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The Bone Weaver's Orchard

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  148 ratings  ·  57 reviews
He’s run away from home. That’s what they say every time one of Charley Winslow’s friends vanishes from The Old Cross School for Boys.

It’s just a tall tale. That’s what they tell Charley when he sees the ragged grey figure stalking the abbey halls at night.

When Charley follows his pet insects to a pool of blood behind a false wall, he could run and let those stones bury
Paperback, 192 pages
Published February 1st 2019 by Trepidatio Publishing
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Average rating 4.22  · 
Rating details
 ·  148 ratings  ·  57 reviews

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Sadie Hartmann Mother Horror
Mar 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cemetery-dance
Originally published the review on Cemetery Dance May 28th, 2019

Where are my fellow John Bellairs fans? Raise your hands and be counted. I need to know who you are. It’s important to this review because I’m an avid horror fan who was first nourished on the horror milk of John Bellairs novels. Bellairs wrote dark, gothic mysteries for young readers and he never shied away from being “too scary” for kids. I relished my time in those pages.

Here I am now at forty-two years of age and Sarah Read, the
Jonathan Janz
May 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was a panelist with Sarah at StokerCon last weekend, and I was so impressed with her comments and personality that I bought THE BONE WEAVER'S ORCHARD when I returned home.

Folks, this writer has it. THE BONE WEAVER'S ORCHARD is immersive, evocative, and wonderfully-crafted. Sarah Read is a skilled, perceptive storyteller with a poet's command of language. I got lost in her fictional world and didn't want the story to end. Highly recommended!
4.5 stars!

THE BONE WEAVER'S ORCHARD is the first I have read from author Sarah Read, and after this experience, I'll be looking out for everything she releases! The novel takes place at what is then "The Old Cross School for Boys", in North Yorkshire. Although the events are told from the year 1926, I honestly felt that I could be walking through those halls, myself, after only a couple of chapters.

I will admit that I was slightly confused at the inclusion of a Prologue. Normally, I expect this
Feb 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
"Ghosts don’t bleed."

This book was a debut? Wow, I am super impressed. It was creepy, polished and the main character was a sweetheart of a kid who loves his buggy friends.

Charley is sent off to boarding school with his collection of exotic creatures. At school he encounters meanies and cruelties and adults who do not seem to give a good goddamn that kids are going missing. Charley takes it upon himself to investigate the catacombs of the school and finds some horrifying, sinister and rattling
Stephen Robert Collins
Set in old public school for boys in 1920s but the author give the school electric lighting! In 1926 Bloody hell. In 1968 I know parts of Darlington big town had gas lighting .This bit silly proves that is written by an American who has no idea of old areas in Yorkshire in 1920s
This would been better set after WWII in early 1960s or late 50s it reads more like crapy boarding school from Last of Summer wine than so called Goodbye Mr Chips.
This not much of a horror more like kids badly written
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
"Getting sewn together isn't as bad as having pieces cut off."

The Bone Weaver's Orchard is Sarah Read's debut novel, but it does not read like it's new territory to her. The storytelling in this book is so good, and it's a wonderfully atmospheric read.

I was introduced to Sarah's work in the Suspended in Dusk II anthology - her story Still Life with Natalie caught my attention, and I was so excited to get my hands on The Bone Weaver's Orchard as soon as I heard about it.

Horror fans who enjoy
Tracy Robinson
Dec 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“The gravel became flagstones, and the stones became stairs as the face of the old abbey towered over him.”

Full review from Sci Fi and Scary:

We meet young Charley as he journeys to his new “home” in a rickety vehicle, over a poorly maintained country road. Set in England, these introductory scenes took me back to the first time I read The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, or even the atmosphere provided by the works of Bronte and DuMaurier (think Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and
Jamie Stewart
Sep 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a remarkable work of fiction that makes my top ten of the year. It is hard for me to say this book has been written because the writing feels more like it was created by the casting of spells. In other words it is magically. The author has an incredible and enviable way of description and conveying the story. So much so that it recalled to me the Harry Potter books, though the only similarities between these two are that the protagonist’s in each are boys and they go to strange boarding ...more
Mar 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“It's like the dust here is made of memory. You could wander in the past for years.”

I finished The Bone Weaver's Orchard in only a couple of days but really I read three quarters in one sitting because I could not stop flipping the pages. I absolutely had to know what was going on and how it would all end. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I loved the story, the characters, the atmosphere.

The Bone Weaver's Orchard is set in the rain and fog of the moors of England in the 1920s in a centuries old
Sara Tantlinger
Jan 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Sarah Read's writing is so beautiful -- I never thought anyone could make me sentimental about bugs before, but young Charley's fascination and attachment to the critters he collects is charming. They seem to be the only thing that really gives him a sense of peace as he navigates through a truly terrifying school, desperate to make the adults understand his truth. Read's debut novel contains strong prose, gorgeously dark descriptions, and many twists and turns as grotesque as what Charley finds ...more
The Irregular Reader
Mar 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is Sarah Read’s debut novel, and while a bit rough in places, does show a fantastic sense of atmosphere and a decent talent for creepiness.

The book takes place in a boarding school in the 1920s that specializes in taking in the children of overseas soldiers. When Charlie Winslow arrives we are thrown right into a classic-feeling haunted house story that quickly morphs into something much more sinister.

Read has done a wonderful job building an isolated, dreary setting for her disturbed,
Dec 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An old school, an abandoned wing, secrets, lies, and noises in the night- this book had me hooked right away. I stayed up all night reading so that I could find out what was going to happen to young Charley and the people he assumed were his friends. Who can he trust? What was really going on? And WHAT were they keeping locked away in the forbidden east wing?

Brilliant and engaging writing. Ill be looking forward to this authors next book :)
Suzy Michael
Feb 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed-books
* I was given a copy by the publisher in exchange for my fair and honest review.*

Sarah Read's debut novel, The Bone Weaver's Orchard is a dark, cold tale set in a time and place that is just as dark and cold as the story itself. Family secrets, puzzles, buried pasts, and mysteries await to be solved by the reader and the lovable young misfit protagonist in this chilling, gothic horror.

Charley Winslow is sent to a boarding school in North Yorkshire in 1926. His father, a soldier and mother not in
Mar 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’m a little biased... since I personally know the author, but this gothic atmospheric writing was fabulous!

I don’t tend to read super scary tales (she adores horror writing), and honestly this did not push me beyond my line, and yet the descriptions definitely had me doing something else before turning off the lights or I felt like I could jump through the pages to this haunting old house turned boys school.

Buy It! Read It! Especially if you love bugs and bloody bits in your reading scenes.
Beverley Lee
Feb 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This has been on my radar since I first saw it on bookstagram a year ago. Turns out I should have read it much sooner!

Sarah Read's debut novel is a dark, gothic mystery featuring a young protagonist, Charley Winslow (I'll add that I adored Charley and wanted to protect him from all of the Badness) sent away to the lonely Old Cross School for Boys in North Yorkshire. The story starts in 1926 as Charley arrives from Cairo clutching a box of jars. As with all old schools, this one hides a secret
Paul Anderson
Apr 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
A story from a writer that knows how to flip what's perceived as the convention of a standard gothic novel (grim weather, early-20th century, boarding school, English, hauntings) in a riveting, shocking way. I was legitimately surprised and pleased where Read took the story, veering left whenever the reader would think she'd veer right.
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: home-library
Sarah's dark works are always a pleasure to read.

This gothic tale wraps you up so that you don't want to stop reading. You have to find out the terrible secrets hidden in the East Wing of The Old Cross School for boys.

Alan Baxter
Aug 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A superbly dark and gothic read.
Dawn Piburn
Jan 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing

Just couldn't put this down - read it over two days, and loved the twists and turns in the story. Highly recommended!
C.a. Anderson
Oct 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
Good scary mystery revolving around a small town and what they did to the witch and her descendants. Good characters, story moves and a good pace.
Jackie Cowgill (LanternsJourney)
The protagonist in this story is a young boy who loves to study insects and is sent to a boarding school because his father is fighting in South Africa and his mother has passed away. Don't be mistaken though, this story is not young adult by any means. It will make your skin crawl, your stomach turn, and your eyes water. Read's prose are so poetic you have no choice but to be immersed in the gothic world she creates. HIGHLY RECOMMEND. ...more
Jan 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have admired Sarah Read’s short fiction for a long time so when I heard she had a novel coming out, I anxiously counted down the months to be able to purchase it because I knew it would be epic and amazing, and I’m pleased to say I was darn right :-)

Set in North Yorkshire, England, in 1926, Charley Winslow is the misfit protagonist at a boarding school for boys, which is already creepy. Add to that the fact that it looks like an ancient abbey with some eerie things along the way and you’ve got
Oct 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Trust and deception are two of the themes that run though this absorbing horror story that is tense with a terrible gruesome secret at its heart.

The events unfold as seen only through the eyes of a young impressionable of Charley Winslow. Sent away by his father serving with the British army in Egypt, to the safe environment of an English public school in Yorkshire. After an older boy that befriended Charley goes missing from the infirmary, he is told they have run away by those in a position
Craig Wallwork
Mar 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Sarah Read’s debut novel about Charlie, a young boy attending a Yorkshire boarding school in the early 1900s, establishes Read as a writer you need to pay attention to. Weaving together just the right amount of tension and chills to keep you engaged, and the lights on, we find ourselves plunged into a school where ghosts roam the halls, children go missing, and a history more disturbing than someone called the Ragged Man.

While the following comparisons should be taken as merely themes, not
Kim Napolitano
Jun 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was brought to my attention by many readers who raved about this book. They were not wrong. Charley comes early from Cairo as his father continues to fight the war, alone and scared he enters a Boys School. He’s instantly targeted as weird and a geek because of his love of insects and he meets a friend with a love of rocks.. they become fast friends until his friend vanishes. He wasn’t the only one, a ghost haunts the school and the West Wing is a closed up, vacant building.. or is it? ...more
Letitia Trent
Apr 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I read this novel over a long, wintry vacation and it was exactly what I needed: atmospheric, sinister, and deeply sad. Charley, our protagonist, finds himself taken from his home in Africa to a sinister boarding school in England. He has recently lost his mother & aches for comfort, for home, for something familiar to hang onto, and his ache anchors the spookiness in something genuinely human. The magic of this setting is that it brings up a lot of primal fears about being a kid separated ...more
Feb 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

If this book is any indication of the future, it looks bright for those of us who love dark fiction. Sarah Read is an author to watch. She manages to bring an old school feel to this genre, that I for one absolutely love. Her descriptive and atmospheric style of writing made me feel as though I was there in the school with Charlie throughout every tension filled moment. This book will almost surely be at the top of the list for favorite books read this year, and it's only February! It's
Eddie Generous
Feb 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Bringing together the expected ingredients of the gothic, away from home school experience, Sarah Read unveils a twisty and suspenseful mystery that will keep you guessing.

Listen to my interview with the author here:
Kevin Jones
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fantastical tale of the horrible, tangled webs we weave

“The Bone Weaver’s Orchard” by Sarah Read (@Inkwellmonster) was a fantastically creepy tale of tangled webs and dark, horrible secrets. The pacing was also perfect and had me guessing almost to the end. To say any more would be to risk spoilers, but I highly recommend this book. #WiHM
Oct 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned-books
This was a delightfully creepy, atmospheric novel. I could feel the cold and smell the dirt at the school. There were a few twists that kept me guessing. I recommend this if you like atmospheric gothic stories.
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