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Owl Manor - the Dawning (Owl Manor Trilogy Book 1) Kindle Edition
A tale of unspeakable murder, a doomed alliance, and retribution from the beyond
Sometimes the tide sweeps us into a fog where dark forces are at work…suddenly good and evil become blurred. Powerless and defenseless, we swim toward it, and wonder if we’re going mad.
Eva is born in the wrong era. In 1800s America, women are required to obey their husbands without question and to submit to their presumed superiority. But Eva wants more. Willful and ambitious, she considers herself equal to men. But the times are unrelenting, and it is her curse to remain unheard.
Rafe is a misogynist. Born of a demented mother who shattered his childhood and family, he is forever tormented by a scathing mistrust of women.
The tide brings them together at Owl Manor, a place shrouded in darkness, forsaken by the sun. A place where owls breathe in the very fabric of the walls, and shadows wander the passages. Where good and evil blur.
Will Eva make the right choice?
Owl Manor – the Dawning, the first in a trilogy of Gothic suspense novels, is inspired by authors such as Daphne du Maurier (Jamaica Inn), Carlos Ruiz Zafon (Shadow of the Wind), Shirley Jackson (The Haunting of Hill House).
"Gothic was never like this in that Zita Harrison digs deeper and ranges farther. I think she may write with the spirit of Shirley Jackson peering over her shoulder.” – Mallory A. Haws: The Haunted Reading Room Reviews
“Deep character exploration rarely seen in 21st century fiction.” – N. N. Light’s Book Heaven
“Highly recommended for fans of gothic suspense and macabre ghost stories.” – Matt Gianni, author of Lever Templar
BOOK 2, OWL MANOR – ABIGAIL, COMING IN THE FALL OF 2020!!
"Owl Manor the Dawning is an amazing gothic horror novel that instantly takes you back to a time where life was harder and misery seemed to love company. The story follows Eva, Mr. Bradstone, Gilbert, and Joseph on a wild ride to madness, and every single unexpected twist and turn left me breathless. Zita Harrison's writing is reminiscent to Poe, in which the entire story comes alive and leaves you anxiously turning the pages to see what is going to happen. The foreshadowing is amazing, and if you aren't careful, you just may miss it (and it is so much more fun to find them the second time around!). Zita Harrison does an incredible job with this epic gothic horror novel. Her story will stay with me long, and I will never look at owls the same again!"
- Silvia Curry, Editor, Silvia's Reading Corner
Overall rating: 4 outof 5
A line in the bookthat stoodout to the reviewer:
"...but even withinthatoblivion had stirred something dark and malevolent."
"Owl Manor is a wonderful example of Regency style Gothic horror,heavy on the tropes of the genre, but still telling a taut and masterful story.The heroine is a mix of a modern feminist in thought, trapped in an age wherewomen are commodities, and a naive young woman that so often features in thesegothic novels. It sounds jarring but provides modern readers a reason to rootfor our young Eva as she pits herself against Owl Manor and the secrets within.There are all the right ingredients for a gothic novel - a large sweeping manorhouse, the spirits of murdered young women, a dark and foreboding man, and ourheroine, plunged into the middle of all this in a mix of fate and poor lifechoices; which lead to some comical moments when read with a modern viewpoint,but make perfect sense within the body of the novel. The book has some standout moments - the toxic and yet seemingly irresistible draw of Owl Manor andits owner is skillfully written, and the descriptions and comportment of thehousehold are true to the era. The romance, which is a tense slow burn, reallyadds to the book, as we know it is a bad idea, and yet, the participants cannothelp themselves, and like any good tragedy, we the readers must buckle down toobserve the fallout.It has a few flat moments too - some of the characters area little single-minded in their "evil", and the overarching plotmakes me think that the author has strong opinions on the subjects within -which can draw one out of the novel. However, overall, Owl Manor was a greathorror novel, and I sat and read it in one sitting, enjoying the spookyambiance and delighting in reading all my favorite Regency motifs in one place."
- International Review of Books --This text refers to the paperback edition.
- ASIN : B07H9JDFMN
- Publisher : Zealous Arts Publishing (October 15, 2018)
- Publication date : October 15, 2018
- Language : English
- File size : 3514 KB
- Simultaneous device usage : Unlimited
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 360 pages
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,587,105 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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This book opens in 1859, a time when "women were required to obey their husbands without question and to submit to their presumed superiority." ...
The story is told from four perspectives: Eva (who had plans for a different kind of life when she married Lewis); *the serial killer who is murdering prostitutes (in letters to his dead father); Gilbert Brown (who works for Mr. Rafe Bradstone, owner of Owl Manor); and Joseph Hadley (drunk, gambler, all-around degenerate)...
Ms. Harrison is a good gothic-themed storyteller — I had dark, gloomy images playing out in my head as I read the book — I felt chills running up and down my spine... The brooding master of Owl Manor was an intriguing character with deep, dark secrets — I had to know everything about him... Owl Manor itself felt perfectly creepy and I could imagine it being haunted... The murderer made my skin crawl — I thought he was pure evil...
The story really picked up at the half-way point — from there, I could not put the book down! There were unexpected twists that I did not see coming and the story continued to take me to places I had yet to imagine. I was captivated and the pages just flew by... Death, destruction, new beginnings and hope — could things change or were they destined to remain the same? I was immersed in the story, I cared about the characters and I hoped for the best, while expecting the worst...
The ending was a perfect set-up for the next book in the trilogy and it cannot come soon enough! I am dying to see where the story goes from here...
AfterThoughts: *the identity of the serial killer is revealed to readers, but you will have to read the book to find out who he is...
I am not a fan of romance novels, but this book was more gothic-suspense slash dark historical fiction than romance (I am not even convinced that romance was involved in this story) — just my opinion...
This is a story with good overall writing, and deeply atmospheric sense of setting, and a fairly satisfying cast of characters. I enjoyed discovering a new (to me) writer, and I was most pleasantly surprised by how well this author tells a story. The prose is developed and immersive.
On the con side, there’s some overwriting, especially in Eva’s first-person chapters. The third-person chapters read smoothly to me and are really nicely done, and I kept thinking the author must have more practice with that style. Eva, in her first-person chapters, had a habit of being overly aware/overly descriptive of her actions and feelings; at times there’s a blow-by-blow aspect to what she’s doing in any moment. These sorts of details work better in third person, where there’s often more distance between the reader and the character.
I also had difficulty really wanting to spend much time with the characters, and I think this is partly because for the most part they don’t really want to spend much time with each other. It could be the slight overwriting that pushes me away; the odd paragraph that doesn’t pull much weight.
Back to the many things that work. The overall story structure is good and the characters are developed. There’s tension and conflict, a very nice movement of plot, and lovely setting. I had a great sense of the era. The owls are fun, a really nice element carried throughout, and it bears repeating that the writing is quite good. For these reasons I’ll happily give this book five stars.
The man, the main character—a good match. With traumatic childhood and sadistic habits, he nevertheless was likable. Sort of Beauty and the Beast story. A lot of description of feelings, contemplations. The development of the relationship was slow but engaging, and the ending... was a nice surprise. Not what I though it was going, so quite shocking. Now that I think about it, it's perfect for a book like Owl Manor.
Top reviews from other countries
This is a tale of unspeakable murder. Murders committed by Rafe, a man who's life has been shattered by his childhood experiences. A man who blames women of the night for his own mother's shortcomings.
This is about a doomed alliance between Rafe and Eva. Eva is a woman who yearns for independence. She is headstrong and considers herself, quite rightly, equal to the men that surround her.
This gothic tale includes retribution from the grave. Owl manor is dark and imposing and the owls lie in wait to take their revenge.
Although Eva wants so much more from life, her battle to achieve it leaves her fighting her husband and fighting to survive, literally hand to mouth at times. Rafe's servant Gilbert offers her a job at Owl manor when she is at her most desperate. It is whilst working at Owl manor that Rafe and Eva get together, as unlikely as that might seem at first. However, he is a man who accepts her opinions and she is a woman who calms his unhinged mind. For a while at least. I wanted Eva to try and understand Rafe's troubled mind but he was not a man who gave much away. In fact we only have insight into his personality from letters he wrote to his dead father. All his deepest thoughts are written down but never spoken or read by anyone. Typical of the man. But perhaps delving into the mind of a serial killer is best left alone.
It was a pity that in order to be wilful and ahead of her time in her thinking, Eva also had to be a neglectful mother. Equality and motherhood can and does work, but I get that this has to be the case for the sequel to work.
At the end of the book I discovered that the author had also designed the book cover. I'm well impressed because the cover is fantastic.
Altogether I think it was well written, a bit slow in places for me but I think this suits the genre.