Charlotte Markham, the new governess to the young Darrow children, has now taken over more responsibility for the boys after their nanny has been found murdered in the forest. This is a terrible blow for the two children, as they had recently lost their own mother after a long sickness. One of the boys has strange dreams, which lead them into the forest around their Blackfield estate, and plunge them into a strange new world called The Ending. That is where they find their deceased mother Lily, who resides in the strange and wondrous House of Darkling.
Lily wants to reconnect with her boys, but Charlotte is skeptical of this strange other world. She agrees to bring the boys back again for a visit, but as she gets more involved with the weird human-like creatures connected with the House of Darkling, and as her own friend in Blackfield is stalked by a mysterious being, Charlotte realizes that something is amiss. But can Charlotte convince the boys that they shouldn’t visit The Ending again, or does the strange person who presides over the House of Darkling have other plans?
I was very much interested in reading Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling by Michael Boccacino, as it combines two elements that I very much enjoy – gothic and fantasy. Unfortunately, in the case of this novel, the two genres did not blend seamlessly. The first part of the book I enjoyed and I thought the gothic elements were spot on. The description of Everton, the estate in which the Darrow family resides, was nicely imagined. You could really imagine Everton as a Downton Abbey-like estate, albiet a run down one with a creepiness set deep in its bones. There was also a brooding, handsome widower wandering around the house, which gave the story a Jane Eyre-esque feel. In other words, the set up for a gothic story was perfect.
Where Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling fell short for me was the fantasy part of the story. Sure, the author has some wonderfully descriptive fantasy elements written, especially while the characters visited the House of Darkling, but as the story went on it became more convoluted and hard to follow. It almost felt like the gothic part of the novel has been left behind, only to be replaced with a fantasy story which was not nearly as strong.
In the end, I think that Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling had great potential but just couldn’t decide what kind of story it wanted to tell.
Even though I might have not enjoyed Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling, there are plenty of other reviews you should check out before you decide whether or not this book is for you. Thank you TLC Book Tours for sending me this book for review.
BOOK TOUR STOPS
Tuesday, 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