Leslie's Reviews > Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling: A Novel

Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling by Michael Boccacino
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Aug 01, 12

bookshelves: gothic, fantasy
Read from July 20 to 30, 2012

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 visited his mother’s new home and draws a map detailing its location in a nearby woods. Charlotte takes the children on a walk following the directions on the map and along the way they cross over to The Ending, a mystical place in another world where they are greeted by Lily, the boys’ mother, looking very much alive.

Lily has made a sinister bargain with the owner of The House of Darkling where she now resides. The boys are not to tell anyone they have seen her, it’s part of the deal she made, and that is all she will say. She begs Charlotte to bring the children back for another visit. Charlotte suspects that some of the evil that has been plaguing the local town is connected to The Ending, but agrees to return anyway for the sake of the children. Charlotte soon becomes caught up in her own deadly game with the master of Darkling. As she begins to put her plan in place, the true horror of Darkling is revealed.

Part Victorian Gothic and part dark fantasy, this is a wonderfully creepy tale told from Charlotte’s point of view. With beautiful writing and lyrical prose we are introduced to an amazing land populated by a cast of unusual and sometimes ghastly creatures in an alternate world called The Ending, a place where time doesn’t exist, and where no one can die.

The story was richly detailed with well-developed characters and just enough world building to set the tone, bringing out the macabre aura of The Ending. Lily would read bedtime fairy tales to the children from a book called Laura Parker Wolfe’s Tales of The Ending, creepy stories within the story. I loved the atmosphere the author created, the descriptions of the alien residents of Darkling, noises in the night, objects that came to life, moving walls that open and close at will, strange paintings that become animated and a most unusual library.

Initially the story has a Jane Eyre feel to it but soon becomes more magical as we spend time in The Ending, with the tale turning darker as it progresses. Even though it does have some moments of horror, there is enough mystery, charm and even weirdness to appeal to a wide range of readers. An enjoyable book which I heartily recommend. I am looking forward to future work from Michael Boccacino.
Posted on my blog: http://t.co/rLiiksFl
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message 1: by Cecilia (new) - added it

Cecilia Thanks for pointing me to this book, Leslie! I marked it to read.

Cheers!


Leslie Cecilia wrote: "Thanks for pointing me to this book, Leslie! I marked it to read.

Cheers!"


Glad you liked the review.


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