by Michael Boccacino
Buy From Indigo
Description: 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.
The Good Stuff
- The prose is so hauntingly beautiful
- Story so elequently puts into words the feelings I have had over the loss of my parents -- the part about dreaming of the dead brought tears to my eyes
- Dark and gothic story full of old english manors, governess, death and the paranormal -- dark and spooky, perfect for a cold December night
- The author is truly gifted at setting the mood and landscape. When you put down the story you feel disjointed about being back in reality.
- Unique world inhabited with truly unusual and creepy inhabitants ( the descriptions of certain scenes actually made me go ewww out loud)
- Some wonderful insights into death, life and sacrifice
- The description of the library was fantastical and highly original
The Not So Good Stuff
- Extremely confusing at times. Found myself wondering what the hell (no pun intended) was going on on many occasions
- Drags a wee midway through the story
"Every night I dreamt of the dead. In dreams those who have been lost can be found, gliding on fragments of memory through the dark veil of sleep to ensare themselves within the remains of the day, to pretend for a moment like a lifetime that they might be alive and well, waiting by the bedside whe the dreams is done. They never were, but I could not stop myself from wishing for the possibility that everything I remembered was a mistake, a nightmare taken too literally by the imagination. But morning always came, and with it the startling realization that the dead continued to be so, and that I remained alone."
"We were not so very close together, but the interlacing of our hands channeled a friction through the empty space between us that dimmed the rest of the room, changing the music into something that could only be for us. I did not want it to end, and for a long while it seemed that it never would. We danced and danced until I could no longer feel my legs, just his touch against my own and the deep, primal thumping in my chest."
"The boys had lost their mother. Of course they were dreaming of her. I knew that they were dreaming of her. I had lost my mother nearly 15 years before and still dream of her. It was not something that truly went away. The three of us would perhaps always be bound by our grief, never truly finished with the long nightmare of loss."
Who Should/Shouldn't Read
- For fans of gothic literature most definitely
- Honestly, I felt throughtout reading it that I was in a Tim Burton movie - so if you are a fan of his movies, this will be right up your alley (I can totally see Johnny Depp as Mr. Whatley)
- Wonderful book for a cold winters night - or if you are staying in a Victorian Mansion
I received this from William Morrow in exchange for an honest review
About Michael: Michael Boccacino’s poetry has been published in the St. Petersburg Times. He currently works and lives in New York City. This is his first novel.
Michael Boccacino's website, Facebook, Twitter
Michael graciously agreed to take part in my A Day in the life series
What is a typical day like for you?
I spend a lot of time thinking about what I want to write or should be writing, whether I'm at my day job in advertising or wandering around New York City, and sometimes I actually manage to write something down.
What books have most influenced your life?
The book that impacted me the most was probably Interview with the Vampire, which I read when I was 13 or so. Up until then I had only been reading a mix of techno-thrillers, classics, and young adult horror novels by R. L. Stine. The heady, evocative way that Anne Rice uses language, particularly in that book, helped me realize what novels could do and the kinds of worlds they could create. It really opened my eyes.
What was the first story you ever remember writing and what was it about?
The first short story I ever wrote was a page and a half long, and it was about a woman who had been surgically transformed into a mermaid. I believe she drowned in the end. I was a morbid child, but very well adjusted! Even then I remember being very focused on language and words, and what kinds of pictures could be painted with them.
How do you deal with negative reviews?
Thankfully most people seem to have enjoyed the book so far, and those that haven't were expecting something more historically Gothic than the mix of fantasy-horror that Charlotte really is. But even when there are negative reviews, by the time publication rolled around I'd already seen every kind of response possible from agents and publishing houses that turned us down in the first place, so it gives you a thicker skin. It would be amazing for everyone to love something you've spent so much time creating, but reading is such a subjective, individual thing that I don't take it personally.
What are you working on now?
I'm working on my second novel, which is inspired by the works of Lewis Carroll, C. S. Lewis, and J. M. Barrie. It's a book about children placed into fantastic situations, but written for adults. I hope to be done with my first draft by the end of the year!
If you could be a character from any book, who would it be? and why?
Mr. Darcy, from Pride and Prejudice. He speaks his mind, lives in a fantastic manor home, and occasionally gets to slay some zombies.
What one book would you bring if you were stuck on an island?
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, by Susannah Clarke. It's probably my favorite book of all time, and it's so densely packed with details that I notice something new about it each time I read it.
If you could have one superpower what would it be? and why?
I'd love the ability to grant other people super powers. It would be incredibly interesting to see how people reacted differently to the sudden influx of power.
What are you reading now?
I'm in the middle of two books at the moment:Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell, and A Sense of an Ending, by Julian Barnes. I'm also contemplating a long overdue return trip to Hogwarts in the near future. One can never have too much of the wizarding world!
Thank you very much for taking the time Michael to answer the questions. I truly enjoyed and appreciated your answers!
Michael’s Tour StopsTuesday, July 24th: A Chick Who Reads
Wednesday, July 25th: Unabridged Chick
Thursday, July 26th: Reading Lark
Friday, July 27th: Luxury Reading
Monday, July 30th: Wordsmithonia
Tuesday, July 31st: Into the Hall of Books
Wednesday, August 1st: Under My Apple Tree
Thursday, August 2nd: Jenn’s Bookshelves
Monday, August 6th: Sidewalk Shoes
Tuesday, August 7th: Twisting the Lens
Wednesday, August 8th: Misbehavin’ Librarian
Friday, August 10th: Stephanie’s Written World