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Helena

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3.90  ·  Rating details ·  21 ratings  ·  19 reviews
On the outskirts of London, 1855, mortician and funeral director Helena Morrigan struggles with her limited finances and the heavy burdens of her past. Desperate to secure herself, she takes up residence in an aged house closer the graveyard, closer to the lost souls that sense her torment and are determined to take her place in the mortal world.

As she tries to tame and f
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141 pages
Published October 13th 2020 by CLASH Books
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Average rating 3.90  · 
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Sadie Hartmann Mother Horror
Horror fans looking for something atmospheric for their Halloween reading list should consider this, debut novella from Claire L. Smith. Helena Morrigan is a mortician/funeral director in the mid-1800s. She spends copious amounts of time in dark, foggy, London alleys, spooky graveyards, and morgues. Not to mention, she seems to be a magnet for paranormal entities.
Due to some unfortunate circumstances, Helena is having financial troubles and must take up residence in an old house with quirky owne
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Morgan Tanner
Sep 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
There are times when you read a story, become lost in the moment and simply enjoy the words as they are presented. It's only afterwards, as you ponder just what happened, you feel its rotten fingernails scraping over your worthless soul as it grips you tightly and mercilessly. This is exactly what happened to me with this book.

I throw the word 'creepy' around quite a lot in my reviews, but this book is certainly one deserving of this description. I suppose a gothic novel involving a woman who ru
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Alex | | findingmontauk1
Sep 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned, night-worms, lohf
Helena is a Gothic horror lover's dream! Set in the mid-1800s, this novella explores the life (and many deaths involved) of a mortician and funeral director, Helena Morrigan. She takes up residence in the home of three newly-orphaned siblings. Business starts to increase at the same time as there is a serial killer in the midst! YIKES.

This is Claire L. Smith's debut and it is haunting, beautiful, and fast-paced! Helena is a force to reckon with and I would love to engage in conversation with her
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Chandra Claypool (wherethereadergrows)
Hello gothic supernatural meets serial murder mystery. Helena who works with the afterlife can also see them. Um, yes please to the please. As a mortician, wouldn't a serial killer be VERY good for your business? *wink*

I did find this to be a bit predictable and some parts felt a bit over descriptive. It took me a little bit to get hooked into the story but at 141 pages, it was a breeze to get through once it caught my full attention. Where this book absolutely shines is Helena and her interacti
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Nina The Wandering Reader
Oct 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
“What kind of woman has a fascination with death?”

I adore gothic literature. I’ve loved it ever since I was a young girl deep in the pages of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. Give me brooding gentlemen and dark manors. Give me black lace and grieving ghosts. I want lovers scorned and haunting secrets. I LOVE gothic fiction. Claire L Smith’s HELENA was no exception to that love.

Smith’s book introduces us to Helena Morrigan, a struggling mortician and funeral director in the 19th century who is
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Ashley (bookishmommy)
3.5 stars! If you're a fan of Gothic horror, this ones for you. Taking place in London in the 1800s, Helena is about a young woman who is a mortician and funeral director.

I loved the moody and dark atmosphere. It gave me a lot of Frankenstein vibes (and thus The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein). Helena finds herself encountering a lot of mysteries and paranormal activity which unfortunately left me confused quite often. I had to go back a few times to sort out who was who or why someone w
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Marcy Reads on IG
Oct 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, I really didn’t expect these tears streaming down my face just now. Here I was just thinking I was reading a beautifully written gothic novel when the ending punches me dead in the feels!

The atmosphere in this book? On point! The cover of this book is a clear reflection of its content. It’s dreary, and eerie, and just amazing. My only itty bitty small gripe is that there are so many layers to this story in such a small timeline that sometimes it was hard following along the story. I want
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Kami  Martin
Oct 18, 2020 rated it liked it
Valerie pushed herself from the couch, passing Audrey before judging the bookshelf, her fingers dancing over the spines before she grabbed a thick novel from amongst the wall of worded bricks. _Helena, pg23

Thank you to Clash Books and to our Author Claire L.Smith for providing a copy of Helena, the debut novel from Smith, for a Nightworms Book Party.

This novel is evocative and deliriously mysterious. Helena is a powerhouse with a past and her visions are haunting. Gothic horror is hard to write
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Janelle Janson
Oct 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
HELENA by Claire L. Smith is a gothic horror novella that in just 141 pages tells an engrossing story. It is short, but still offers that signature slow-burn that I crave so much in gothic stories.

This particular tale takes place in London, mid 1800s, where we meet Helena Morrigan. Helena is an orphan raised by her aunt and uncle after her parents left and never returned. She grew up to be a mortician and funeral director, but unfortunately has come into some financial trouble. She ends up movin
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Sara Tantlinger
Sep 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I had the very exciting honor of reading HELENA earlier this year and providing a blurb -- this book felt like it was made for me, and it's so special when you're reading an early copy of something and you fall so genuinely in love with it. Smith's prose is gorgeous -- rich in poetic descriptions and sharp imagery. The delightful Gothic tones mixed with characters who feel so relatable had me invested very quickly in the story. The darkness within follows you every step of the way -- haunting an ...more
Matt (TeamRedmon)
Oct 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
I read this in one sitting yesterday. It hooked me from the very beginning. Helena Morrigan is a mortician in the mid 1800s. She's tired of her commute and needs to move closer to the cemetery. When she finds a house near the graveyard and quickly decides to move in, despite the home being already occupied by 3 orphaned siblings. But the location of the house is too good to pass up so she takes on these 3 strange roommates. Basically immediately after moving in, a serial killer begins to stalk t ...more
Richelle SheReadsHorror
Oct 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
I can't think of a better book that will have you walking the graveyards this Halloween. This book draws on that classic gothic victorian era in aesthetics and foggy graveyard that’s just waiting for guests.

Review of “Helena by Claire L. Smith” out October 13th preorder this one now!

Helena works as a mortician and seeks to live closer to work due to struggling finances. She finds a house close to the graveyard. While she seeks to help release the dead from the mortal world, she is also torme
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Octavia (ReadsWithDogs)
I love a good gothic and this one is a murder mystery as well! A mortician that can see ghosts? Rad! Helena herself reminds me of a more brash Jane Eyre and the story had some lovely gothic elements. However, I found myself a little bored in the beginning and not convinced or caring about Helena's romantic interest. The murderer and the reasoning behind the murders was predictable and dull.
The story really picked up for me at the end and I wanted to keep reading...when everything just ended, wh
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trufflebooks
Oct 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Spooky, chilling gothic horror. Review to come 💕
Ben Long
Oct 14, 2020 rated it liked it
Lots of atmosphere, imagery, and terror in such a short amount of pages! I really liked how the ghosts would just pop up out of nowhere and instantly turn any scene into a fright-filled nightmare, keeping me on my toes as I read. The character Helena is also a relatable and engaging protagonist, with a lot of mystery around her that was fun to try and figure out

I did feel a little lost with some of the other characters, and it took me about halfway through to get a handle on who everyone is. Som
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Nico Bell
Oct 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Helena is a fun fast-paced mystery horror book set in the 1800s and staring a strong female protagonist. Helena Morrigan is a mortician and funeral home director who can see ghosts. Unfortunately, her circumstances lead her to take up residency in an old home on the brink of a graveyard. While this creates obstacles for Helena, it weaves a fun mystery for readers as Helena finds herself in the web of a serial killer and his victims.
The gothic elements great a dark and macabre tone, set from the
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Jessica Drake-Thomas
Sep 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
“This is a gift, Helena, not a curse. You can help them,” Minerva said. “I’m afraid of them,” Helena replied, blunt as a butcher’s knife. “And they sense that, and they think they can take your place,” Minerva replied, matching Helena’s tone.

Helena is Claire L. Smith's debut novella about a Victorian-Era mortician with the power to see and speak with the Dead. Helena Morrigan is reminiscent of Vanessa Ives from Penny Dreadful. She owns and runs the funeral home that her grandparents owned prior
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Kallie (pageandparlor) Lou Weisgarber
Gothic horror? Murder mystery? Rad AF protagonist? If you said “uh yes, please,” then HELENA is for you. Thanks to Night Worms and Clash Books for making this #nightwormsbookparty possible.
I loved our well built main character and the strong atmospheric horror tones going on through the whole book. There were a few parts of HELENA that lost me due to the pacing, but it was never so much that I broke immersion. I think this book was fun, quick and easy to read and I would definitely read more fro
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CLAIRE L. SMITH is an Australian author, poet and artist. Her debut gothic horror novella, HELENA is due for release via Clash Books in October 2020.

Based in genres such as gothic horror and dark fantasy, her work has been featured in Moonchild Magazine, Dark Marrow, Peculiars Magazine, The Horror Tree and more.

She is also a Lead Writer with Morbidly Beautiful as well as the poetry/fiction edit
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