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Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling Paperback – July 24, 2012
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“Debut author Boccacino bowls the reader over with his note-perfect rendition of a spooky Victorian atmosphere. . . . Boccacino’s deft handling of this delicately supernatural period piece makes it a sterling genre selection.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“Fantasy and fact blur as Boccacino excels in twisting and turning the plot in increasingly unexpected directions. Perfect reading for a dark and stormy night.” (Booklist)
“A lyrical and visceral adventure into a realm beyond time and death.” (Katherine Webb, author of The Unseen and The Legacy)
“Thanks to Michael Boccacino the Gothic is reborn! Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling is an elegant, intelligent, and compelling debut novel. Bravo!” (Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author of Assassin's Code and Dust & Decay)
“Michael Boccacino has delivered a studied, enchanting, and most welcome contribution to the Gothic literary landscape rolling back to Brontë and du Maurier. . . . This is not one to miss.” (Christopher Ransom, international bestselling author of The Birthing House and The Fading)
“With Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling, Boccacino has created a new vision of the Afterlife, at one moment stunningly beautiful and full of wonder, the next, darkly sinister and without pity. A remarkable book. Michael Boccacino is a writer to watch.” (Susie Moloney, author of The Dwelling and The Thirteen)
From the Back Cover
When the nanny to the young Darrow boys is found mysteriously murdered on the outskirts of the village of Blackfield, Charlotte Markham, the recently hired governess, steps in to take over their care. During an outing in the forest, they find themselves crossing over into The Ending, "the place for the Things Above Death," where Lily Darrow, the late mother of the children, has been waiting. She invites them into the House of Darkling, a wondrous place filled with enchantment, mystery, and strange creatures that appear to be, but are not quite, human.
However, everything comes with a price, and as Charlotte begins to understand the unspeakable bargain Mrs. Darrow has made for a second chance at motherhood, she uncovers a connection to the sinister occurrences in Blackfield and enters into a deadly game with the master of Darkling—one whose outcome will determine the fate of not just the Darrows but the world itself.
Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling is a Victorian Gothic tale about family ties, the realm beyond the living, and the price you pay to save those you love.
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Top customer reviews
It begins with Charlotte Markham becoming a governess for 2 boys, in an estate where the mother has recently died. Charlotte also lost her husband recently in a fire. In fact Charlotte is now alone after the death of her parents amd her husband. Now she has started a new life - and that is where things become weird
Here's where I got a little befuddled. Perhaps it is because I am lacking the imagination, but I had a hard time mentally visualizing the bizarre curiosities of Darkling that are described. As Charlotte attempts to discern the workings of this mysterious land, she meets a variety of immortals, who are in the midst of a political struggle. This added to my confusion even more. Who are these strange beings who are not gods, just squabbling creatures unable to experience death? I felt the motives for their "war" were indeterminate and the game that Charlotte was playing with the master of the House of Darkling was puzzling. If the struggle was more clearly defined, I would have liked this book a lot more. It had potential (especially after reading about the author's personal connection in the extras), but I think if The Ending were written as well as the non-fantastical parts, it would have succeeded more. The original Victorian sensibilities got muddled in the confusion of The House of Darkling. Despite this, there were aspects that I did appreciate: the characters were well written, the atmosphere was tangible, and the story was original. The redeeming qualities just barely outweigh the flaws in the plot.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher.
Charlotte Markham is the governess to the young Darrow boys. When their nanny is found murdered in a most gruesome fashion, it is Charlotte who steps in to take care of the boys. It is when during one of their daily walks that they encounter a fog draped forest and beyond a dark house that wasn’t there before does she realize that not all is as it seems. For waiting in that dark house is the boys’ supposedly dead mother and a strange man in black.
Charlotte Markham is an excellent first novel. While it touts itself as a ‘Victorian Gothic’ tale, in truth the mish mash of manners, character actions and reactions and style of speech, make it a bit harder to pin down. It is definitely a dark and gothic tale, reminding me of works by Neil Gaiman. So much so that there were a few times where I almost expected one of the Endless from Gaiman’s popular Sandman series to pop up. I’ll let you, dear reader, decide who I was expecting to see should you read this book.
From what I have seen, Charlotte Markham has received decent reviews. My own voice will have to be included because I truly liked it. The style was very smooth and at times quite creepy especially when it came to the goings on in the House of Darkling. I found the end a tad rushed but the fact that it was left open ended make up for that. For some characters their fate was spelled out but for others we are left with a question mark.
Should Boccaciono write more – and I hope he does – it is my sincere wish he return to this land that he has created in Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling. It is a rich world ripe for a wide variety of stories.
Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling was written by a fellow University of Central Florida alumni, so naturally I wanted to read what he wrote. Although I never met him while attending school there, and we didn't graduate in the same departments, it is the first UCF graduate I've ever read a book by, so I personally find that to be a very cool thing.
That being said, this isn't the normal style of a novel that I would gravitate towards reading for fun. Although I do enjoy gothic tales and stories involving the paranormal, I honestly would have just passed this one up. I am so glad I didn't do that! This is an exceptionally well written book in a style that may not be the most popular, but it is a creepily good read. I would have enjoyed it being a bit more scary, but it was still good.
Overall, I think Boccacino did an excellent job with this novel. The characters were all intriguing and developed well enough for me to care about (which is crucial for me finished a novel). I definitely recommend it to people who like stories told in a "Gothic" style.
* Thank you to the publisher of Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling, William Morrow, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.
Most recent customer reviews
Overall review: I loved this book so much.Read more