The September House, a review by Sherry

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The September House
Carissa Orlando

336 pages
Berkley
published September 5, 2023

Amazon | Goodreads

I am torn whether this is more thriller or horror, but either way it was a great way for me to transition into spooky season.  While I was never really scared, it does have a little more than your typical thriller.  It’s a cross between a ghost story and an unreliable narrator.  I was never sure if Margaret was crazy or seeing ghosts.  The book does a great job of letting me waver back and forth and as soon as I made a decision, something in the book made me second guess it.  And as I try and categorize it, it definitely has some dark humor and is a little tongue in cheek at times.  I do really love a book that can pull off dark humor.

This gave me a vibe like those 70s horror movies.  Potergeist, The Exorcist and Amityville Horror.  I’m not sure if the author planned this homage or it was just a lucky coincidence, but either way I loved it.

I connected with Margaret and sympathized with her.  She tried to be so accommodating with the ghosts.  Such patience.  And I felt so sorry for her having to live by all those rules that she first set up to deal with her husband and then the ghosts.

A appreciate that this one was creative and not like other books you will read this spooky season.  With all the books that come out each week, being different is a feat.

You should really kick off you spooky season reads with this clever ghost story.

About the book

A woman is determined to stay in her dream home even after it becomes a haunted nightmare in this compulsively readable, twisty, and layered debut novel.

When Margaret and her husband Hal bought the large Victorian house on Hawthorn Street—for sale at a surprisingly reasonable price—they couldn’t believe they finally had a home of their own. Then they discovered the hauntings. Every September, the walls drip blood. The ghosts of former inhabitants appear, and all of them are terrified of something that lurks in the basement. Most people would flee.

Margaret is not most people.

Margaret is staying. It’s her house. But after four years Hal can’t take it anymore, and he leaves abruptly. Now, he’s not returning calls, and their daughter Katherine—who knows nothing about the hauntings—arrives, intent on looking for her missing father. To make things worse, September has just begun, and with every attempt Margaret and Katherine make at finding Hal, the hauntings grow more harrowing, because there are some secrets the house needs to keep.

 

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