The Haunting Of Hope House – Astrid Addams
Reviewed by Steve Stred
First things first – this story has so much potential, it hurts me that it failed in execution. The Haunting of Hope House by Astrid Addams is her debut novel and to say it has some growing pains would be an understatement.
I am an incredibly easy going reader, most little nit-picky things don’t get to me and even (in this case a mild change; Aggie to Agga) a change of a character’s name doesn’t always derail the plot for me. To me it just reads that the author needed to go through and have another go at the draft. Maybe get a different set of eyes to read it. I have had the same thing with a short story collection, and I ended up re-releasing mine after having it re-edited. In some cases, the author is just so excited to physically have their own book out it gets rushed.
(Reviewers note – I am currently in a re-editing re-release situation with one of my own books. I have some sympathy here, but hope to see a re-edited version of this book as well!)
So here is my thoughts on the three major things I saw;
1 – Plot. This alone is both intriguing but not all that original. A house with a gruesome history is left to a single mom and her kids, who are struggling with a recent bout of bad news and tragedy. For the same reasons I can’t watch American Horror Story, this book struggled with pacing. This is a rare book, for me at least, that needed another 100-200 pages of length. Some key moments are skimmed over, certain things are reiterated time and time again, to a point of it becoming unnecessary, and some of the characters could use a little bit more depth. The history of the house is fascinating and I wish it was fleshed out more. And as the plot twists come, some seen well in advance, some not seen until it happens, you wish the author had been more thorough beforehand.
2 – Editing/Draft. As mentioned before, I think this book could have used one or two more read through’s. During the last chapter and the epilogue there were parts that felt more dictated less written. Sentences or phrases that were disjointed and abrupt that read more like someone had spoken them into a device and it typed it into the software for the author. Additionally the climactic scene was short. I wish it had been three to four pages long, not a single paragraph.
3 – Jargon/slang. If you are someone who doesn’t enjoy jargon or slang that isn’t used in the country the story is set in, you will probably have trouble with this book. The author is from the UK but the tale is set near Seattle in the USA. This leads to multiple uses of Solicitor (instead of Lawyer), boot of the car (trunk), jumper (instead of sweater or sweat shirt) and the most telling of all is many, many sentences of dialogue begin with the term ‘Oy.’ Oy is never used over in North America. This aspect of jargon misuse could have easily been explained by simply having the family move over from the UK to the USA to live with Alice’s brother. But alas, it is not.
Overall, The Haunting of Hope House has so much potential that I stuck with it. I wanted to know what happened, and why it was happening. I suspended my disbelief when certain things were skimmed over leaving me wanting more. I think this is a decent starting off point for Astrid Addams, and with time and feedback comes experience. I expect big things from her, seeing how ambitious this first one was. If you love haunted house tales, I would suggest giving it a go!
Star Rating (out of 5): 2.5*
Hope House has a past so gruesome and evil, that few people dare to set foot on the property. Until out of the blue, Alice inherits Hope House. With nowhere else to go, money lenders and her own horrific past at her heels. She decides that Hope House will make a good family home. Ignoring the houses past, Alice brings her two kids and her sceptical brother to the house for the weekend. Soon after their arrival, the evil within the house is released.
Nasty smells, bad energy and ghostly figures haunt the corridors of Hope House. Furniture moves all by itself and something foul lives in the garden and behind the wall that partitions the house in two. Something that drives Alice to her brothers throat and haunts the kids.
The family soon become trapped at the house with no way out as both the evil within and the money lender descend. Can Alice and her family outsmart the money lender whose driven them to the derelict house? Is the strange old woman who knocks on their door right about Alice’s daughter Madison’s gift? Can they use it to fight the evil within the house that’s still hungry? Or will they become the latest ghosts to haunt Hope House?
Steve has a new book coming out will ALL PROCEEDs going to charity!
Please read the following announcement and we’d love it if you could preorder ‘Dim The Sun’.
Steve Stred is an up-an-coming Dark Horror author. Steve is the author of the novel Invisible, the novellas Wagon Buddy, Yuri and Jane: the 816 Chronicles and two collections of short stories; Frostbitten: 12 Hymns of Misery and Left Hand Path: 13 More Tales of Black Magick.
Steve also has a number of works on the go and enjoys all this horror, occult, supernatural and paranormal.
Steve Stred is based in Edmonton, AB, Canada and lives with his wife, his son and their dog Oj.
You can follow Steve on Twitter @stevestred
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