Monday 15 November 2021

The Room In The Attic by Louise Douglas @LouiseDouglas3 @BoldwoodBooks #TheRoomInTheAttic #BookReview


A child who does not know her name…

In 1903 fishermen find a wrecked boat containing a woman, who has been badly beaten, and a young girl. An ambulance is sent for, and the two survivors are taken to All Hallows, the imposing asylum, hidden deep on Dartmoor. The woman remains in a coma, but the little girl, Harriet, awakens and is taken to an attic room, far away from the noise of the asylum, and is put in the care of Nurse Emma Everdeen.

Two motherless boys banished to boarding school…

In 1993, All Hallows is now a boarding school. Following his mother’s death and his father’s hasty remarriage, Lewis Tyler is banished to Dartmoor, stripped of his fashionable clothes, shorn of his long hair, and left feeling more alone than ever. There he meets Isak, another lost soul, and whilst refurbishment of the dormitories is taking place, the boys are marooned up in the attic, in an old wing of the school.

Cries and calls from the past that can no longer be ignored…

All Hallows is a building full of memories, whispers, cries from the past. As Lewis and Isak learn more about the fate of Harriet, and Nurse Emma’s desperate fight to keep the little girl safe, it soon becomes clear there are ghosts who are still restless.

Are they ghosts the boys hear at night in the room above, are they the unquiet souls from the asylum still caught between the walls? And can Lewis and Isak bring peace to All Hallows before the past breaks them first…

The Room In The Attic by Louise Douglas was published in paperback on 12 October 2021 by Boldwood Books. My thanks to the author who sent my copy for review. 

All Hallows is a dark, brooding and crumbling building that has had many guises and holds many secrets. 

The reader is introduced to the building in 2021 as Lewis returns to All Hallows after many years. Lewis is working for a large firm of architects and must visit All Hallows to look at how it can be developed. What appears to be a run of the mill, everyday assignment is something that will stir memories for him. All Hallows featured heavily in his younger life and he's loathe to return.

Lewis first saw All Hallows in the early 1990s. His beloved mother was dead and he'd been packed off to boarding school by his father and his new wife. Stripped of his identity and grieving, he and another boy Isak, form a friendship.

Back in 1903, All Hallows was an asylum and it was there that young child is taken after being found in a wrecked boat alongside an unconscious woman. The child is cared for by nurse Emma Everdeen.

The attic room of All Hallows is, as the title suggests, the central theme of all parts of this story and the author cleverly weaves the three time zones together, giving the reader the chance to experience different times, different characters and one mystery. 

Louise Douglas always writes such beautifully detailed stories filled with a cast of richly imagined characters, theres a touch of Gothic, with a hint of Du Maurier to her writing which is always spellbinding and always enticing. 

I found the story moved quite slowly at the start, but I was able to ease myself in and to appreciate each character and each time setting. As the story progresses the air of supernatural mystery deepens and it wasn't long before I was utterly hooked, quite desperate to know what would come next. 

I really enjoyed the contrast between Nurse Everdeen's story and that of young Lewis and Isak, even though their stories link, there is a distinct difference in the telling. All too often in multiple time line stories, the settings and times can become blurred but this author has excelled here with two styles. 

An entertaining story that draws the reader in and is filled with mystery and suspense. Beautifully imagined and a joy to read. 

Louise Douglas is the bestselling and brilliantly reviewed author of 6 novels including The Love of
my Life and Missing You - a RNA award winner. The Secrets Between Us was a Richard and Judy Book Club pick. 

She lives in the West Country.

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