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Elizabeth

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3.75  ·  Rating details ·  729 ratings  ·  137 reviews
“If you were to go into your bedroom tonight – perhaps by candlelight – and sit quietly before the large mirror, you might see what I have seen. Sit patiently, looking neither at yourself nor at the glass. You might notice that the image is not yours, but that of an exceptional person who lived at some other time...”

The image in the mirror of fourteen-year-old Elizabeth Cu
...more
Kindle Edition, 127 pages
Published April 2nd 2017 by Valancourt Books (first published 1976)
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Average rating 3.75  · 
Rating details
 ·  729 ratings  ·  137 reviews


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Char
NEVER have I been so unsettled reading a book narrated by a 14 year old girl. But perhaps that is because Elizabeth is not your ordinary teenager. She's descended from a long line of witches and is now discovering the power within her. Or is she? You'll have to read this to find out!

The prose in this book is simply outstanding. It's chilling at times because the narrator seems to have no feelings whatsoever. She talks about sex, acts of violence, and eating breakfast all in the same tone. Some
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Jeffrey Keeten
Oct 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gothic, horror
”I paused before the mirror. My eyes were half opened, and I touched their outer corners and felt the small crusty deposits that had formed there in the night. I reached down and grasped the hem of my wrinkled nightgown and pulled it over my head. I looked again at the mirror and then shivered and moved away, feeling as though a stranger had been looking at my body.

I enjoyed the feeling.”


Fourteen year old Elizabeth Cuttner is not by any means a normal teenager. Her parents die in an odd boating
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Dan Schwent
Urged on by a ghost named Frances living in her mirror, Elizabeth's first victims were her parents. When she goes to live with relatives, will Frances help Elizabeth kill again?

Elizabeth is yet another book whose existence I would have know inkling of if not for Paperbacks from Hell! I eventually overcame my cheapness and nabbed the ebook.

I'd say Elizabeth is part of the "creepy kids" subgenre of horror, although at 14 and sexually precocious, she's at the upper end of the spectrum. A long dead
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Jack Tripper
Aug 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
One of my favorite horror reads of the past couple years, Elizabeth is narrated in the first-person by the 14 year-old title character, who one day finds she has magical powers, and discovers that she comes from a long line of witches. With the help of Frances, a long-dead witch who appears to Elizabeth in mirrors, she slowly gains more and more power, disposing of anyone who gets in the way of her quest for even more, including family, with a cold indifference that can be rather chilling .

The
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mark monday
Oct 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Happy Halloween! If you are interested in a quick but still quite disturbing horror read, then please consider this little gem - a vastly underrated author's debut novel.

Elizabeth is a young witch, and not the good kind. Totally without empathy and responding to the siren call of a long-dead ancestor haunting her from mirrors, our antiheroine embarks upon a life of orderly indolence as she carefully curtails any intrusions into how she wants to live that life. Despite being 14 years of age, she
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Grady Hendrix
Apr 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ken Greenhall (aka Jessica Hamilton) is the stylistic heir to Shirley Jackson. The fact that he's been forgotten is a sign that the cultural gatekeepers are assholes. ...more
Kimberly
ELIZABETH: A Novel of the Unnatural, by Ken Greenhall, was first released in 1976. This new version from VALANCOURT BOOKS includes an insightful introduction by Jonathan Janz. The story centers upon a young Elizabeth Cuttner, who believes that she sees an image of a woman named Frances, reflected in her mirror one day. Frances, she believes, is a witch that died centuries ago.

"Have you ever thought about mirrors?"

". . . There really is no way to know whether your mirror shows you what oth
...more
Latasha
**received the audio book of Elizabeth for a honest review. **

wow!! I had to go back and check when this was first published. 1976. and Elizabeth is 14. this book is all kinds of fucked up. I won't go in to details as to why but just read the first page or listen to the first 30 minutes or so. there is so much "not ok" stuff happening here. with all that said, I loved the story. it's very 1970 witches and that's ok, that's a good thing!
Becca Grabowski did a fantastic job reading. everything wa
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Sheila
4 stars--I really liked it. Warnings for... well, everything.

This is 70s gothic/horror at its "finest" (if that's the word). It's lurid and purposefully shocking, but I'm a sucker for the tropes of the genre (the manor, the family secrets, the hints of the supernatural). The main character, Elizabeth, is only 14, but instead of going to school, she's seducing adults and plotting with her long-dead witch ancestor. I loved it!

What sets this book above most others in this genre is the writing. Gree
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Jerry
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: five-star-reads
Unnerving clarity. Deranged foresight. Yet clouded with shadowed and unknown intent. Throughout this mesmerizing story, I felt that I somehow understood all there was to know about Elizabeth, while at the same time blind to her disturbing conscience. The calm delivery of the amazing events laid out for all to see (and not see) will wrap you up and not allow you to put it down. Unnatural!
Kimberly
ELIZABETH: A Novel of the Unnatural, by Ken Greenhall, was first released in 1976. This new version from VALANCOURT BOOKS includes an insightful introduction by Jonathan Janz. The story centers upon a young Elizabeth Cuttner, who believes that she sees an image of a woman named Frances, reflected in her mirror one day. Frances, she believes, is a witch that died centuries ago.

"Have you ever thought about mirrors?"

". . . There really is no way to know whether your mirror shows you what others
...more
Tim
Mar 12, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror, reviewed, 1970s


"I think people who suppose themselves virtuous eventually become ridiculous because of the unending self-deception they must practice."

So says our narrator, Elizabeth, who has no need of self-deception. She knows who she is. She knows what she is. She knows what she wants. She is not virtuous. Just look at this little bit of her narration in chapter 1:

"I first came to live with Grandmother about a year ago, after I killed my parents. I don't mean to sound callous. Let me explain."

This book rem
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Addy
Oct 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I know a lot of people loved this book and I can't blame them because it is really good. Just something was eerie that turned me off. The protoganist is very darkly written almost like she has no emotion and maybe that was the point. I can't say I really liked any of the characters because frankly there was nothing to like. All seemed very manipulative and secretive, each harboring their own dark desires. I will say that Elizabeth was very wise in her years. She was very cunning and clever and m ...more
Yórgos St.
Apr 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
One of the most disturbing and surprisingly fun books that i have ever read. A novel of the unnatural indeed, with a mystery hidden in its heart and good doses of ambiguity.
David Thirteen
Elizabeth is an uncomfortable book. Which makes sense considering Elizabeth herself is a disturbing character. At fourteen years of age, she enthusiastically engages in an incestuous relationship with her uncle, delights in manipulating the adults around her, and indulges in witchcraft to commit murder. Or is it all in the head of a deeply disturbed child. The magic of the book is that it straddles this line, keeping the readers guessing, all the while making them complicit in her actions. The s ...more
Ficie
Nov 29, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
These young girls who are so secure in their seductiveness, so detached, self-confident and clear-minded, seem to be very popular with male authors. These writers have clearly never been a teenage girl.

When your main character is an unrealistic cliché, the whole book inevitably suffers.
Eduardo
Nov 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Uncomfortable and disconcerting to the highest possible degree, this is the rare horror novel that actually leaves you speechless at the end. Extremely recommended.
Reeda Booke
Sep 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Creepy, but good book for all of the reasons already written in its many reviews here. I really enjoy his writing style.
Tenebrous Kate
Sep 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Morbid sensuality and eerie ambiguity, all described in beautiful prose in one perfectly paced novel. Deeply disquieting stuff told from one of the more memorable first person narrators I’ve encountered.
Rob Twinem
Jan 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Elizabeth Cuttner is the narrator in this somewhat disturbing and twisted tale of a 14 year old who has a story to tell. Through a mirror in her room she is influenced by Frances a long dead relative and participant in the medieval practice of witchcraft. This unhealthy partnership unveils a side of Elizabeth that is totally at odds with the quietly spoken and articulate young lady presented to the reader. As the novel unfolds we learn of the tragic death of her parents, the disappearance of her ...more
Marie-Therese
3.5 stars. A most curious book.

Greenhall narrates a remarkably over the top, Gothic sort of story complete with murder, adultery, incest, "witchcraft", and pretty much every other sin you can imagine, but all in the most composed, rather dry tone, voiced by a clearly sociopathic teenage girl. Is our narrator a witch or just delusional? Does it matter? This is a compelling read by a writer clearly in perfect control of his material but, all that being said, I'm not sure I found the book as convi
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Kurt Reichenbaugh
Mar 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
I've been seeing this novel appear on various blogs I follow and finally have gotten a chance to read it. It's a short and very disturbing story from the POV of fourteen year old Elizabeth. Is she possessed? a witch? a murderer? a manipulative "bad seed"?, a victim of abuse? Or just someone far, far older than her years? Best for the reader to discover Elizabeth's story for themselves. Very much worth reading if you find a copy. ...more
Katie
Probably not fair since I stopped in the middle, but this was pretty yawn-worthy for me. Under normal circumstances, I'd read a book like this in a few hours, but it lost momentum for me in the middle....... .. .... picked up a little at the end but not enough to finish strong. ...more
Lauren
Mar 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
I was sold on reading Elizabeth when I read this excerpt from it in Paperbacks From Hell: The Twisted History of '70s and '80s Horror Fiction:

When I was younger I saw James, my father's brother, look from our dog to me without changing his expression. I soon taught him to look at me in a way he looked at nothing else.

It's just such a darkly lucid exploration of a perspective at such an odd angle to the world; congratulations, Ken Greenhall, and thank you, Valancourt, for bringing this strange li
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Signor Mambrino
Apr 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was really good. Better than Hellhound. Dark and creepy.
Irene
Feb 17, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Elizabeth is not your average 14 year old, and although she is descended from witches I'm not convinced that alone is at the heart of her actions. Elizabeth seems to have no real feelings or emotions. She is quite cold and detached from everyone, other than an apparition that observes her from the mirror.

Does Elizabeth have actual powers or is she just deluded? Does she suffer some sort of mental illness? She definitely feels no empathy but has taught herself to imitate it, much like someone wit
...more
Zabet
Jun 27, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nate
Jun 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Elizabeth was my first Ken Greenhall novel, and I am duly impressed. Greenhall's writing is fluid, descriptive, and perfectly elucidates the title character. The book was an enjoyable, elegant read and kept me guessing until the end, where things were left suitably ambiguous. Highly recommended to fans of Valancourt's previous releases and those looking for a good read that provides equal parts supernatural and thought-provoking observations on societal norms.

I purchased the ebook, and the audio
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Joey Shapiro
Jul 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Definitely not a perfect book, but in terms of pure enjoyment? This absolutely slayed and I had a very fun time reading about this very disturbed witchy child & her fucked up family!! It’s fun to read a horror novel in which the protagonist is 100% evil but you’re still rooting for her the whole time bc almost everyone else sucks as much or more. big Shirley Jackson vibes—in terms of the narrator’s voice, it reminded me a lot of We Have Always Lived In The Castle—but with less flowery prose and ...more
Peter
Oct 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
A classic witch tale from the 70s! Everytime you'll walk by an old mirror you will think from now on who might be inside getting in contact with you. I really liked the atmosphere in the house, the cast and the depiction of grandmother. Though I didn't like the relationsship between Elizabeth and her uncle James too much the story and the interaction of the characters is quite innovative. The author is writing quite a dry prose with fine phrases. A good gripping tale with a surprise ending! ...more
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“I thought it remarkable how similar most poems were to one another even when they had been written centuries apart. Perhaps it was because the behavior of the insane varies little from century to century.” 0 likes
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