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The Moorstone Sickness

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  148 ratings  ·  44 reviews
Hal and Rowan Graham flee the bustle of London to the rustic village of Moorstone, where everything seems perfect, almost too perfect. Suspicious, they try to unravel its mysterious secrets, such as why does so small a village need such a large asylum? By the same author as "The Godsend". ...more
Unknown Binding, 161 pages
Published January 1st 1982 by St. Martin's Press
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Average rating 3.64  · 
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mark monday
Hal and Rowan flee the big city of London to settle in the beautiful, placid, and exceedingly friendly village of Moorstone; disturbing undercurrents eventually become stronger & stronger, and the almost-happy couple find that things are murky indeed beneath the town's lovely surface. there are some intriguing things going on under the surface of this novel as well: Bernard steeps his small bag of precisely-drawn yet often ambiguously sympathetic characters into the opaque waters of immortality ...more
Janie C.
Jul 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Moorstone seems to be the perfect little town. However, ominous hints and disturbing occurrences ruffle the blanket of serenity. A young couple looking for a quiet life learn that all that is tranquil is not as innocent as it appears. Slyly menacing, this story will lure you to the edge of a nightmare that may alter your life interminably.
Jun 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: valancourt
Another great book brought back into print by Valancourt! Bernard Taylor's The Moorstone Sickness is about a young couple, trying to get on with their lives after the death of their young son, by moving away from the city and into a more rural community. Conveniently, just as they are about to give up hope, a chance encounter with a doctor leads them to the quaint area of Moorstone.

Moorstone is everything--and more, that anyone could want. It's a picture perfect town, habited by only beautiful,
Nancy Oakes
3.5 stars

This book may not be the best horror novel ever, but

A) that was creepy and b) the ending, OH GOD!

One very big thing that I came to realize after having finished The Moorstone Sickness is just how very jaded modern horror readers have become. When I got to the end of the novel, I realized that here is a case where you really have to consider just what it is that constitutes your own personal idea of horror. If it's blood, guts and gore splattered everywhere you're after, forget it. Not
Sep 18, 2017 marked it as to-read
His is a hardcover book from St. Martin's Press. ...more
Rob Twinem
Nov 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my second foray into the mind and writing of Bernard Taylor, English horror/suspense author from the 1970’s onwards. Once again I lament the fact that this author’s works were virtually unknown to me until I was introduced recently to “Sweetheart Sweetheart” (1977) and have now come to love his quiet, unassuming atmospheric and yet highly charged and readable horror delights!!

If you are expecting horror that is full on, extreme, graphic or visceral then perhaps Bernard Taylor’s writing m
Matthew Bielawa
Jun 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
There's just something so strong, so powerful, about Bernard Taylor's writing. This is my second book by the author and I just loved it!

Taylor's voice just hits me right. He's my kind of horror. There's plenty of sinister atmosphere, a good story, and a depth to the characters. In "The Moorstone Sickness", I was pulled in right from the first page: a stressed out couple leaves hectic London for a quaint village on the moors, to a place recommended to them by a casual encounter with a gentleman a

5 stars. I really like Taylor's horror novels, and this one, with creepy English villagers, a standing stone, and an unexpected ending, is probably my favorite. It's a quick read that I highly recommend to horror fans. ...more
Horace Derwent
i think maybe this is one of the domain of contemporary english hardcore horrors
Rob Twinem
Nov 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is my second foray into the mind and writing of Bernard Taylor, English horror/suspense author from the 1970’s onwards. Once again I lament the fact that this author’s works were virtually unknown to me until I was introduced recently to “Sweetheart Sweetheart” (1977) and have now come to love his quiet, unassuming atmospheric and yet highly charged and readable horror delights!!

If you are expecting horror that is full on, extreme, graphic or visceral then perhaps Bernard Taylor’s writing m
Dec 06, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror-fiction
2.5 stars

This is going to be one of those times when I see all the glowing reviews by the majority of other Goodreaders and wonder if we were all reading the same thing!

So, yes - the desperate, bleak awfulness of what becomes of Rowan and Hal at the conclusion of the book is pretty darn powerful, but the lead-up at times left me .. well, kind of bored at times. And there were a few seemingly pointless bits like at one point I thought the villagers were trying to encourage Hal and Rowan to get pr
Alex (The Bookubus)
Hal and Rowan decide to get away from the bad memories of their London flat and move to the countryside. At first the village of Moorstone offers them the peace and quiet and fresh start they have been looking for. But it soon becomes apparent that there is something sinister going on behind the villagers' friendliness.

Although there will be elements of this story that you have probably read or watched elsewhere, Taylor manages to create something unique with them. Interestingly, the sinister el
Jun 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Moorstone Sickness is another example of an excellent "lost" book deservedly resurrected by the guys at my favorite reissue publisher, Valancourt Books. Until recently, I had not read a whole lot of horror fiction from the late 70s/80s era of genre paperbacks--there was just too much out there at the time, and judging by the tacky cover art, most of it looked awful. But as I've learned (thanks mainly to Valancourt), there were actually quite a few genre diamonds in the rough published at the ...more
Good ol' fashioned slow burn horror story, originally published in 1981, by the author of The Godsend and Sweetheart Sweetheart. This has a touch of The Stepford Wives and The Wicker Man but with a nasty kick all its own. Recommended for fans of the old school. Valancourt Books has been resurrecting classic genre fiction and out-of-print gay titles in attractive new editions for several years now, showing great taste and discernment—they've also already reprinted several Michael McDowell books a ...more
Jul 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Thanks again to Valancourt Books for continuing to reprint these classic 80s horror tales. This was a brisk and breezy 'city folk head to the country and discover something sinister beneath the seemingly perfect facade' kind of tale. Very well told with a lean yet occasionally poetic and thoughtful writing style. Saw the ending from miles away, but that was obviously never the point of this; it's all about the atmosphere. Well done, Bernard! ...more
An altogether satisfying and entertaining novella. A slow, slow burn, with an interesting ending. I enjoyed it.
Apr 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
Another young couple leave their stressful city life for a too-good-to-be-true country house, only to find themselves in the middle of an 80's horror novel. I never grow tired of this trope. If the male protagonist is an author, which is often the case, so much the better. A generic academic works too, as long as the wife is sad and/or melancholic. Throw in some creepy villagers and I'm in.

This 1982 story, another great Valancourt pick, is particularly satisfying . There is hardly any violence,
Alexa "Naps" Snow
Nov 23, 2015 rated it liked it
I really like Taylors books but this one just made me old-people-phobic which is a strange after taste for a book. I can't quit Bernard Taylor ...more
Dec 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nice surprise!!
My first of this author, after reading all the good hype among the readers who have rediscovered him recently I was already eager to read it. I really enjoyed it! Very recommendable.
It starts a little slow, but quite fast takes a good pace, increasing intrigue, well constructed characters for a book so short, sense of place, ...It's like watching a movie from the late seventies, early eighties, it beams also the quietness of that time (no internet, less stress,...). Overall is a c
Emily Crow
Well written but predictable.
Signor Mambrino
May 04, 2020 rated it liked it
Pretty good.
Daniel Stainback
Sep 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
Wow! Even though I had a good feeling of what was going to happen, it was still a nice shock at the end.
I guessed what was going on fairly early into the book, but it's well-written enough to stay engaging until the end. ...more
Jul 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
A terrific read right up to the end. I kept comparing with John Wyndham's novels, but the hectic unveiling and conclusion felt clumsy and lacked Wyndham's finesse. I felt like the author got fed up with the book and decided to write off the ending. 3.5 stars and I'm keen to read more of Bernard Taylor's work to see if he ends all his books like this one. ...more
Nov 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
Not quite as good as The Godsend or The Reaping , but still an excellent, subtle work of horror. ...more
I saw this in a movie once, but it took place in the NOLA bayou.
Several months back, Valancourt Books had a sale on some of their ebooks. I've sort of become a Valancourt fanboy, so of course I bought them all, though it's taken me some time to get around to them (story of my life). The Moorstone Sickness was one of those books, and when I was prioritizing my ebook to-read list, I bumped this one up, since I had enjoyed Taylor's Sweetheart, Sweetheart so much.

This book is part of the "Small Town with a Hidden Secret" genre, which is a personal favorite. It's
This was...a ride

The description sounds folk horror-esque but there's not tones of folk horror here; I mean there's some but it's fairly subtle.

The writing is really good! You come to care about what happens to the characters! It is frightening in that uneasy, Aickman-esque way!

But oh my GOD the horror elements of the book are telegraphed so clearly that by like 10% in you know exactly what's going on and you only kind of wonder how it is done (although don't expect too much on that front; the a
Apr 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The intro by Mark Morris summarizes the novel well. Morris is the writer of the official movie tie-in to Darren Aronofsky's "Noah," a novella entitled, "It Sustains," and the winner of the 2013 Shirley Jackson award.

"…And then, of course, we have Bernard Taylor. A former illustrator, teacher, and successful actor…being a sucker for British horror stories featuring Paganism and Ancient Magic connected with standing stones, I then snapped up "The Moorstone Sickness" on the basis of Steve Crisp's c
Nov 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: review
In 'The Moorstone Sickness', after the death of their two-year-old son, Hal and Rowan move to the quaint village of Moorstone in the hope of a fresh start. Everything is perfect from the tranquility to the friendly residents. So why does Hal suffer from sleepless nights? And why is there an asylum?

A disturbing incident in the beginning catalyzed the underlying current of unease that ran throughout. The village was well-drawn - idyllic with no disputes, no noise and everybody bending over backwar
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Valancourt Books: The Moorstone Sickness (1982) by Bernard Taylor 36 27 May 26, 2015 11:52AM  

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Bernard Taylor was born in Swindon, Wiltshire, and now lives in London. Following active service in Egypt in the Royal Air Force, he studied Fine Arts in Swindon, then at Chelsea School of Art and Birmingham University. On graduation he worked as a teacher, painter and book illustrator before going as a teacher to the United States. While there, he took up acting and writing and continued with bot ...more

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