AND SOON THE SONG Kindle Edition
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- Publication date : March 3, 2014
- File size : 623 KB
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 356 pages
- Publisher : i-Magic Media; 2nd edition (March 3, 2014)
- ASIN : B00ISTXV38
- Language: : English
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- Simultaneous device usage : Unlimited
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,673,309 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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UK author J.D. Hughes has a gift for conveying the sense of place with an economy of words. The book begins with setting the scene through several action sequences, and while the narrative jumps around a bit at first between people and times, it soon comes together. Charlie is a strong female protagonist, an orphan with a murky past. Her photo-shoot in England does not go as she thought it would (yay for us!) and the way she and all the other characters react to the evolving nightmare is well-conceived and real.
There is evil here, and it is really frightening.
J.D. Hughes explores the concept of deeds done in the distant past influencing the lives of the present, building the tension and sense of danger with every turn of the page.
This is a novel with substance, not a quick read, even for me--but it is well worth spending a day or two at it. If you love horror and supernatural thrillers, you will definitely be glad you did.
My first great self-published Gothic fiction find is J.D. Hughes’ And Soon the Song. (Disclosure time: J.D. is an acquaintance, and an occasional visitor to this blog. As always, I’ve tried not to let this influence my evaluation of the book.)
Hearthstone Hall, in rural Derbyshire, is a large Gothic-style mansion, which is described as “a mouth of darkness waiting to suck in the innocent.” Sure enough, during the course of the story the innocent – and the not-so-innocent – duly get sucked into something of a living nightmare. Hearthstone is “bursting with the acquired detritus of nine hundred years of aristocratic banditry” and “full of echoes.” Yet this is not the stereotypical haunted house; what lurks here is altogether stranger and darker. Amongst those being pulled into this heady mix are Charlie, a New York photojournalist, and Tom, an ex-paratrooper haunted by his own past. Hearthstone – or rather, perhaps, the beings that inhabit Hearthstone – seem to be reeling these disparate individuals in for purposes which aren’t immediately obvious, but can hardly be good.
As in much Gothic-style fiction, Hearthstone contains a terrible danger from the past that simply will not be laid to rest. The de Courcys, the Norman family who originally made the Hall their home, still continue to throw a very long shadow over the house and those who live there. More to the point, they continue to influence the present and those who live in it. Though dead, they still exert the power that has been their birthright for so long, and which they have bequeathed to the last straggling descendants of their line.
This, of course, will have immense implications for the ragtag group of individuals who are pulled into the house’s magnetic field, all of whom have their own unique take on the experience. Telling a story from so many viewpoints, encompassing so many characters and events, is tricky, at least if it’s to be done well. I’ve tried it, and failed, on several occasions, which is perhaps why I prefer to concentrate on the small-scale and the intimate. Hughes, much to his credit, succeeds admirably here. Each of the characters adds something vital to the equation, and all are realistic and well-drawn. Even the bad guys – Elyssia (“mad, dead, something hovering in a purgatory between death and release”) and the brutal Angel – have depths that prevent them being stereotypical villains. And have back stories that help to round them out, just as the house and the de Courcys do; and though all of these elements flesh out the story, they never weigh it down.
For all the fast tempo of the novel, there are plenty of ideas thrown into the mix, some of them expressed quite beautifully, like this one: “Truth is a shifting rainbow that we can see from the corner of our eye. When we turn to look fully it becomes something else.” This is a novel with substance: alternate realities, Northern Ireland’s tortured history, the social structure imposed on Saxon England by Norman invaders all come in for attention here, and never seem like padding or a distraction from the story.
Hearthstone Hall itself is beautifully conveyed – the atmosphere, the threat, the history. And (again, a feature of much Gothic fiction) it is a place that dominates the human characters. The Hall is a character in its own right, influencing human actions and moods. The building sense of dread and tension is irresistible, the ending explosive. This is a horror/thriller you won’t want to miss.
Top reviews from other countries
The story of the evils within Hearthstone Hall certainly unravel in a pleasing pace, as do the backgrounds of the characters. I very much enjoyed reading all the latter; I found Tom's feelings for Karen versus Siobhan particularly well portrayed. Throughout the book, the writing itself is extremely intelligent, wonderfully descriptive and, oddly, amusing in parts. The dialogue is spot on and Tom, the main character, really worked for me, as did the old nanny, Simon, Marcus and Charlie. The ending is most satisfactory, too; the only thing worse than a weak beginning is an unsatisfactory ending! I liked the beginning of Book Two, where we were given another tale of the evil deCourcy family, and it moved to America; this gave a good variation. I think the story as a whole would have benefitted from four or five more dips into the past, strategically placed; flashbacks to show how a situation has come about are a great favourite of mine and would have worked very well in this case. I found the whole thing about the evil strain within the family very compelling, and would like to have known more about it. The only other slightly less than positive point I have to make is that I thought it was a little too long; I think it could have been tightened up and some parts made more succinct and - well, shorter. If clever mystery/horror/thriller books are your thing, though, I'd definitely give it a go!
Hearthstone Hall is a pure, classic ghost story environment, but Hughes takes the cliche and turns it on its head with intelligence and a magical grasp of plot and pace while still keeping the scares and frights we all expect in a ghost story. The story generated a lot of emotion in me, particularly with the Angel/Martha relationship and the one between Tom and Chan, but the whole thing is so detailed and real that I couldn't put the damn thing down and even found myself cheering when... but I'll not spoil it other than to say just get this book if you want a cracking read and a totally unexpected ending!