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Starve Acre

(The Eden Book Society)

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  271 ratings  ·  155 reviews
The worst thing possible has happened. Richard and Juliette Willoughby’s son, Ewan, has died suddenly at the age of five. Starve Acre, their house by the moors, was to be full of life, but is now a haunted place.

Juliette, convinced Ewan still lives there in some form, seeks the help of the Beacons, a seemingly benevolent group of occultists. Richard, to try and
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published October 31st 2019 by John Murray (first published 2019)
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Average rating 3.99  · 
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Andrew Michael Hurley has a real gift for the gothic style, horror tinged, atmospheric storytelling that immerses the reader here in a chillingly dark and disturbing world. He draws on his trademark themes of history, superstitions and folklore in a ominous narrative that goes back and forth in time. The Willoughbys have relocated to the rural Yorkshire Dales to an inherited home, Starve Acre, a name that certainly doesn't inspire comforting heartwarming pictures. For Richard and Juliette as par ...more
Oct 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, horror
Starve Acre is a folk horror tale, full of menace and fuelled by guilt. Richard and Juliette Willoughby, and their young son Ewan moved to Richard’s family home in the Yorkshire Dales following the death of his parents. The house known as Starve Acre has unhappy memories for Richard as he recalls his father’s mental breakdown. The unfriendliness of the house and the surrounding fields haven’t changed and the main field that folklore tells of homing the legendary Stythwaite Oak sees nothing ever grow ther/>Starve
Amalia Gavea
''He says my name sometimes. He tells me to come to the tree.''

A young family moves to the moors, to a house where dreams and nightmares co-exist. The forest nearby hides secrets and strange apparitions. But the young parents are hopeful, away from the noise and threats of the big city. Soon, everything changes. A young boy becomes almost unrecognizable, his intentions inexplicable and violent. A tree appears at will and a presence, called Jack Grey, seems to have entered the boy's mind and is there
In a manner of speaking, I'd already read Starve Acre. A novella of the same title, published under the pseudonym Jonathan Buckley, was issued as part of the Eden Book Society series earlier this year. I loved it (you can read my review here). But this new version promised an expanded take on the themes of the novella, plus a different ending, so I was still excited to (re?)read it.

Richard and Juliette Willoughby are in mourning
Aug 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Having really enjoyed The Loney and Devils Day I was really pleased to receive this ARC and I was not disappointed. From the opening sentences with the beautiful winter descriptions of Croftendale in the Yorkshire Dales right through to the mind blowing ending I was hooked. This is the story of Richard, Juliette and Ewan Willoughby and their home Starve Acre. It is a story of grief, guilt and sorrow following the death of young Ewan, it encompasses local legends, superstitions, magic and beliefs ...more
Sep 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, kindle
This is a book to devour. The writing is exquisite, the characters are indepth, the bleak end of Winter scenery on the quiet moor heartbreakingly beautiful.

Richard and Juliette have recently lost their young child and are each grieving in their own way. Richard hides on the moor, Juliette in her deceased son's bedroom. They grow further apart each day.
An occult healing session turns their world upside down.

Starve Acre is a story with few characters, traveling at a slow but ver
Oct 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having enjoyed Andrew Michael Hurley’s previous novels, “The Loney,” and “Devil’s Day,” I was excited to read his latest work. “Starve Acre,” is a novella length story, set in a similar, bleak countryside setting, as his previous books. Dr Richard Willoughby, a university professor, inherits his family home – the starkly named, ‘Starve Acre,’ and moves there – a little against his better judgement – with wife Juliette. Their son, Ewan, is much wanted by Juliette, who adores the boy. However, Ric ...more
Jul 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
And so, the secret is out. Starve Acre, originally issued by Dead Ink Books as part of their Eden Book Society series, was not written by the elusive (by which read “fictional”) 1970s author Jonathan Buckley, but is, in fact, Andrew Michael Hurley's third novel. Starve Acre has now been published by John Murray under Hurley’s name and with new cover art. Having enjoyed "Buckley"’s horror novella, I was eager to read this version, curious to discover whether it would be an expanded take on the or ...more
Richard Willoughby took over his parents' farmhouse, Starve Acre, so he and his wife Juliette could start a family, but they have always been regarded as outsiders by the villagers of Stythwaite. Now, their son Ewan is dead and Juliette, mired in grief and depression, is a shadow of her former self. Richard has been coping by throwing himself into work – he's a university lecturer – but eventually he's forced to take some leave. In the absence of other distractions, Richard begins methodically d ...more
Sep 11, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
I have read both this author’s previous books and been impressed by his skills at conjuring atmosphere. He gives us more of the same here with a setting on the Yorkshire moors in an isolated farmhouse and its adjacent field, the focus of local superstition and a grisly history. The tension is heightened by the family’s own recent history and the tragic loss of their 5-year-old son. The circumstances of his death are unclear for most of the book. The events leading up to it, though, and the child ...more
Jul 13, 2019 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Cover by Daren Hopes
Nancy Oakes
Nov 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
I hope to have something up tomorrow about this book. For now, some wonderful person sent me a copy so now I have two. If anyone (in the US) would like my extra book, gratis and I'll pay postage, please let me know via pm and it's yours.
A few weeks back, cult horror writer Andrew Michael Hurley announced the forthcoming publication of his third novel: “Starve Acre”. It is, he revealed, a work “very much in the folk horror tradition”, about “how grief strips the world into two”. Its protagonists are Richard and Juliette, a couple who have lost their only son, Ewan, and are trying to get to grips with this tragic, life-changing event. Whilst Juliette believes that Ewan lives on in their house in rural Yorkshire, Richard becomes o ...more
Oct 31, 2019 rated it liked it
Starve Acre by Andrew Michael Hurley is an interesting tale. As reading one of the comments on the back cover I thought that I might get shivers feelings, as like to freak me out. But I didn't find the scenes frightening enough for me. I think I was more expecting to experience much more sinister ghostly atmosphere, to send chills right through me, but I didn't experience any of that.

However Richard and Juliette's son Ewan did give me that edgy feeling with things that he disclosed to his fathe
Alex Sarll
Hurley's third novel was initially snuck out pseudonymously, posing as a lost classic of the 1970s and folk horror's first boom. I'd be interested to know how many readers of that edition saw through the ruse, because it's certainly not a million miles from his last novel, Devil's Day. Once again, a man returns to the old family home in the wilds of Yorkshire, a more metropolitan bride in tow; once again, the memory of his father looms over the house, and a death in the family casts its shadow. ...more
Oct 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
As you may now, if you follow my twitter, I received some gorgeous #bookpost from Readers First last night, this stunning hardcover copy of Starve Acre, by Andrew Michael Hurley, I had won it in a raffle – and it was a wonderful prize just in time for Halloween and it’s publication date.

Starve Acre is a gorgeous horror story with a compelling atmosphere, an overwhelming sense of grief and an astounding use of Gothic motifs.

My First Impressions based on a small snippet off
Rob Twinem
Oct 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Andrew Michael Hurley is an author I have come to admire very much. He uses the wild rugged unpredictable Lancastrian coast (The Loney) and the beautiful desolate Yorkshire dales as a setting for Starve Acre his latest novel. His stories cross a number of genres, part contemporary gothic whith elements of horror, the supernatural, and local forklore with a dash of superstition. It works extremely well Starve Acre is a delightful unsettling novel to read.

Juliette and Richard move to
Rachel Hall
Oct 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
A growing sense of unease permeates in a compelling & atmospheric tale of grief and the surreal.

As someone who would normally give a wide berth to a horror story and the unexplainable I certainly did not expect to be mesmerised by Starve Acre, however between the brooding atmosphere and a growing sense of unease, it made for an oddly compelling read. Set in a richly described Yorkshire Dales first time parents, Richard and Juliette Willoughby, are six months on from the death of Ewan, their
Oct 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Andrew Michael Hurley returns with a hauntingly beautiful written novel of a couple shaken by the sudden death of her five year old son.

Juliette and Richard Willoughby were a happily married couple. They moved to a rural Yorkshire village into a house Richard inherited from his parents. Here, they think, or at least Juliette thinks, that this would be a much better environment for their little boy. But soon Richard gets obsessed by digging for the roots of an old tree on the field which belongs
Nov 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Loney was one of my favourite books the year it was published & I also enjoyed Devil's Day, so I was really excited to get hold of another of Andrew Michael Hurley's books.

Richard & Juliette live in what was Richard's home growing up. They are still reeling from the death of their five year old son Ewan. Richard tries to continue with his work as a college lecturer but is forced to take some time off although he continues with his archaeological work in their field lookin
Roman Clodia
Nov 02, 2019 rated it liked it
Hurley controls his pace well in this folk-horror novella, and there's a nice contrast between his elegant diction and the visceral violence in some of the scenes ~ yet I somehow find his work underwhelming, perhaps because the tropes are so well-established in the genre: the city outsiders falling foul of country knowledge and superstitions, the malevolent bogeyman who seems to possess young men, the child who hears things that adults don't and who commits acts of evil...

All of this is overlay
Oct 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, gothic
Captivating gothic tale set on the remote Yorkshire Moors.

Richard and Juliette try in their separate ways to come to terms with the death of five-year-old son, Ewan. Richard fills his time with practical activity, digging for evidence of the Stythwaite Oak, a gallows-tree, in the field known as Starve Acre. Meanwhile, Juliette seeks solace with The Beacons, an esoteric group of preternaturalists led by the very ordinary looking Mrs Forde.

Starve Acre oozes with gothic atmosphere from the first/>Starve
Sep 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Richard wondered if the hare in some way felt as he did that spring was always bestowed. That it was an invitation to come and watch the world moving and be among its tremors. Here in the field, those first shocks of the season were starting now. [loc. 1005]

Originally published under the nom de plume of Jonathan Buckley, by the Eden Book Society [CAUTION: rabbit hole ahead], Starve Acre has been reissued under Hurley's name, with revisions. (I would be fascinated to be able to compare the two editions:
Don Jimmy
Sep 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
From the start of this book, I wasn’t too sure what to make of it. I’m not sure I was enjoying it to be honest but there was something about it that kept me going – it’s also short – almost a novella – so there’s the possibility that I thought to myself that it wouldn’t take too long whether I liked it or not. Then something surprising happened. It sucked me in.

What we have here is a story that is dark and atmospheric. At times the story is frightening, and I had that “walking over m
Aug 04, 2019 rated it liked it
It's difficult to explain the premise of this story without spoilers... The reader knows Richard and Juliette lost their son, Ewan. We don't initially find out how - we just see that they are suffering with their loss, Juliette particularly. The story moves back and forwards in time and we learn more about Ewan, that he was a 'difficult' child with issues around the paranormal or mental illness being the cause. These themes continue throughout the book in regards to Ewan and Juliette.

This is a
Jul 28, 2019 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alyssia Cooke
This is certainly a weird book; it reads as a contemporary tale focused on grief but with a distinctly gothic horror tone running through it. From the moment you are introduced to the Willoughby family, you are made aware that they have relatively recently lost their young son, Ewan. So you are entering a home still in the throes of a deep grief. Hurley's writing depicts this beautifully, even when he is depicting the landscape of Starve Acre - it all seems to tie back into that sense of loss an ...more
Oct 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
I'll just start by highlighting the stunning artwork of this hardback copy. The image of an old tree that has a rope tied into a loose noose hanging from one of its branches sets the tone even before you read the first sentence. This is a story about grief, about a family ripped apart, of words unsaid , all of which are played out upon the bleak backdrop of Starve Acre. It's a haunting, beautiful and deeply disturbing read. It's a story that I won't forget any time soon, as it seeped into my bon ...more
Matthew Tett
This is the second book I have read by this author (the first being The Loney). Hurley is particularly adept at creating a haunting, Gothic atmosphere; one with strange characters, often displaying odd behaviour against protagonists specifically. Starve Acre is written in a similar vein to Hurley’s first novel but is less focused on the supernatural; instead, he concentrates on the trials of a couple living in a remote part of northern England - and how they deal with the unexplained death of Ew ...more
Oct 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Having enjoyed Andrew Michael Hurley’s previous novels, “The Loney,” and “Devil’s Day,” I was excited to read his latest work. “Starve Acre,” is a novella length story, set in a similar, bleak countryside setting, as his previous books. Dr Richard Willoughby, a university professor, inherits his family home – the starkly named, ‘Starve Acre,’ and moves there – a little against his better judgement – with wife Juliette. Their son, Ewan, is much wanted by Juliette, who adores the boy. However, Ric ...more
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Andrew Michael Hurley (born 1975) is a British writer whose debut novel, The Loney, was published in a limited edition of 278 copies on 1 October 2014 by Tartarus Press[ and was published under Hodder and Stoughton's John Murray imprint in 2015.

Other books in the series

The Eden Book Society (6 books)
  • Holt House
  • Judderman
  • A Dedicated Friend
  • Plunge Hill: A Case Study
  • The Castle
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