The Restoration: J.H. Moncrieff
Reviewed By Steve Stred
Any new release from J.H. Moncrieff is a cause for celebration and when it’s another dark piece through Flame Tree Press, it’s even more cause for cheering, clapping and happy dancing.
Since discovering Moncrieff’s work a number of years back now, it’s always apparent at the mastery at work when reading her writing. She can craft a dark story while creating fantastic, deep relationship dynamics, even in the most inhospitable of locations (think Return to Dyatlov pass).
But here, we get something “new.” And I put new in quotations because if you’ve read any of her Ghost Writers Series you’ll know she travelled to the most haunted Island in the world to research one of her books. No, I put it in quotations, because this is Moncrieff’s first (at least in my opinion) really dark haunted house story – and the kicker – it’s based around the events that happened when she and other writers spent the night in a haunted house.
What I liked: The story follows a mother and daughter as they move into an old house. The mother, Terri, has been hired to restore the house. She has a fantastic reputation for doing just that. But what they don’t know is that Niles, a boy who once lived there, has returned and he’s not too happy Terri and her daughter Dakota are there.
The story drips with dread and creepiness and it was fascinating to watch the struggle between what Terri wanted to believe and what she understood was happening. We get a number of great twists and turns as well as some fantastic backstory. I really enjoyed it when we were introduced to other people who’d been in the house at one point and how things had gone for them.
Moncrieff does such a great job of using the house itself as a character too, ensuring that nothing feels safe and you never know what will be awaiting the reader in the next room.
The highlight for me here was the mother-daughter relationship. They really were a team and it was great seeing how they had each other’s backs, even as things progressed.
What I didn’t like: Minor thing, but I found we went from 0-60 really quickly at the opening of the book. I think I would’ve loved a bit more time to see Niles be a bit of a trickster before revealing himself, but once he does there’s no going back.
Why you should buy this: Moncrieff has delivered a really great, dark piece, about a mother who wants to provide for her daughter and a daughter who loves her mom more than anything. And we get to see them put to the test when Niles arrives and decides that he’s not so happy they’ve moved in.
Another excellent release from Moncrieff who just keeps getting better and better.
Inspired by the author’s overnight stay in a historical haunted house, The Restoration is a thrilling tale of intrigue, murder, and family secrets that refuse to stay buried.
It was the perfect opportunity…or so she thought. When Terri Foxworth is hired to spend a year restoring a crumbling manor house, she believes she’s hit the jackpot. She moves in with her young daughter and high hopes for the project’s success. As the restoration begins to go terribly wrong, she realizes dark forces won’t let her leave the house until its horrible secrets are revealed.
This job could very well be the death of her.
Steve Stred writes dark, bleak fiction.
Steve is the author of a number of novels, novellas and collections.
He is proud to work with the Ladies of Horror Fiction to facilitate the Annual LOHF Writers Grant.
Steve has appeared alongside some of Horror’s heaviest hitters (Tim Lebbon, Gemma Amor, Adrian J. Walker, Ramsey Campbell) in some fantastic anthologies.
He is an active member of the HWA.
He is based in Edmonton, AB, Canada and lives with his wife and son.
You can follow Steve on Twitter @stevestred
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You can visit Steve’s Official website here