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3.96  ·  Rating details ·  1,037 ratings  ·  74 reviews
Journalist Giles Freeman and his wife Claire are thrilled when they inherit a cottage far from the noise of the city. And though the locals are slow to welcome them, the Freemans believe that in time they will be accepted. But the Freemans have fallen under an ancient Celtic curse--and soon they will learn the truth about what it means to be outsiders. HC: Pan (UK).
Mass Market Paperback, 463 pages
Published September 1st 1995 by Berkley Publishing Group (first published September 1st 1991)
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3.96  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,037 ratings  ·  74 reviews

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Sep 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 stars--I really liked it.

This is a story of a mysterious Welsh town, sleepy and old-fashioned and more special than anyplace else. Strangely enough, English visitors to the village keep dying. Very mysterious...

I really enjoyed this story of ancient magics and Welsh superstitions (no surprise there--I love stories about cults and old rituals). I didn't connect very much with Rickman's writing style (which is a shame, since I plan to read his other books too--I love his subject matter), but was
3.5 stars.

Enjoyed this for the underlying supernatural element and Welsh folklore, language and superstition, but I found it waaaaay too long. The writing is quality though, and that kept it going for me. I'm going to persist with Rickman's books because of this, even though so many of them seem to be a millionty pages long.
Jun 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Clair and Giles decide to move to Wales when she inherits a house from her grandfather. Giles receives several warning that Wales is not a safe place from English people to move to but he ignores them all.

He has fallen in love with the village of Y Groes and wants to embrace the whole way of life there including learning Welsh. It is soon clear to the reader that life is not going to be easy for the incomers and that there is a lot more going on in the village than Giles is aware of.

In the heat
Sep 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
Phil Rickman has long been a favourite author of mine, I love his Merrily Watkins series, this however, is a darker more supernatural book... He takes a rural paradise and underlies it with a sinister and malevolent structure of locals who on the surface seem pleasant enough... He does his usual trick of making you believe that something otherworldly is happening, but with an undercurrent of making you doubt it at the same time... To quote a character from the book...' not possible is it really, ...more
May 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Why are there no English people living in the Welsh village of Y Groes? Everywhere else has the English buying houses as holiday homes and pushing the prices up for locals. And why do English people have a habit of dying there?
A spooky, engaging read.
Patrice Hoffman
Jun 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
There's always something about novels set in small towns in the countryside, that are inherently spooky. Candlenight was not the normal I have come to expect from most horror novels but it was still pretty interesting. By normal I mean it wasn't a blood fest or full of dead bodies. It reminded me of how superstitions and towns really give power to certain forces. I felt this when I read Rickman's book Curfew. The town warns people to stay away by not telling them to stay away. Instead of everyon ...more
Eric Hines
Nov 25, 2011 rated it liked it
Not as good as either Curfew or December. Welsh nationalism is more than a little distracting from the supposed supernatural element here (actually Welsh nationalism is the all-too-prosaic inspiration for the supernatural agents, as well).[return][return]As always, Rickman creates interesting and likable characters, but there is a feel that maybe Rickman rushed this one a bit. One opportunity he missed is the main English character, who he unwisely kills off. Rickman's lead characters are often ...more
Kerry Hennigan
Feb 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Candlenight is probably the spookiest book Phil Rickman has ever written.

If you come to this one belatedly, after enjoying his Merrily Watkins mysteries, in which there are usually logical explanations for all manner of unearthly happenings, then you are in for a bit of a shock.

Something truly sinister seems to hovering around the idyllic Welsh village of Y Groes. What appears a perfect place to live has a decidedly dark side.

In Y Groes the weather is inexplicably milder, the people more traditi
Apr 19, 2015 rated it liked it
My second time through this book. I enjoyed reading this. It had a firm hold on me toward the end. It makes me want to read more of Rickman's work.
I can't help but feel there are bits missing. Like we're not getting a complete picture. It's like the characters haven't been fully fleshed out. Take, for example, Miranda. I'm not sure what her purpose is. If it's to deliver a message, fantastic. But the message seems more like embellishment to the icing that's already on the cake. Don't get me wron
Jul 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
I finsihed reading this book at the weekend and I was completely enthralled with. I love anything to do with mythology and this book has plenty of walsh mythology and legend and Phil Rickman sets a brilliant atmosphere and a sutble horror surrounds the village and the people that inhabit the place. I decided to look up the legends that are mentioned within the book and found loads of sites and bits of information on the internet. A great book.
Jul 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, horror-pagan
This was a fast and fun read and not as predictable as I thought it would be.

There was one drawback which kept this from being a five star book. The modern pagans in this book were really dumb; they believed the old lie about human sacrifice and incorporated it into their worship. Very disappointing.
Jan 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Very good book, nice character development and story line. Doesn't really become a horror novel until the last 50 or so pages though. More of a dark fantasy/thriller/suspense novel but still an enjoyable read from an impressive author. The Welsh folklore and small town setting are interesting. Rickman definitely captured the essence of what its like to live in a small town. Worth the time
Melanie Wilson
Jan 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good and creepy with some really lovely descriptive writing and witty dialogue, though at times I felt like the political stuff went on too long and didn't really add anything to the main story line or my understanding of the characters or of the historical background.
Marie Cope
Jul 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was recommended this book by Ged, the manager of Waterstones in Wrexham, and I have to say I wasn't disappointed. A little confused in parts, but on the whole this was a great book.
To start with, the emphasis on the Welsh/English animosity got on my nerves, but it is true - there is still a lot of hatred towards the English and I don't think it has a place in today's society.
The story tells of a Welsh village, Y Groes, which seems to have something supernatural going on. It would appear that,
Kevin Lucia
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this just as much as CURFEW. Slow-burn, atmospheric horror with a real story behind it, and I especially dug the Welsh history/folklore behind the story. Only reason it took so long to get through is because I had other reading I needed to do for my CD column which got in the way.

I do have to say, though, when I read reviews of a book I thoroughly enjoyed that say "Well written but not scary" (wasn't that hideous "ice sculpture" at the end pretty horrifying?) or "boring nothing happens
David Callaghan
Nov 26, 2013 rated it did not like it
I am sure from reading other reviews that this is a very popular author however, for me , this just did not work. I had previously read Crown of Lights and although not totally enamoured with it, I thought that I would try another of Mr Rickmans novels. Whether it was the language or the Welsh Nationalism but I gave up at page 300 with another 200 pages to go. I found it very difficult to read and by the time I gave up had no liking for any of the characters and had no interest how the book fini ...more
Sep 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Good - creepy & atmospheric, not my usual sort of read but it got me hooked really quickly. Phil Rickman is particularly good at giving the reader a sense of place, though in this case its put me off visiting Wales for a bit!
May 23, 2012 rated it liked it
I found this book intriguing. Not sure I "liked" it really. I'd have to read it once or twice more to REALLY get the nuances, but I did like the macabre feel of it. It was mildly disturbing.
Dec 28, 2009 rated it it was ok
Meh...this got really good reviews and I wanted to like it, but it wasn't actually scary. At first, I was hoping for a ghost story and I was really excited and then...not so much. Disappointing.
Jun 12, 2013 rated it liked it
Prefer his Merrily Watkins series and read this to see what it was like. Reasonable read but not great literature
Mar 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
Not *quite* as good as "Curfew", but still a VERY good read with some deliciously creepy parts. Highly recommended.
Oct 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
I saw many similarities between this book and Rickman's Curfew; some kind of evil in the village. But I still enjoyed this very much. Rickman is an amazing author.
Jan 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: public-library
Actually, I don't think I can review the book without spoiling it.
Last year I decided to read all the Merrily books, in order. I can't think why I had not read this one before.
This is one of Phil Rickman's works, among the best I have ever read in the genre. It was a page turner to the extent that I was forced to make rules - such as, don't begin to read until you have done all that you need to do, put the book down and walk away as soon as you feel yourself speeding up. (that way you tend to mi
Dec 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: phil-rickman
I did enjoy this book, and got through quicker than I expected, which may have had to do with the short chapters, thinking all the time, I'll read one more. The characters certainly felt real, and the welsh myths were in abundance. Not sure exactly when this book was set . I know the English in Wales were having houses burned , and there were riots in the late 70's, but think it also flared up again in 2009.
I was misled at about three quarters in, as to the power that the village had over people
Sep 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
I am realizing there is another type of writing I don't quite like. I'm far from putting my finger directly on it but it involves a certain type of English regular folk. I cannot relate to it, it's a preference thing. This book involved lots of characters who in no way stood out to me and therefore I could not connect to this book. The author gives the characters life and these feel more or less like real people but they bore me to death. I can't connect to them. Since I did not care about anyon ...more
Apr 04, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can’t say I didn’t like it. Lets just say that I expected more from a “village that hides an ancient and bloody secret.” (from the book cover). When it got around to the “secret” it was well worth the wait, but it took forever it seemed. I liked the characters and I liked the “meat” of the story but it felt that it was somewhat rushed to the end. I also thought some of the characters needed to be fleshed out more so the reader understands their purpose in the story. I have another of Phil Rick ...more
Oct 29, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It should have been a good book for me, history, a thiller with supernatural undertones. Instead it was a book that didn't know which genre it was and tried yo be too many things. The characters were flat, I have never heard anyone Welsh speak the way they were portrayed and the imagery was awful,. For example, " snow as thick as pastry". What does that mean?

A Great premise completely wasted.
Judy Chandler
Mar 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Spooky visit to Wales

Rickman again caught me with the magic of his writing. You forget you are reading as u walk the streets and sit in the pubs with his characters. A bit of paranormal but just enough to believe it. Another wonderful read by this author. I can't get enough of him.
George Farrar
Sep 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
A good horror with some terrifying moments. Seeing as this is Phil Rickerman's first book, I'm amazed, once you start reading you just want to keep going. The welsh lore is great and a good starting point for if you want to learn about Welsh folklore. Be warned though, once it gets rolling, you're in for a rollercoaster of a story.
Aug 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: wales
Enjoyably spooky, although the ending felt like a bit of a let-down - but I usually get that feeling from horror novels, which is one reason I read them so rarely. Really good spooky atmospheric set-up, though.
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aka Will Kingdom, Thom Madley.

Phil Rickman, born in Lancashire, has won awards for his TV and radio journalism. After five acclaimed novels, he introduced the fascinating Merrily Watkins series with The Wine of Angels. He is married and lives on the Welsh Border.
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“The door of the judge's house was opened to him by a huge, bearded man who informed the reporter in a conversational tone that if he did not leave the village immediately he would not leave it with his arms unbroken.” 3 likes
“Nothing drives people to loony extremes more than religion and national pride.” 0 likes
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