale and with almost every piece I have read of hers since. Her range of writing, from women's lit to this piece of work which she classifies as a psychological thriller, is spectacular. Her character development...always superb! This piece of work has a specific aura of sarcastic wit to it, which adds to the vibe of the story. I also tend to devour this "feeling" in books that I read. I always feel when I pick up a Kathleen Valentine work that I am picking up an authentic adult piece of literature...
Another thing I must confess to the reader of this review..I am your typical type A personality who loves to classify things...Kathleen Valentine is certainly on my list of top 10 contemporary authors
(reviewed the day of purchase)