Thursday 7 April 2011

Long Lankin by Lindsey Barraclough

For Review: Random House. 
Published 7 April 2011

From Goodreads:  A chilling, beautiful debut novel inspired by a haunting folk song about murder, witchcraft and revenge. Beware of Long Lankin, that lives in the moss ...When Cora and her little sister Mimi are sent to stay with their elderly aunt in the isolated village of Bryers Guerdon, they receive a less than warm welcome, and are desperate to go back to London. But Auntie Ida's life was devastated the last time two young girls were at Guerdon Hall, and now her nieces' arrival has reawoken an evil that has lain waiting for years. A haunting voice in an empty room ...A strange, scarred man lurking in the graveyard ...A mysterious warning, scrawled on the walls of the abandoned church ...Along with Roger and Peter, two young village boys, Cora must uncover the horrifying truth that has held Bryers Guerdon in its dark grip for centuries - before it is too late for Mimi. Intensely atmospheric and truly compelling, this is a stunning debut.

Not only was Long Lankin one of those books I wanted to reread as soon as I'd finished it but I also wanted to thrust a copy into the hands of everyone I know and demand they read it.  The story is as creepy and atmospheric as the cover suggests and I completely and utterly fell in love with it.

The story begins with Cora and her little sister Mimi arriving in Bryers Guerdon to stay with their Aunt Ada. It soon becomes apparent that their Aunt does not wish for them to stay with her,  but not necessarily for the reasons they first think. Quickly befriending Roger and his brother, the four are drawn into the mystery surrounding the village. Who is the strange man they see lurking in the graveyard? And why is Cora's Aunt adamant they do not go near the old church? Determined to find all the answers Cora begins to undercover the terrifying truth... but will it be too late?

I honestly don't know where to begin. I found the story completely mesmerising - I could not put the book down and I found myself transported back in time to the 1950's to this small village called Bryers Guerdon. Told in alternating viewpoints between Cora, Roger and Ada we slowly uncover the truth. This works brilliantly, cleverly infusing the book with an energy that might have been missing otherwise. It also gives readers the opportunity to get to know each of the characters really well.

Cora is great as the driving force behind the story. She is very determined to find out what is going on, and as such comes across as very strong willed. I found myself liking her straight away. Roger is a fabulous character and I instantly liked him. His segments provide amusement and I loved his family. He prevents the story from being too melancholy and I found myself laughing out loud many times during his narration. At first I didn't particularly like Ada, but as I learned more and more about the history of the village and everything that happens I came to understand and really like her.

The story itself is brilliantly crafted. It's completely believable and compelling - a slow and intense build up that pays off beautifully at the end.  The scenes featuring Long Lankin towards the end are especially creepy - wonderfully so in my opinion.  I can't fault this one at all. A stunning debut.


Ynysawdre Elderly Residents Association said...

Fab review. Confirmation of creepyness that I cannot cope with lol

Jules said...

This does sound good!

I think I would like to read this as
Great write up


Small Review said...

Excellent review! I want to grab a copy and start reading now. I love stories like this.

TheBookAddictedGirl said...

This was on my wishlist and now it's at the top! I soo want it!
Awesome review!

Splendibird said...

This is a great review. A friend is sending me a copy of this this week and I really can't wait to get started on it after reading your thoughts!

Lauren said...

You've summed this up perfectly for me, Sammee - awesome job. I hope everyone who reads this review picks the book up.

Isn't Long Lankin amazing? It's got creepy atmosphere by the bucketload, that's for sure. And I loved the post-war setting, it's so unusual in the kind of books I read.


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