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The Bone Weaver's Orchard

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He’s run away 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 their secrets. He could assimilate, focus on his studies, and wait for his father to send for him. Or he could walk the dark tunnels of the school’s heart, scour its abandoned passages, and pick at the scab of a family’s legacy of madness and murder.

With the help of Sam Forster, the school’s gardener, and Matron Grace, the staff nurse, Charley unravels Old Cross’ history and exposes a scandal stretching back to when the school was a home with a noble family and a dark secret—a secret that still haunts its halls with scraping steps, twisting its bones into a new generation of nightmares.

192 pages, Paperback

First published February 1, 2019

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Sarah Read

39 books127 followers

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5 stars
144 (27%)
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198 (37%)
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137 (25%)
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42 (7%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 138 reviews
Profile Image for Sadie Hartmann.
Author 23 books3,931 followers
June 17, 2019
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 talented author of The Bone Weaver’s Orchard, has just rekindled that fire by tapping some of my favorite things I loved as a young reader.

But hold up! This is not to say this book is a young adult book, (although it could be read and enjoyed by anyone) I’m just saying it reached out beyond the written word in a familiar way that immediately appealed to me. First and foremost, this book is gothically atmospheric in the best possible way. The Old Cross School for Boys is a horribly delicious setting for all sorts of wickedness and secrets.

As soon as we meet our protagonist, Charley Winslow (I love you, Charley!!) he is dumped on the steps of the most intimidating building one could imagine. The author’s prose is noticeably rich as she takes her time on all the interesting details. The character development is another level! I found myself falling in love with Charley and then his unlikely friend Sam—like dangerously in love with them. My reader’s heart was bound and tethered to them, making all the suspense and terror that much more threatening and heart-pounding!

Especially Charley. This young man is so sweet and eccentric with his little passion for insects. He’s brave and curious and I just wanted to reach through the pages and take him home with me, away from mean boys, sinister adults and hidden secrets that demand to stay hidden.

This book was one of those stories that you find yourself thinking about all day while you’re busy “adulting” and looking forward to jumping back into as soon as you get in bed at night. My time with Sarah Read and her words on these pages are some of my favorite. A serious contender for my favorite book of 2019.

One more thing: there was a moment in this book where I gasped out loud. There was a very distinct turning from a moody, dark “coming of age” story to grisly horror, full stop. It was from that moment on; I knew the full extent of Read’s talent. She’s an amazing, gifted writer and I will absolutely show up for anything she puts out in the future. Horror lovers, this book is a must-have and Sarah Read is a new insta-buy author.
Profile Image for Jonathan Janz.
Author 42 books1,677 followers
May 17, 2019
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!
Profile Image for Laurie  (barksbooks).
1,706 reviews661 followers
February 17, 2020
"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 secrets but I am NOT going to tell you what any of them were. You should read the book.

Charley is a fantastic character. He makes you feel for him from the very first time you meet him. I think you will love him, even if you're not into all of the creepy crawlies. He is a kind, strong soul and an admirable little person. But if you do dig the creepy crawlies this book has them. I was surprised by some of the gruesome turns in the final section, yikes! Prepare thyself.
Profile Image for Kimberly.
1,677 reviews2 followers
February 18, 2019
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 piece to be something of importance to the story that happened--usually--long in the past. However, here it just chronicled the arrival of a new boy to the school, Charley Winslow, whose father was a soldier overseas. The thing was, his arrival was only a couple of days before the other boys, and other than introducing him to the reader, nothing of note occurred.

Aside from that trivial, momentary pause, I felt the rest of the book flowed so steadily--with mounting tension all the while--that I was loathe to put it down at all.

". . . This is not a place for delicate things."

Almost immediately, Read hits the reader with the feeling that something isn't quite right at this boarding school. Between the boarded up wing that hasn't been used in decades, the ghost stories the returning, older boys tell the "first-years", and the strange noises Charlie hears at night, this book has the most perfect atmosphere going for it.

"You saw the ragged man."

The school is set in an old, gothic style mansion, complete with gloomy, wet grounds, and a gardener who is only permitted to sleep in a "shed" outdoors. Not only is the physical atmosphere so prominent, but it also showcases the differences in caste to a very vivid degree.

". . . If you already have a home in your heart, can you make another? . . ."

We have the returning boys, who are at the top of the class hierarchy, the first-years who are expected to work for them in a sort of servitude, and all the ones in between. This gives us a clear view of our main character's situation. In fact, with the everyday routines, common school problems, and the feeling of being sent away from the family you've grown up in, I couldn't help feeling as though I was walking beside Charlie in those unfamiliar stone corridors.

Such a situation is positively perfect for supernatural, ghostly tales!

". . . It's like the dust here is made of memory. You could wander in the past for years."

Given the younger age of our main character, I did wonder if the horror--or at least the gore factor--would be taken down a notch. I am extremely pleased to say that Read did not shy away from ANY of the more graphic displays. Her descriptions of each occurrence, and her writing style in general, stay true to the feeling of the story throughout the entirety of the novel. No details were left out, and each and every horrific find was shown as prominently as they would have appeared to the characters. I can not emphasize enough how powerful these aspects were in keeping my mind completely riveted in the world she created.

". . . No matter how much we belong to a place, it doesn't belong to us . . . "

Overall, I would say that Sarah Read is one of the strongest new voices in horror that I've come across lately. THE BONE WEAVER'S ORCHARD had everything I could have asked for in a novel, and more. There were several intricate threads woven around that even I didn't foresee. Each time I came across something unexpected, I'd stop to think back for a moment, only to realize that the seeds had been so cleverly sewn that I had just failed to recognize their significance in advance.

". . . It's easier to look away . . . if you're not sure of a thing . . . "

With a steady, engaging writing style, and the ability to portray even the most horrifying of images without hesitation, I believe we'll be seeing some great things from this author in the future.

Highly recommended!
Profile Image for La loca de los libros .
283 reviews93 followers
December 20, 2021
Hoy les traigo la penúltima novela del año de la mano de la siempre recomendable editorial Dilatando Mentes, sus historias además de buenas, están llenas de detalles que hacen la lectura más disfrutable y con un apartado final de miscelánea donde leeremos y disfrutaremos con todas esas referencias que podemos encontrar en la narración.
Con el prólogo de Daniel Pérez Castrillón empezaremos a meternos en situación con lo que se nos viene encima y con el postfacio de Consuelo Abellán desgranaremos todo lo que nos quiso contar Sarah Read.

En esta historia de corte gótico y sabor a clásico, nos situamos en el año 1926, en la Abadía de Dunleigh, North Yorkshire.
Una abadía reconstruida en internado  masculino para la élite del momento que esconde muchos secretos y los cuales iremos conociendo a través del pequeño Charley, a quien le cuesta adaptarse con sus nuevos compañeros, mucho tiene que ver su peculiar afición a la entomología, pero que hará muy buenas migas con Sam, el jardinero.
Poco a poco también entablará una bonita amistad con Bowles, que también es novato en la institución.
Charley no entiende esas normas tan férreas que rigen el centro ni sabe nada sobre jerarquías, solo ve lo crueles que pueden llegar a ser algunos compañeros y lo severos que son los castigos.

Lo que aquí se narra es un terror muy sutil, muy "light", lo que hace su lectura muy adecuada para aquellos que les gusta el misterio pero son un poco miedosos, salvo por alguna escena puntual bastante cruda, es un terror que se puede soportar muy bien.
Lo más destacable aquí es la atmósfera opresiva por la que transitará Charley, un joven que es muy intrépido para su edad, todo hay que decirlo 😊

Me ha gustado, mucho, se lee con soltura, la ambientación está muy lograda y hace que formes parte de lo que cuenta, pero a mi personalmente se me ha quedado un poco corta, mi cuerpo quizás pedía algo más intenso, más novedoso por decirlo de alguna manera, lo leído te recordará a muchas historias que seguro has leído o dentro del cine también habrás visto muchos argumentos similares a lo que aquí acontece.
Pero no le quita ni pizca del encanto que desprenden sus páginas.
Me alegro mucho de haber leído este libro después de la decepción anterior, y es que a mi una buena historia de misterio en un internado o cualquier edificación similar me atrae sin remedio.
Por ello es una lectura que yo sí recomiendo, es muy ligera, con pocos personajes y un mismo escenario donde transcurrirá toda la acción, tiene unos giros interesantes aunque algo previsibles, pero está muy bien contada 😊

Nada es lo que parece en el colegio para chicos Old Cross 😱

🏰Túneles, pasajes secretos, extraños seres que se aparecen en mitad de la noche, susurros, ruidos inexplicables, catacumbas...
Sumérgete en esta antigua abadía de la mano de Charley y descubre que hay detrás de estas misteriosas desapariciones.

¿Te atreves a descubrir qué secretos se esconden tras sus paredes?

💀 "Es como si aquí el polvo estuviera hecho de recuerdos. Uno podría pasear por el pasado durante años."

💀 "En todos sus siglos de existencia, esas paredes nunca habían sido pintadas o enyesadas. Jamás fueron descubiertas, eran un vestigio intestinal de la antigua abadía. Charley se adentró entre las sombras."

📖 Próxima lectura:
"Asuntos de muertos" - Nieves Mories.

📚 https://www.facebook.com/LaLocadelosL... 📚
Profile Image for Stephen Robert Collins.
558 reviews46 followers
July 24, 2019
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 book.
It has about much atmosphere of wobbly orange jelly with drunken clown at birthday party for 15y old ghastly
Profile Image for Emily.
1,265 reviews331 followers
January 24, 2019
"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 stories with young protagonists growing up & combatting evi (IT, Boy's Life, etc.) should check this one out. While it deals with the standard themes in these types of stories (things like loneliness, friendship, knowing who to trust, lack of help from most adults), The Bone Weaver's Orchard stands apart with its setting. It's fairly gothic and has a more serious tone than the other stories. It feels bleak at times, and I really loved being in the world that Sarah created.

There were moments in the story that reminded me of certain books or movies that I love. I am not comparing this book to them, so don't freak out. Although it's not a magical school, it reminded me of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Boarding school is such a fun environment to read about, and I loved the castle exploration and mischief in both books. Charley, the main character in The Bone Weaver's Orchard, doesn't have much of a family, either...which also led me to think about the movie A Little Princess (I love it!). His father is stationed abroad, and he isn't treated well by the people in charge. I was also reminded of Great Expectations since he is in this environment with people who seem to be of higher stature & they want him to be something he can't be. There's a lot more to this story than these aspects, but this is what stood out to me.

The only thing that I didn't really love was the ending. I wanted more answers, and then it just sort of ended. There's still enough to wrap the story up, but I just wanted more of a reason behind what was going on. It was also sometimes hard to keep track of who was who at times, but I eventually sorted it out.

The Bone Weaver's Orchard is a solid debut, and Sarah Read is definitely one to watch. I can't wait to see what else she does, and I am crossing my fingers for more gothic stories since she's so damn good at it. Thank you to Trepidatio Publishing for sending me a copy. The Bone Weaver's Orchard will be out on 2/1!
Profile Image for Tracy Robinson.
482 reviews143 followers
December 20, 2018
“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 Rebecca); however, The Bone Weaver’s Orchard is most certainly NOT a children’s book or a direct “throwback” to those other books by any stretch of the imagination. This is horror. Read provides a dark atmosphere of uncertainty and trepidation with an effortless grace.

An ominous, dark old school building with a closed-off wing. An awkward, loveable protagonist. A grumpy headmaster. A caring school nurse. A mystery. Sound familiar? DO NOT BE DECEIVED. Sarah Read’s debut novel drew me in with familiarity and then “flipped the script” entirely to leave me bewildered and thoroughly engrossed in a tale that challenged my expectations. I should’ve known better – I read her short story, “Still Life with Natalie”, earlier this year and she caught me unawares in that one, too.

I found the novel to be incredibly well-paced; the pages just flew by, and before I knew it, it was over and I wanted more. I wanted more because I’m greedy and I needed more of Charley’s story. The ending is spectacular; I was so involved I could have read 100 more pages, at least. The characterization and Read’s power of description are stunning. There are scenes in this novel that had me cringing with disgust at times, and peeking through my fingers at others.

This novel will be released by Trepedatio Publishing on February 1, 2019. It is available for pre-order from the publisher. Be sure to grab this one.

Profile Image for WendyB .
512 reviews
August 12, 2020
Possibly the worst book I've read this year.
I'm tired of Charley.
I'm tired of his name.
I'm tired of his name being mentioned 10 times on every single page and in every bit of dialogue.
I'm tired of his nauseating bugs.
I'm tired of the way he didn't talk or behave like a 13 yo boy.
I'm tired of dust and cobwebs everywhere.
I'm tired of a poorly written, unbelievable story.
This book made me tired but not so tired that I couldn't throw it in the trash where it belongs.
Profile Image for Jamie Stewart.
Author 10 books157 followers
September 5, 2019
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 school’s. The school in The Bone Weaver’s Orchard is far more sinister than that of Hogwarts, plus Charley, the novelists protagonist experiences more graphic bodily harm than Harry Potter ever did in all seven of his books. But, the reason I find my mind relates these two very different stories is again that magical quality of how The Bone Weaver’s Orchard is written in. Charley is a likeable and capable boy with an interest in insects. I’d love to read more about him, more about what his life consisted of before and the after the events of this novel. We are given glimpses throughout the text that he lived in Cairo and South Africa. Those glimpses are explained in such beautiful detail that I would happily read an entire novel set in those places.
Profile Image for Gafas y Ojeras.
235 reviews180 followers
January 9, 2021
Cuando uno piensa en todos los elementos que se necesitan para crear una poderosa e irresistible historia de terror le viene a la cabeza varias posibilidades que, combinadas, pueden conseguir estremecerte. De entrada requiere de una ambientación poderosa, llena de rincones oscuros, pasadizos secretos, ventanas que aúllan moviendo las cortinas, polvo, suciedad, arañas y todo tipo de decoraciones que te transporten de lleno a un lugar de pesadilla. En ese espacio sitúas a un personaje inocente y desvalido. Una persona con la que puedas empatizar desde el comienzo y que tenga la misma información, y miedo, que tú en medio de ese ambiente amenazador. Y finalmente una trama detrás de todos ellos que te vaya absorbiendo y atenazando mientras descubres como el horror va impregnando a cada uno de los elementos que conforman la novela.
Lo curioso es que todo eso lo encuentras en esta novela de Sarah Read en donde acompañamos al pequeño Charley en su internamiento en una escuela de principios de siglo XX cuyos cimientos se apoyan en una antigua y siniestra abadía. Tan solo falta una pequeña chispa para que el terror se adentre en tu cabeza y pronto verás como todo empieza a arder.
Sin embargo no conseguí disfrutar de esta historia como lo había esperado. Quizás por las tremendas expectativas que tenía acerca de esta obra ganadora del premio Stoker, que prometía una experiencia realmente terrorífica, o porque quizás la presencia de todo aquello que a uno le gusta en una novela no tiene por qué funcionar siempre.
El caso es que aquí tenemos a ese personaje indefenso lleno de carisma con el que empatizas desde el inicio. Su valentía a la hora de afrontar las situaciones con las que tiene que lidiar consigue que, en más de una ocasión, sientas las penurias por las que tiene que pasar. Y la descripción de todos los elementos que conforman esa escuela/abadía pone los pelos de punta en más de una ocasión.
Pero lo que en una novela como esta tendría que provocarte pesadillas ante lo que acontece a mi no terminó de convencerme. Quizás porque los hechos que te narran no dejan de ser una mezcla de situaciones reconocibles en donde nada es lo que parece. O porque el comportamiento de los personajes a lo largo de la trama está tan definido que ya intuyes que te están distrayendo. O porque la autora quiere apostar por una trama en la que lo sobrenatural y lo humano no encuentran diferencias. Sea por una razón o por otras, el caso es que mis expectativas se fueron diluyendo poco a poco hasta perder el interés y eso, en una novela como esta es una pena.
Porque todos los hechos que ocurren en el último tercio son formidables. Llenos de tensión, de revelaciones y de momentos de auténtico horror que pone los pelos de punta. Uno de esos finales estremecedores que merecen toda la atención de los amantes de este género. Pero cuando llegas a esos instantes sin mayor interés por lo que te cuentan es que algo ha fallado, aunque puede que ese algo seas tú.
Aun así, la historia es sólida, no deja cabos sueltos y estremece cuando quiere, por lo que la propuesta no deja de ser atractiva. Al fin y al cabo, ¿a quien no le gusta la sensación de estar arropado bajo la almohada mientras nota como algo se acerca en la noche?
Profile Image for Jonathon Von.
323 reviews31 followers
April 16, 2022
Fairly tedious YA horror first half perks up with an engaging third act and satisfying conclusion. It’s a case of too little too late however, leaving this a slight but enjoyable teen thriller. Author has some nice writing though and shows a lot of promise with some intriguing themes and grisly imagery.
Profile Image for Marina Schnierer.
99 reviews14 followers
April 2, 2022
The Bone Weaver's Orchard is a debut novel by Sarah Read and wow, what a brilliant debut novel it is! The story is set in 1926 and centres around a 13 year old boy, Charlie Winslow who is sent away from his home in Cairo by his Father to live and study at the Old Cross School for Boys in North Yorkshire, UK. Charlie isn't like most of the other boys at the school so immediately finds it hard to fit in, preferring to spend hours exploring the grounds for more bugs to add to his collection, instead of attending classes. The old building, once an abbey and home to a generation of earls is abundant with dark tunnels and abandoned passages, which Charlie feels compelled to explore. There's a ragged grey figure which stalks the abbey halls at night, thought to be an old ghost, but when Charlie encounters the figure and boys go missing, he is set on a path which leads him to unravel the Old Cross' history and dark secrets. This story is filled with twists and turns, and keeps you rivetted to each page wanting to find out what happens next. The writing is absolutely beautiful and descriptive. You can feel the chill from the old flagstones and the darkness in the tunnels envelope you, it is so atmospheric. I guess you could class this as a coming of age tale, but it's def not a YA book, it's a gruesomely dark tale which I highly recommend you check out. It's only 190 pages long but each page is dripping with beautiful, seamless prose, it will keep you glued until the last page. A brilliant debut and well worthy of a 5 star review!
Profile Image for Zen Ghost Bookworm.
329 reviews20 followers
August 26, 2020
Delighted to add another 5-star to my roster for 2020. What a fabulous book!

There is a tremendous sense of isolation and helplessness as we follow Charley, a new student at school, as he tries and fails to fit in with his new classmates. But bullies are the least of his problems. His best friend disappears first, and so begins his ordeal with the grey ghost. But ghosts don't bleed. Ghosts can't break things. This is a mystery Charley is determined to solve, and he won't let fear, pain, or sadness get in his way. It is hard for him to know who to trust, and it keeps us guessing right to the end.

Characters with depth, settings that come to life on every page, and a story that will keep you hooked. Can't wait to enjoy more from Ms. Read!
Profile Image for Sara Tantlinger.
Author 57 books269 followers
January 31, 2019
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 in the East Wing. While I enjoyed being in Charley's POV most of the book, I think Sam ended up being my favorite character -- there is a complex history and background there and with the connection of the matrons that I wanted to know more about as we neared the poignant ending. Overall, this is a fantastic read and I truly look forward to more Sarah Read novels in the future!
Profile Image for Elchamaco.
467 reviews28 followers
March 22, 2021
Me ha gustado bastante. Aunque presenta elementos comunes a este tipo de terror, niño que va a internado que está abierto en una antigua mansión y en este aspecto puede ser poco novedoso. Sin embargo la novela te engancha.
Profile Image for Steve Stred.
Author 69 books440 followers
March 30, 2021
** Edited as review is now live on Kendall Reviews! **

How did I let this book sit on my TBR for so long?

It even won the HWA Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel in 2019 and I let it continue to wade in the pool of my TBR waiting for my eyes to fall upon it and pluck it from the water.

Much like Jonathan Janz’s ‘The Siren and The Specter,’ I watched as this book slowly made its way up my TBR and once read, nestled a small section in my reading brain where some of these scenes will never ever leave.

What I liked: ‘The Bone Weaver’s Orchard’ is a book that drips of dread and gothic atmosphere from page one until the end. We follow a young boy who has been sent to a boarding school. While he’s a bit old to begin “official schooling” he has been educating himself for some time.

Once he arrives, trouble seemingly follows him everywhere.

And it’s this dark shadow that trails behind that Read really uses to exploit the darkness that she’s crafted in this book.

I really enjoyed how the mystery of this place slowly unravelled and even though it was a short read, Read stuffed this full of intrigue and thrills.

This one’s a tough one to review and state the ‘why’ of loving certain things as they take place further into the book, and I wanna stay spoiler-free, but the layers that Read places throughout are fantastic.

What I didn’t like: The story dictates this, but I wish we knew a bit more about Charley at the beginning. It wasn’t so much that things were rushed, but he ended up at Old Cross and then it was right into the story.

Why you should read this: Read has really created a gloomy story, and as I mentioned, the various layers of history and mystery unravel and expand this story far beyond the stated 165-page count. Charley was a captivating main character and because of that, the story flew along.
Profile Image for Borja.
419 reviews96 followers
December 7, 2020
Empiezas y no hay manera de parar. Una novela llena de lugares conocidos pero con un punto de vista ingenuo que permite una serie de giros muy interesantes.
Profile Image for Ignacio Senao f.
982 reviews43 followers
January 28, 2021
Simple entretenimiento. La historia realmente es muy interesante y al leer la sinopsis este libro pasa a ser el primero en la lista de pendientes. Que te hable de una vieja abadía con niños que desaparecen y extrañas presencias, pues a uno se le cae la baba. Pero luego se convierte en una historia bastante simple y falta de sorpresas.
Profile Image for Lauren.
151 reviews13 followers
March 23, 2019
“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 Abbey turned all boy boarding school. How could this book not be creepy?! The setting and the weather perfectly mirrored the creepiness and dread of the story. From the opening lines, Read steadily built the tension and foreboding until it was towering over you, ready to collapse like the dilapidated East Wing. It seemed everyone had a secret to hide; the teachers, the staff, the very walls themselves, and the reader, along with Charley was left grasping for the truth like grasping at the insubstantial mist.

Charley was such a sweet, lonely, misunderstood little boy and I yearned to give him a big hug. While Charley was the protagonist and main focus of The Bone Weaver's Orchard, my heart lies with Sam. I adored him with his dirt stained hands and secret past. I thought he was such a wonderful addition to the story.

I could have lived in Read's world for a hundred more pages. I am selfish and I wanted more spooky happenings, more bumps in the night, more mischief, more Old Cross! Her descriptions of the decrepit school and all its inhabitants were both horrifying yet beautiful; I didn't want them to end. But now that my time at Old Cross has come to an end I feel like I need everything Read has written and I'll be snatching up everything she continues to write.
Profile Image for Beverley Lee.
Author 18 books257 followers
January 9, 2021
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 locked away in the crumbling East wing. When boys start go missing in strange circumstances, Charley finds a hidden passage and is soon snared in the jaws of grisly discoveries, dragging him further and further into danger.

With a young protagonist it's easy to think that the darkness in this might be somehow sanitised, but what happens to Charley pulls no punches, and I really admired the way the author tackled this element of the story.

With wonderful character development, this well-paced and atmospheric story is definitely worth picking up!
Profile Image for Mangrii.
846 reviews235 followers
December 16, 2020
4,25 / 5

El viaje comienza cuando Charley Winslow recala en la escuela para chicos Old Cross, en el año 1926. Recién llegado de Sudáfrica, su educación ha sido un tanto inusual. Sumado a su gusto por la entomología, digamos que no es apreciado por el resto de compañeros. Objeto de burla y maltrato, solo congenia con otro nuevo estudiante -con alma de geólogo- llamado Ethan Bowles y el jardinero Sam Forster. Pero algo se oculta en la vieja abadía. Un viejo secreto que se remonta a cuando la escuela era el hogar de una familia noble. Cuando Ethan desaparezca de la enfermería donde recalaba tras un incidente con otros niños mayores, Charley comenzará una búsqueda que pondrá la abadía patas arriba.

Sarah Read organiza una fiesta para la novela gótica mientras recorremos los pasillos y recovecos de una tenebrosa abadía perdida de Inglaterra, desvelando un secreto tras otro en cada esquina. Túneles oscuros y serpenteantes. Pasadizos imposibles detrás de los armarios. Puertas traseras. Ruinas cerradas ¿Qué secretos guarda este tenebroso edificio? La escuela Old Cross es un escenario clásico, inmersivo y tétrico que agarra al lector por las sienes y lo traslada a una perpetua sensación de tensión y suspense. Sarah domina los tiempos narrativos, dosifica la información, juega la baza del suspense todo lo posible y nos hace dudar, hasta en el último momento, sobre quién es amigo o enemigo en esta historia.

Si El jardín del tallador de huesos funciona, en gran medida, es por Charley. Es así de simple. Toda la novela se basa en la empatía que entreteje Sarah entre el lector y el señorito Winslow. En sufrir y vivir con él toda esta historia. Un niño diferente y peculiar, huérfano, idealista, valiente e impulsivo, que siempre transita con un pie fuera de la norma. Un corazón bondadoso, que no sé achica ante ningún reto y lleva la palabra aventura grabada a fuego en su pecho. Las maldades, perdidas y dolores que sufre el joven Charley, llegan a salir de la página para sentirse nuestras propias carnes.

Sarah Read nos propone un intenso viaje repleto de misterio y sorpresas por una vieja y rechinante abadía no apto para cardíacos. Una historia que homenajea los tropos de la novela gótica y los remezcla en un cóctel de persecutorio terror que funciona a las mil maravillas.

Reseña extensa en el blog: https://boywithletters.blogspot.com/2...
Profile Image for The Irregular Reader.
417 reviews48 followers
March 19, 2019
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, abandoned protagonist. From the start, the school and the people within it seem sinister. While pacing is a bit rough sometimes, and the faster-paced parts can be difficult to follow, I see these as forgivable sins in a writer’s debut novel. In all, Read has shown that she knows what is scary, and I’m excited for future works to refine her art.
Profile Image for Suzy Michael.
190 reviews27 followers
February 25, 2019
* 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 the picture, Charley is brave for his age, even heading into a new country and new school- The Old Cross School for Boys. One night, Charley follows his pet insects, obtained while living in Africa, to a pool of blood behind a false wall. Instead of running away, or trying to forget about what he saw, Charley decides to investigate the abandoned passages, and walk the dark tunnels of the heart of school that could expose a long kept secret of a family that once resided in the mansion turned school. A scandal that still walks the halls of the school, stealing boys from their beds, and haunting a new generation.

This was an unexpected fun read. The unexpected part comes from the fact that Charley and the others are so young, I didn't think the horror would be as hardcore as I usually prefer. But it is! The author does not shy away from graphic violence or situations, which I found unique and delightful. And real. Children experience horrible things just like adults unfortunately. Read had no problem explaining the graphic scenes and she didn't leave any of the gory details out. She was consistent with this throughout the book. She also has no issue putting her young characters through awful situations. She doesn't have a problem being mean to her characters, even if they are children. An example of this is the bullying of the younger boys by the older boys, while authority figures turn their heads in indifference. This is infuriating for the reader if you have a heart, but the author puts these children in the situations for a clever reason, and I get it.
The location of the story was perfect. Having spent time in North Yorkshire, the author's descriptions of the area were accurate and made me feel like I was back in gloomy, mist-filled Yorkshire. This also lent to the creepiness of the novel. The location has an air of eeriness to it, which played out perfectly with this very atmospheric story, and the author used the locale to her advantage.
The story had a steady pace and the writing and composition was done very well. The only real issue was the prologue. I don't understand why there was one. It was just introducing Charley into the story and explained why he was there-his father is a soldier in the war. I felt it was needless, or could have easily have been incorporated into the story easily enough. Other than that, the book flowed along steadily with a growing tension.

The Bone Weaver's Orchard is a well crafted, atmospheric horror with a mystery for the reader and the protagonist to solve together. We are given little bread crumbs to find and follow, each hidden subtly throughout the book, and when followed leads to the shocking and heartbreaking climax. Sarah Read has a fantastic, descriptive writing style that you cannot help but to want to immerse yourself in. I cannot wait for her next horrific venture!
Profile Image for Heidi.
756 reviews22 followers
March 24, 2019
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. Haunting mystery with an oh, so sweet moment at the ending.

Psst! GO BUY IT! Or you know get it at the Library, that works too.
1 review
December 16, 2018
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 :)
Profile Image for Estanteriadecho.
506 reviews42 followers
June 6, 2021
El jardín del tallador de huesos es una obra de misterio y terror que sucede en un internado antiguo con alumnos crueles, castigos severos, y un ser que mora por sus pasillos. Una obra imprescindible para amantes del misterio, listas de sospechosos que engrosan y lectores con ganas de pasar miedo.
Reseña completa: https://laestanteriadecho.blogspot.co...
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