Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Loney” as Want to Read:
The Loney
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Loney

3.27  ·  Rating details ·  13,069 ratings  ·  1,785 reviews
"If it had another name, I never knew, but the locals called it the Loney - that strange nowhere between the Wyre and the Lune where Hanny and I went every Easter time with Mummer, Farther, Mr and Mrs Belderboss and Father Wilfred, the parish priest.

It was impossible to truly know the place. It changed with each influx and retreat, and the neap tides would reveal the skele
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published August 27th 2015 by John Murray (first published September 29th 2014)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Loney, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
LeAnne: GeezerMom The baby was not malformed, but it was charmed in some way. The fact that Else was only 13 but had had many babies made me think that she wa…more<spoiler> The baby was not malformed, but it was charmed in some way. The fact that Else was only 13 but had had many babies made me think that she was timeless, that perhaps she and Laura and Leonard had been selling "cures" for decades but never aged.

The baby represents the Christ child in a disturbed pagan way, and during the week leading up to the Easter crucifixion, I think that they harmed the baby every time a paid customer showed up. Remember the bloody hands on Leonard when the boys showed up unexpectedly? At first, I thought it was from delivering the baby but when it was wailing in the cellar and suddenly heard Leonard coming down to it, the pitch changed entirely into screams of terror. I think they likely stabbed it in the stigmata way.

When a paying customer was placed next to the baby and the harm was done, that person's clawed hand (remember Collier couldn't work for five years because of his), blind mushroom colored eyes, jaundice, arthritis, etc were transferred onto the sacrificial baby. Once all payments were taken in, they'd kill and leave it.

Years later, when someone rang the bell on New Years, it was a call to Leonard that new paying customers were ready.

Of course, I could be bewitched and totally wrong! But wow...this book makes you tie little things together. Loved it. </spoiler>(less)
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
magnus hole
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.27  · 
Rating details
 ·  13,069 ratings  ·  1,785 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Loney
This was a bit of an odd one. Maybe my expectations were too high after all the praise I've heard about it, but I didn't find myself connecting with this in the same way that others have. Too much was left unexplained, meaning by the half way mark I was beginning to lose my patience, and I really struggled to see where the story was going. The ending itself left me mystified. I didn't realise going into this that there would be so much on religion, as it follows a devoutly (I would say fanatical ...more
Michael Forester
Jan 02, 2016 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Michael by: jacqueline Haskell
This shining star of a book has been so thoroughly praised I feel like a heretic in raising my lonely voice in disagreement!

Let me start, though, with what I enjoyed about The Loney. Firstly, Andrew Hurley's prose is lucid and visual, evocative of the scenes he is describing to the extent that I felt unusually present in the narrative. His characters are thoroughly well drawn - and that's no easy accomplishment in a multi-character novel like this. He also manages to engender, from the beginnin
Bill Kerwin

I love many kinds of novels, but near the top of my list are the following: scary novels, coming-of-age novels, novels with a sense of place, novels with a gothic atmosphere, well-written novels, novels set in rural backwaters, novels featuring houses with secrets, novels with emotional depth, and novels which deal honestly with questions of faith in an age of eroding belief. How lucky I was to have found The Loney, Andrew Michael Hurley's first novel. His book is all the things listed above and
Jan 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Well deserved Costa First Novel Winner (2015)

There's a lot that could have gone wrong in this book. Every gothic/horror motif you can think of forms part of the story, including: moors/crumbling old house/dark and dank weather/broken down vehicles/woods/voracious nature/priests/animal mutilation/witches/laughing rooks... etc etc. It is fuelled by myth and susperstition. The Loney is personified, a character itself, full of malevolent will. Death lives there; natural or unnatural, it has become u
May 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
It begins with the discovery of a child's body. Smith is the narrator of The Loney. He is looking back on events from his childhood and they are presented with all the innocence of the time and non of the hindsight of the adult. Drenched in atmosphere and relentlessly bleak, the Loney is an isolated, ominous and foreboding part of the northern coast where the incessant rain never stops. The book draws on some of the best in gothic literature in its storytelling.

Smith who looks after his mute an
Maxine (Booklover Catlady)
Astonishing literary fiction with a gothic dark undertone that had me alert from beginning to end. I read this in hours, unable to put it down and it's a powerfully written novel that doesn't need a fast pace or out of this world twists or in your face horror to get the story across to you. Mesmerising and disturbing.

The Loney is a bleak place off the coast of Lancashire, England. A place steeped in history, religious belief and dark undercurrents. A pilgrimage is made back to this mournful plac
LeAnne: GeezerMom
Fantastic, dark read especially for Halloween and for those who are fans of the first season of True Detective, Just finished this for the second, maybe third? time. The slightly freaky build up in the first third has little tidbits you may not really note the first time through, but in hindsight, the first chapters contain foggy clues as to the nature of what is to come.

ORIGINAL REVIEW: The Loney has me! A long, malevolent spit of sand reaching out into the cold Irish sea, the Loney also holds
Jul 14, 2015 rated it did not like it
I struggled with this story. I was never quite sure where it was going, or why it was going there. I felt I should have been more on edge than I was, and more shocked than I actually felt. It was dark, but not disturbing enough to really shock me, and it tiptoed around the edges of what was actually happening so that I came away wondering what I'd actually just read about. Not really to my taste.

I’m always wary towards every ideology people try to force on me. No matter what it may concern. Religious beliefs, political views, approach to abortion laws, capital punishment, to what I should read, listen to, watch. People have brains in order to use them, I guess. I don’t need preaching to be able to distinguish between good and evil, I don’t want my taxes being spent on populist actions of politicians, I don’t want to be threaten with every possible plague on the earth and hell fire after
Review originally published at Learn This Phrase.

Was ever a book more suited to a grey and drizzly Bank Holiday weekend? (Which it was, when I read it.) Steeped in religious symbolism and quintessentially British bleakness, The Loney is an odd, dreary sort of horror story - the tale of two boys, our nameless narrator and his mute brother, Andrew, known as Hanny. The Loney is a place - a desolate stretch of northern coast, and one of a number of deliberately evocative place names in this story, a
Johann (jobis89)
"Its walls had never contained a family. No one had ever laughed there."

A group of religious pilgrims embark to the Loney, an isolated and stormy coastline located a few hours away from London in England, with the intention of visiting a shrine and curing Hanny, a mute teenage boy who suffers from severe learning disabilities.

I've been dreading writing this review simply because I don't know what to say. It's a strange book, if someone asked me to give them a rundown of the plot it really wouldn
Jan 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The narrator of this book is known only to us by his surname, ‘Smith’ or the nickname given to him by Father Bernard, ‘Tonto.’ We first meet him as a middle aged man, who is seeing a therapist for issues that we are, at first, unsure about. What is known to us is that the body of a baby has been found at an old house, near to where the narrator and a group of Catholic pilgrims used to visit in the 1970’s.

Gradually, as the story unfolds, we learn that Smith spent many Easters visiting the Loney –
Jan 21, 2019 rated it did not like it
Ok Costa coffee drinkers, you voted it book of the year and I gave it a whirl but I just couldn't see it I'm afraid. For me this is one of those books that you finish and you think, did I miss something? Having now read some other reviews I'm happier that I'm not the only one in this boat. I'm not going to review this book as I feel another reviewer has summed it up perfectly in a one liner, 'was this a travel guide to Cumbria or a handbook on priesthood?'

I'm losing faith in a lot of book awards
Bill Kupersmith
When I finished The Loney I was thoroughly annoyed & felt that I’d wasted my time with a book that contrived to be a fast read that passed incredibly slowly. About three hours & a nap later what apparently had happened in the story jelled & I saw why one might compare it to The Wicker Man, as well as to some of the stories by Shirley Jackson and H. P. Lovecraft. From my current Christian perspective, this book is a story about two ways not to observe Easter: an extremely constricted & superstiti ...more
Jun 23, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a solid 4 star read for me until about the last 15% and then it just fell apart. Way too heavy on the religious zealotry for my likes and it felt like there was this big build up and then nothing but a fizzle.
Nancy Oakes
Dec 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is so good and so beautifully written, and I was surprised to learn that The Loney is Hurley's first novel. It is rare that I find a debut so polished, so near-perfect, and so atmospheric all at the same time; the sort of book I am beyond happy to find because it is so very different. I could go on and on with effluvient praise here, but I won't. The only negative thing I have to say about this book is about its ending, but by the time I got there I was already so entrenched in the sto ...more
Diane S ☔
The Loney with its mystical shrine, a mother full of religious fervor, taking her backward non talking son on a pilgrimage yearly hoping he would be healed. But the Looney is a strange place, a place where unexplained things seem to be happening. The questionable death of a priest, who lost his faith after the last pilgrimage.

Atmospheric, but very slow paced, never felt like I got a good understanding of the characters, except for the religious themes. Actually there is much of this book I didn'
Lucy Baldock
Nov 10, 2016 rated it it was ok
I feel like I'm missing something. So many people loved this book but unfortunately I'm just not one of them.

This book was so slow! Nothing happens in the first half of the book it was boring to read because I just kept waiting and waiting for something to happen.

I do think the author writes good characters and near the end it is more suspenseful but it's all wasted because of the confusion of the plot. Nothing is clarified. I have no explanations for why I'm supposed to care about things that h
Adam Millard
Disappointing. Some half-decent descriptive prose undone by an almost non-existent plot. I reached page 280 before realising nothing had actually happened yet, and then, angry with myself for wasting precious reading time, I threw myself down the stairs. So now I've wasted two days on The Loney AND I've got a bad back. I don't know which I'm more depressed about.
Oct 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sharon Bolton
Sep 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A very devout Catholic family travel with their priest, and some fellow members of their church, to the Loney – a wild stretch of the Lancashire coast. They’re hoping to pray for the health of one of the sons - a mute, slightly retarded boy called Hanney. The narrator of the story is Hanney’s brother, Smith. They stay at a run down, creepy old house called The Moorings.

The house is immediately full of tensions. Smith and Hanney’s mother doesn’t particularly approve of the new priest. Some of th
Sep 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: weird
The Loney is a lovely book, in its prose and its plotting and its primary characters and even its darkness, which is dished out slowly and carefully, only truly bubbling to the surface in three or four scenes—though two of those are dark enough to catch on the tongue. At its core, it is a Coming of Age novel, one told in retrospect by the now-adult narrator remembering back to two key points in his life: a specific Easter holiday pilgrimage and his time as an altar boy, events which intertwine i ...more
Dec 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well, what a brilliant book. Almost perfect. The protagonist is a young boy forced to endure the eccentric yearly pilgrimage of his orthodox Catholic parents as they seek God's cure for their mentally disabled son, the protagonist's elder brother. Except that the site of this pilgrimage, the eponymous Loney, a barren stretch of the Lancastrian coast, is bleak and forbidding, populated by menacing locals and steeped in sinister folklore. A palpable sense of unease and dread runs throughout the bo ...more
Helene Jeppesen
Mar 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The Loney" by Andrew Michael Hurley has been marketed as a gothic masterpiece, and it has been predicted to become a classic. Being a huge fan of gothic novels myself, I was naturally very interested to get my hands on it and read it. I now have and I'm pleased to say that this book creeped me out and fascinated me simultaneously.
What comes to mind the most is the impeccable setting. Everything in this book is gloomy, gray and sinister, and I loved it. You felt like you were standing in front
Sep 28, 2016 rated it it was ok
This book wasn't really for me.
In a nutshell it's about a young lad whose Mother thinks that her religious beliefs and devotion will cure his brother who is unable to speak. The story mainly focuses on a particular pilgrimage (there have been many) they make with their church group to a shrine on the English coast.
Full marks for atmosphere and chill factor - you can feel the rain on your skin and the desolation in your heart.
Unfortunately I didn't really want to feel those things and the relig
Oct 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Loney is not a monster, as I suppose I expected, but a place: an isolated coastline in the northwest of England that the narrator and his family visited on pilgrimage with their Roman Catholic congregation every Easter in the 1970s. The narrator, only identified by the nickname Tonto, explores their strange rental house – full of taxidermied animals and hidden rooms, it also has a rifle under the floorboards – and goes to the beach with his mute brother Andrew (“Hanny”). Mummer and Farther h ...more
Joanne Harris
A rather superior, slow-burning chiller; nicely-handled, subtle, well-written, with some interesting detail and a terrific sense of place. I felt that the pay-off, though satisfyingly opaque, could have been set up a little more gradually, but that's just me being picky, I guess. Blair Witch for bookworms.
I like endings that don't spell everything out for you and leave things open for interpretation, but I'm just so confused right now. If you've read this book and have any explanations/ideas/interpretations, please feel free to send me a message!
Jun 03, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: r2016, horror
I often thought there was too much time there. That the place was sick with it. Haunted by it. Time didn't leak away as it should. There was nowhere for it to go and no modernity to hurry it along. It collected as the black water did on the marshes and remained and stagnated in the same way.

Just finished the last page and I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this book. 

The writing is arresting, often lyrical, evoking bleak landscapes in an amazing way. It often reminded me of the desolation in
Jun 30, 2016 rated it liked it
This is a slowly paced, meandering book that tries to tell two stories, conveying neither of them particularly effectively. The writing is gorgeous; on every page there's something lovely and swoon-worthy, if you swoon over that type of thing. The narrator, spurred by the discovery of a dead baby in the area near a shrine that he, his disabled older brother, and members of their parish traveled to when he was a child, recounts story of one particular trip with the new priest who replaced Father ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Folk Horror Revival: The Loney 17 134 Aug 11, 2019 10:36AM  
Around the Year i...: The Loney, by Andrew Michael Hurley 1 6 May 11, 2019 06:07AM  
Literary Horror: September 2016 The Loney 21 78 Apr 29, 2019 08:52PM  
The Jolly Good Re...: Discussion for The Loney! 2 25 Oct 20, 2017 03:24PM  
What happened at the end? (spoilers) 4 185 May 28, 2017 10:54AM  
Cafe Libri: August: "The Loney" by Andrew Michael Hurley 2 20 Sep 24, 2016 01:35AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Wakenhyrst
  • Pine
  • Ghostland: In Search of a Haunted Country
  • The Reddening
  • Water Shall Refuse Them
  • Dark Matter
  • The Silent Companions
  • The Corset
  • Bone China
  • Thin Air: A Ghost Story
  • A New Day Yesterday: UK Progressive Rock & The 1970s
  • In the Night Wood
  • The Hidden People
  • Lanny
  • Under the Rock: The Poetry of a Place
  • Elena
  • Melmoth
  • Hex
See similar books…
Andrew Michael Hurley (born 1975) is a British writer whose debut novel, The Loney, was published in a limited edition of 278 copies on 1 October 2014 by Tartarus Press[ and was published under Hodder and Stoughton's John Murray imprint in 2015.

Related Articles

The must-read summer beach book is a kind of American tradition. The crash of the waves. The glare of the sun. The sand in the pages. Is t...
67 likes · 37 comments
“I often thought there was too much time there. That the place was sick with it. Haunted by it. Time didn't leak away as it should. There was nowhere for it to go and no modernity to hurry it along. It collected as the black water did on the marshes and remained and stagnated in the same way.” 9 likes
“Hell was a place ruled by the logic of children.” 8 likes
More quotes…