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The Godsend

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  432 ratings  ·  80 reviews
Bonnie. Born in mystery of an unknown mother. Abandoned the morning of her birth. Adopted by the Marlows, who already have four children of their own.

Once unleashed, where will it end? The ultimate evil. Profound. Shattering. Ask Bonnie - demonic possession is child's play.

At first they are accidents. The crib death of the Marlow
Paperback, 223 pages
Published March 1st 1977 by Avon Books (first published January 1st 1976)
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Average rating 3.76  · 
Rating details
 ·  432 ratings  ·  80 reviews

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Apr 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of "Evil Children" stories
 I'm a lover of stories about evil children- I can't help myself. I'm happy to report that I loved this story too.
Alan and Kate have four children already when they meet a mysterious pregnant woman in the park. In a strange series of events, the woman ends up birthing her child in Alan and Kate's house and the story begins.
From there the atmosphere and tension continuously builds, always leaving the reader guessing. Always leaving the reader wondering at the truth. This story was skillfully t
Apr 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: valancourt
Alan and Kate Marlowe are a happy, young couple with four children of their own. When a series of circumstances lead to an abandoned newborn baby girl being left in their care, they look at her as a godsend, and eagerly incorporate her into their lives.

It doesn't take long before grievous misfortunes begin occurring once baby Bonnie is brought in.

I admit that I had a preconceived notion of this being another "Omen" or "Bad Seed" story, but it was so much more! Taylor's writing style has such an
Rob Twinem
Feb 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bernard Taylor is such a unique and unassuming voice in the world of horror fiction. His writing style is direct, very easy to assimilate and read, a type of cosy horror and just when you think it is safe he confronts you with something totally unexpected.
Alan and Kate live the idyllic life, in the picturesque village of Little Haverstraw, with their four beautiful children Sam, Davie, Lucy and baby Matthew. Alan is an illustrator and he works from his own studio close to the family home, and
4 stars--I really liked it.

Bernard Taylor is an excellent horror writer--he really makes you really care about his characters before he ruins their lives! This book has some particularly distressing things happen. I'm glad Valancourt has brought some of his titles back into print. Recommended for horror readers.
Leah Polcar
3.5. (Or to do a Kemper, 3.76). I think this ends up getting a "liked it" rating rather than something a bit higher simply because the idea of evil child wreaking havoc is so played. Which is not Taylor's fault -- he wrote this in what, 1977? Was Macauley Culkin even born then? Be that as it may, this deserves its three and a half stars since the trope is well-presented and the writing is solid. The only thing I really missed here was an elaboration on exactly where this kid came from, though I ...more
Maxine Marsh
Well, that was traumatizing.
Jul 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book is a cross between Rosemary's Baby and The Omen. The Marlowe's are blessed with four wondering children. One day in the park. the family meets this mysterious pregnant woman. The woman goes back to the Marlowe's house and has her baby. Later on in the day, Kate goes to check on her and she has vanished. Allan and Kate grow to love Bonnie and want to make her a part of the family. When Bonnie is adopted, strange things begin to happen at the Marlowe household. Allan believes that Bonnie ...more
Dec 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Well-paced thriller following in the footsteps of the 1970s evil children era. Bonnie is all blonde curls and twisted machinations as she steadily destroys her adopted family, sibling by sibling. The narrative runs at a steady clip and the characterization is a bit tepid, but a fast enjoyable read, nonetheless. The ending came across as trite with a typical cliffhanger that really didn't come as a surprise. Not my favorite of the "bad children" books, but fairly decent. ...more
May 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle-lending
This book flows very, very well. Before you know it, you've finished it. I would have liked a little bit more horror but if you really think about Kate, it's pretty messed up. ...more
Alex (The Bookubus)
The Godsend is a tense and emotional story about a family who take in an abandoned baby. The parents, Alan and Kate, already have one daughter and three sons but when this baby enters their lives they immediately fall in love with her, name her Bonnie and she becomes part of their family. As time goes on, the family experiences tragedy upon tragedy and Alan begins to suspect adorable Bonnie is to blame.

This was my second Bernard Taylor novel and while I didn't love it quite as much as Sweetheart
Jul 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Valancourt publish vintage horror books, a number of which appeal to me and are sitting on my shelf. This is a "evil child" book, a horror sub-genre which I have never read. For these reasons I was excited to start reading The Godsend. I love the cover on this Kindle edition as it is like the paperback. I can't stand poor quality, cheap covers on e-books.

Baby Bonnie is adopted by a family of six, two parents with four children, after her mother disappears. She quickly settles in and the horror b
Melissa Helwig
Sep 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
Alan and Kate have the perfect family with four young children. Until they take in a pregnant drifter and she gives birth, leaving them with the baby girl. The couple adopts her, names her Bonnie and loves her just as much as their other children. But as she grows older, the other children begin to die in horrible ways. Alan blames Bonnie, but Kate is blinded by her love for the child and can't see that she's evil. Alan must get Kate to see the truth about Bonnie before she kills all their child ...more
Alexa "Naps" Snow
Oct 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Oh man, "Godsend" sucked me in last night and I had to know what will happen next. Chills went down my spine as Bonnie, the baby joined the family. Sometimes books about happy families just annoy me. Nothing about this happy family annoyed me. But things go bad and this adorable family will never be the same. Oh, my heart. ...more
Kurt Reichenbaugh
Oct 25, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror
Good 1970s style horror. We've all been exposed to lots of evil-child stories as horror fans. I liked the "cuckoo" analogy to this one. It's also very well written. Stories told in the 1st person can be problematic as the narrator already knows the outcome before he/she begins telling you what happened to them. This novel overcomes that challenge in a fair way. No gore and grue in this one, so if that's your thing you may be disappointed. Fans of The Other should like it. ...more
Ken Saunders
Feb 23, 2019 rated it liked it
"You could stand by the plum-trees and hear the buzz of the wasps' wings as they settled on the over-ripe fruit."
  I like the way Mr. Taylor writes about nature and the supernatural. Like SWEETHEART, SWEETHEART, THE GODSEND opens outdoors, this time at a family picnic rather than a graveyard, and with a wasp poking around instead of that brilliant ghost story's busy spider. While THE GODSEND's menacing force of nature turns out to be inspired by a parasitic bird rather than by a spider or wasp,
This hardcover edition is number 40 of 250 copies for sale and is signed by:

Bernard Taylor
Bev Vincent
Lisa Desimini
Jun 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to my husband, who suggested I read this creepy, insidious horror book. Like THE BAD SEED, Bonnie of THE GODSEND is just pure evil. Bernard Taylor uses a less is more style that leaves room for interpretation, which I liked a lot. I can't wait to read more of these old horror books! ...more
Jason Kron
Oct 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
The first half is a decent slowburn, but the second half is where it really gets bananas, especially when you start to wonder what's real and what may be the potentially murderous imagination of the dad. Killer kid horror books are just the best. ...more
Oct 31, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, 2017, e-book, dark
I hate reading an author's works out of order. Aside from the fact that I lose seeing the author develop a style through his works, it also means I take a step backward, as few writers write their best books first. In the case of The Godsend, I found a fine book, full of claustrophobic horror, slowly-mounting tension, and a narrator who may or may not be reliable, but I also found a book that isn't quite as good as Taylor's follow-up, Sweetheart, Sweetheart.

The Godsend is about a couple with fou
Feb 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Godsend is one of the OG demon child, bad seed, 1970's evil kid horror classics. Alan and Kate Marlowe have 4 beautiful children, a great marriage, and a cozy little life in a small village in England. One day they take their family to the park, and encounter a mysterious pregnant woman sitting alone. Kate tries to strike up a conversation with her, but there is something off about the woman. The encounter is quickly forgotten until bizarre circumstances cause the woman to leave her newborn ...more
Mar 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I'll admit it, I don't like children. I never have and here are some of the reasons why I don't like them: they snivel, whine, cry too much, get snotty noses, make messes, are always bugging you for something and remind you of how old you are by growing up. But I do love books and movies about what evil little bastards they can be.

Alan Marlowe's wife Kate makes the mistake of letting the strange pregnant lady they met the day before into their home, the lady just won't go away and when she does
Charles Fischer
Aug 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Okay, maybe I'm overrating this, but I just loved it so much. So I've started into reading all these Valancourt Press titles, which are basically overlooked horror/Gothic titles. The first one I tried was this brilliant novel from Bernard Taylor about how the adoption of a baby slowly begins to destroy this bucolic, middle-class British family. The writing is so unassuming and nicely paced, with little details and glances and observations that end up adding to the engulfing, inevitable horror. T ...more
Mark Hodder
Aug 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016
One of the novels from the “evil child” craze of the 1970s. Even from the perspective of that era, it probably didn’t offer anything new, and certainly for a 21st century reader it’s very familiar territory. Nevertheless, its creepiness is very well paced, the narrator’s fear and helplessness are palpable, and the plot, though straightforward, doesn’t disappoint.
Grady Hendrix
Nov 26, 2016 rated it liked it
No good deed goes unpunished in this killer kid book about a smug clutch of middle class inertia monkeys who are so content with their own cozy lives that nothing can be done except to unleash an adopted child who soon wipes the complacent, idiot grins from mum and dad's faces with the dead bodies of their other children. ...more
Aug 14, 2020 rated it did not like it
I absolutely hated this book despite liking Bernard Taylor quite a bit. Had I known anything about it going in I'm sure I would have passed. It's typically well written but quickly becomes predictable and cruel. ...more
Oct 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
If evil children are your thing, this is one of the best evil child books of recent memory. Might even convince you to have an evil child of your own.
Nov 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Thanks, Alex! This was incredibly addicting. Obviously had some Rosemary's Baby vibes to it, which I loved. ...more
Eric N.
Jan 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, love-it
A masterful evil child story. Reads quickly and builds a believable world and serious creepiness. Made into a movie in 1980.
Nov 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the most sinister books I have ever read. A great horror author will bring forth the worst that can happen, and that's certainly the case here. Do not miss this brilliant gem! ...more
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Valancourt Books: The Godsend (1976) by Bernard Taylor 9 20 May 23, 2015 05:27PM  

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Bernard Taylor was born in Swindon, Wiltshire, and now lives in London. Following active service in Egypt in the Royal Air Force, he studied Fine Arts in Swindon, then at Chelsea School of Art and Birmingham University. On graduation he worked as a teacher, painter and book illustrator before going as a teacher to the United States. While there, he took up acting and writing and continued with bot ...more

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