Abberton House by Debbie Ioanna, a review

At it’s heart, Abberton house is a ghost story. A young family move in to a gorgeous old house in the countryside and are beset upon by things that go bump in the night, as well as in the daytime. But it is so much more than this too. Abberton House is really the tale of two families. One in 2016, a couple with a young daughter who move in to Abberton House to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, and one in 1916. A family separated by war and all the troubles and hardship that go with it. 

The lives of the two families are written side by side, with a few chapters setting up events in 2016 and then taking us back through time to 1916. The book flicks back and forth like this throughout, keeping everything fresh and never giving the reader chance to burn out. It keeps us guessing and wanting more.

The transitions are seamless and the writing of life 100 years apart is very well done indeed. Even down to the style of writing one might expect to see in the hand written correspondence between husband and wife during the war. It left me feeling that what I had read could easily have been found lying underneath a glass panel with some medals, handed down through generations until it was finally donated to a museum. It really did help to get me immersed.

Not only is the writing style and tone brilliant but the horror aspect is done perfectly too. To begin with, as you might imagine, hints are subtle that something spooky is going on, but these hints are placed so effortlessly in the scene that it makes these strange happenings all the more freaky. The descriptions and dialogue between characters as things start to turn a little dark between our modern family really put the creeps in me, and that lasted all throughout the book. Don’t be reading this in the dark or in a big old house yourself, theres no telling where your imagination might sweep you off to! All those strange creeks and noises…

I want to mention also that Abberton House is set in the Yorkshire countryside, somewhere that I know very well. As an adopted Yorkshireman myself, it was really refreshing to hear place names like Keighley and Skipton and I thought the choice to include some broad spoken Yorkshire accents in the dialogue was a very good one. It genuinely made me smile reading it out in my head, though I suspect some readers may ask themselves ‘what on earth did they just say?’ That’s not a negative point by any means though.

All in all, Abberton house is a fantastic read. Great writing, creepy atmosphere, brilliant use of historical setting and some really refreshing local imagery, something I don’t experience very often, if at all in fiction. 

I started reading this book on a somewhat chilly and slightly misty September morning. Autumn had just started to creep in to the air and this book really set the mood for those cold and cozy, yet scary autumn reads. Highly recommended and a perfect way to start off the spooky season.

Finally, thank you once again to the great folks at Panther for the opportunity to review this book. If you haven’t checked then out yet, I strongly suggest you do. Panther have been putting out some fantastic books of late! You can find them at the link below. Thank you for reading.

Check them out here —> pantherpubs.com

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