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Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling

3.23 of 5 stars 3.23  ·  rating details  ·  493 ratings  ·  154 reviews
When the nanny to the young Darrow boys is found mysteriously murdered on the outskirts of the village of Blackfield, Charlotte Markham, the recently hired governess, steps in to take over their care. During an outing in the forest, they find themselves crossing over into The Ending, "the place for the Things Above Death," where Lily Darrow, the late mother of the children ...more
ebook, 320 pages
Published July 24th 2012 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published July 1st 2012)
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Arielle Walker
3.5 stars

This book had so much potential! If you saw my status updates you'll know how excited I was for it when I started reading it. However, by the third part of the book I had pretty much lost track of what was going on - and almost stopped caring because of this.

The prose was beautiful, lush and descriptive. Overly descriptive. In many ways, it reminded of of Kirsty Eagar's Night Beach, in that the fantasy part of the story made very little sense but yet was beautifully rendered. Boccacino
POSTED ORIGINALLY: Fangs, Wands and Fairy Dust

Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling
by Michael Boccacino
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks: An Imprint of Harper Collins
Original edition (July 24, 2012)
File Size: 5 KB
Print Length: 320 pages
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks; Original edition (July 24, 2012)
Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
Disclosure: E-Galley provided by writer without expectation. No remuneration was exchanged and, except as noted, all opinions herein are my
This was a strange one. Don't read this book if you:

* Like historical accuracy. This book was set in "the past" (no clue when it was supposed to be), but everyone talked and acted modern.
* Want to read a gothic. There are elements here, certainly, but I would call this a dark fantasy instead.
* Like clear, sensical plots. This was jumbled.
* Like consistent characters with clear motivations (the protagonist in this book makes some bizarre, irrational decisions).
* Don't like horror. I wouldn't call
Audra (Unabridged Chick)
Here's the thing: if this is a Victorian-ish inspired alterna-reality, then this book rocks. However, if it is meant to be a Victorian historical, with supernatural elements à la Henry James, then this book is kind of a big fail. From the start, the setting of the story is fuzzy: I just assumed it was Victorian, from the cover design and the ghostly mystery, but there's nothing specific in the text to place it there, and so my reading -- and review -- might be totally off.

Reminiscent of DuMaurie
This was one of those "oh I wish there were a 4.5 rating" books!

When I started, I thought it would be Rebecca or Jane Eyre-esque: genteel widowed governess in a remote manor home with a recent widower and his two sons. But shortly into it I realized there was a serious dose of Jonathan Strange here.

We open with the murder of Nanny Prum. A witness swears there's a black man to blame, but the village constable thinks it was the work of a savage beast. One of the daily activities Nanny and the boys
Ryan G
I have never thought about reading a slightly lighter Lovecraftian tale told within the confines of a Victorian Gothic novel. It's not something that I even considered before, but now that I've read it, I'm slightly confused as to the reason why nobody thought of doing this before. Now when I say Victorian and Gothic, I'm still speaking of terms of being slightly lighter. None of the thematic elements really dominate the structure of the novel. Instead it's like the author used them as the basic ...more

Charlotte Markham arbeitet als Gouvernante bei der jungen, wohlhabenden Familie Darrow. Selbst aus vermögendem Hause stammend wurde sie durch ein Unglück in diese Rolle getrieben. Schnell hat sie die beiden Jungen James und Paul ins Herz geschlossen, die vor nichtmal einem Jahr ihre Mutter verloren haben. Ihr Vater verliert sich in der Trauer um seine Frau und so brauchen beide Söhne besonders Aufmerksamkeit.
Als dann die Nanny der Kinder zu Beginn des
Charlotte Markham, the newly hired governess to young James and Paul Darrow, finds herself taking on additional responsibilities when Nanny Prum is discovered murdered in the nearby forest. The children’s mother has recently passed away and their father has little time for them.

Charlotte, now both governess and nanny, spends much of her time with the boys. As a break in the monotony of their lessons Charlotte has them describe their previous night’s dreams in a drawing. Paul claims to have visit
Sandy Lu
In the spirit of Sheridan LeFanu, Wilkie Collins, and Edgar Allan Poe, Michael has crafted a fascinating and disturbingly dark Freudian fairy tale for grown-ups and given us a different sort of Faustian monster in Mr. Whatley. The atmosphere crackles, but beneath it all is a sly sense of humor. The novel is epic in scope, but deeply human in its concerns. Not since Coraline unlocked a door and discovered a distorted mirror-world has the simple act of walking through a dense fog revealed such a p ...more
Daniel Cann
This book’s front cover states it is “A Victorian Gothic Tale” and therefore cannot be accused of false advertising. It certainly delivers on this point.

For all its inventiveness, disturbing imagery and atmosphere, I did find it hard to connect with the main characters.

Charlotte Markham is a gutsy and strong protagonist, yet despite all the tragedy in her life, and the turmoil and danger surrounding her during the events of the novel, she seems remarkably calm and stoic. I wanted more emotion an
I'm ashamed to admit that as an avid reader I have yet to read a stitch of Lovecraft, therefore I can't draw a comparison as have many other reviewers. What I can say is that I loved the author's ability to vividly paint a story with word craft.

A surreal story of death and those left behind, Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling takes place in some country estate in the somewhen English village of Blackfield. Governess Charlotte Markham tries to discover the mystery behind the murder of t
Chelsea Pitcher
Initial reaction: Wicked, twisted, dark and delicious. This was a wild ride!

Overall review: I loved this book so much. Boccacino is a master of descriptions, and I was immediately drawn into the lush dual landscapes of Everton and The Ending. One of the things that delighted me about this story is that Boccacino would lull me into a false sense of security by creating a setting that felt vaguely familiar and relatable, and then wham! Everything shifted, the petals of the story unfolded, and sudd
Star (The Bibliophilic Book Blog)
“Charlotte Markham and The House of Darkling” is a disturbingly gothic tale, set in semi-Victorian times. Charlotte Markham has always noticed the ‘man in black’ – he was there when her mother died, her father died, and her husband died. After Charlotte’s husband passed away, she was hired to be the governess for the Darrow boys, James and Paul. Their mother had died and their father had become remote, so they only had Charlotte and Nanny Prum to guide them. When Nanny Prum is found brutally mur ...more
Kayla Eklund
Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling was an interesting book. It was definitely different than what I usually read. The beginning of the book caught my attention right away. I read the first sentence of the book and knew I was going to love it. The middle of the book got boring at times, especially with all the politics being talked about. The ending left me a little frustrated because the reader never gets a direct answer about what happens to Charlotte. It left off with the reader drawi ...more
Housewife Bubuchu
Готика, гротеск, фантасмагория и сюр.
Викторианская страшилка с жутковатыми персонажами, и малопонятным миром, напоминающим тяжелые ночные кошмары про монстров. Но мне, как человеку одолевшему "Книги Нового солнца" Вульфа и "Танцы на краю времени" Муркока любое безумие по зубам.

"Раздались вежливые аплодисменты. Мистер Уотли взял со стола нож и взмахнул им перед собой.

— По нашей традиции устроитель любого празднества приносит гостям дар дружбы, а лучшее, что может предложить кто бы то ни было, —
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
“I have seen beyond the bounds of infinity and drawn down daemons from the stars...I have harnessed the shadows that stride from world to world to sow death and madness...”
(“From Beyond”, H.P. Lovecraft)

Charlotte Markham is haunted by death. As a young child she witnessed a man in black appear at her sick mother’s bedside before she took her last breath, then again whilst her father’s heart gave out and finally when her husband saved her from their burning house. And although she suspects that t
Kara Rae Garland
Somehow three stars doesn't seem like enough, but four seems slightly too many. I enjoyed this book very much, but felt that it started out far too slow and continued in that manner for far too long. There wasn't enough phantasmagoria (for me) in the middle and the stakes didn't seem quite high enough in the end. So there was some energy lacking for me there. I wasn't as excited as I want to be at those points in a book.

I didn't feel that I got an honest, intimate view of the characters; their i
Sharon Thomson
Described as a ‘Victorian Gothic Tale’ this is the story of Charlotte Markham who after the death of her husband becomes governess to young Paul and James Darrow. Lily Darrow, their mother, had died the previous year and their father doesn’t spend much time with them, preferring to mourn in private.

The boys’ nanny, Nanny Prum, is viciously murdered, resulting in Charlotte caring for the boys full-time. One day in class she asks the boys to draw what they dream about. One of the boys draws a map
The Darrow family has suffered great loss of late -- Mrs. Darrow passed away after a long battle with illness and the boy's nanny has recently been murdered, Charlotte Markham, the new governess, steps up as surrogate nanny in addition to her position, determined to do what's best for the boys. After all, Charlotte herself knows great loss as well. While exploring the woods one day, Charlotte and the boys come across a strange house. The House Darkling exists in a different world, one in which M ...more
This book has a lot going for it, and very few things that I can criticize or nitpick. In regard to the latter, there are a couple of elements that aren't exactly the height of unpredictability; there is a fair amount of gore and gruesomeness (especially near the end); and the summary is not kidding when it states that it revolves around death, losing loved ones (particularly parents and spouses), grief and the grieving process, et. al. I know that some readers would rather steer of that kind of ...more
Jennifer Hufford
The author describes the novel on his web site with the comment, "Think of it as 2 cups Jane Eyre, 6 oz of Lovecraft, and a tbsp of Tim Burton", which I think is a perfect description. Also throw a bit of The Turn of the Screw and the movie, The Others, into the mix. Charlotte Markham has been a governess to James and Peter Darrow at the Everton estate for the past nine months when their Nanny Prum is violently and mysteriously murdered in the forest one night. Charlotte takes over as nanny to t ...more
Wow, so much to say about this book, beginning with my disclosure. Michael Boccacino is a cousin to my husband and we're a close Italian family. I've known Michael since he was an infant. So, when it's your time to read this novel, please do me a favor and start with the section called: P.S. Insights, Interviews & More..." That's how I started this novel and was completely caught off guard to learn that despite the fact I knew he was writing a novel, that I had no idea how much of the story ...more
Cheyenne Blue
The third of four books read between Brisbane and Montreal. Long haul flights with limited reading matter have a way of getting you to read books you might otherwise pass up (see my review of "The Cleft") but I would have read "Charlotte Markham" in any event.

A gothic novel about a governess with care of two children whose mother has died. They find their way through the forest to the House of Darkling, an otherworldly place filled with monsters and the undead.

It took me a bit to get into this;
Jane Eyre the Shoggoth Slayer!

Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling is a fascinating, compelling, gothic, grotesque novel in which a young woman, cut almost from the cloth of a Jane Austen novel, embarks on an otherworldly adventure... but the otherworldliness is nothing sedate and ethereal. It's a roller-coaster ride through a world of nightmarish imagery as we follow the plucky governess through the internecine politics of alien species, with their mindbending appearances described in hi
I really wanted to like this book. It looked cool; I like Gothic fiction. But I couldn't get beyond the first couple of chapters. The prose was trying hard to be mysterious and elegant but was instead just vague. I found myself reading a sentence over and over again, thinking, "Does this sentence actually have any meaning?" (Often, as best as I could tell, no.) Characterization was...scant. But the aspect of this book that ultimately made it unreadable were the cultural/historical inaccuracies, ...more
4.5 stars
Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling is a delightful novel. I must recognize it’s been a long time since I last enjoyed a gothic fantasy this much. It tells us the story of Charlotte Markham, an exceptional young widow whose life has been surrounded by too much death: First, her mother’s death when she was almost a kid, then her dad’s and ultimately, her beloved husband’s in a fire in their home. Every time one of her beloved ones dies, she sees a dark gentleman who takes their s
This book was awesome. While reading it I felt like it was Jayne Eye, Coraline, and Turn of the Screw all mashed together with some Lovecraft thrown in. Come to find out, all those were books the author listed as inspiration for the book! Beautifully crafted story, I would like it to be a movie just to see the dinner party scene. I am very excited to see more by this author, phenomenal work for a first novel.
This book could have been so good. But all it had was potential to be good.
The good: the writing was beautiful. The descriptions of people and places were terrific. Good grammar, good use of vocabulary.
The bad: As I said, descrptions were good but there were descriptions of things, events and people who didn't matter at all. I was never able to follow what was really important. For example, there was a three-page description of a town fair. Nothing happened there! Something happened in one of t
I have to agree with another reviewer that thisbook had a lot of potential! I would also give it that extra half star and offer it at 3.5 stars.

It was written well and was very descriptive, possibly too much particularly in the description of the Darkling characters. As quoting another reviewer 'I couldn't work out who Mr Whatley was, what Mr Whatley was, why he was sometimes bad and sometimes good and sometimes neither and then there was another bad guy but was he actually the bad guy'. I have
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