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The Gentling Box

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  177 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
In Dissolution, Stuart Granville is a would-be medical student from the South who's been expelled for drinking and believes he's heading north to Hyde Park, New York to tutor twin girls. Instead, he discovers that his charges, Abby and Eleanor, have never been to school of any kind. They are also Siamese twins and their father, a doctor with grandiose dreams, means to sepa ...more
Kindle Edition, 158 pages
Published December 17th 2010 by Shadowfall Publications (first published October 25th 2008)
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I did not realize until just now that so few people have read this book, at least as far as ratings here on Goodreads are concerned. This is depressing as the book is not a new release and I know for a fact that many, many readers would love this incredible mix of horror and historical fiction that explores true evil as few books have ever done.

The book takes place in Hungary and Romania in 1864, among a family of gypsies. More than anything else, I consider the book to be horror, pretty hardcor
Apr 04, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, horror, e-books
At one point, early on in Lisa Mannetti’s novel, The Gentling Box, sad sack half gypsy horse dealer, Imre, is shadowing his gypsy-hag witch lover near a tomb in a Transylvania town, dressed in a stolen cassock. If you’ve ever read Lewis’ The Monk (and you should if you enjoy literary horror with a strong dose of black humor), this scene is inspired stuff. Unfortunately, as funny as I found this scene, I knew by this point that Mannetti was playing it straight. And that’s too bad, because I think ...more
Paul Nelson
The Gentling Box is a powerful and memorable debut by Lisa Mannetti, and winner of a Bram Stoker award for best first novel to boot. This is an original, dark tale of possession within the gypsy community of Romania & Hungary in the 1860’s

The opening of the story is the prelude to the excruciating finale, we then travel back 10 months to August 1863, Buda-Pest and a messenger, seeking the caravan of Imre the horse trader, his wife Mimi and their daughter Lenore. The messenger is from Anyeta
Robert Dunbar
Jan 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An absolute nightmare of a book -- deliriously creepy. (Mannetti is a first time author who's getting incredible reviews with this and is already nominated for a Stoker Award.)
Finally i got to read her debut that won the acclaimed Bram Stoker award, previously her novella < a href=" was a real horror story with dark atmosphere and shocking scenes of blood. This novel is written with the same dark chill oozing with history and presence. She transports you to Romania and a gypsy community, she really makes you feel you are there with the main protagonist. A man who like most have responsibility in the tightly knitted gypsy comm ...more
Oct 21, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
This story certainly had its share of creepy parts.

Mannetti has the writing chops to keep you interested in the story, but I found that when I was expecting the story to wrap up very soon, I discovered I was only halfway through! I figured at that point that my Kindle edition must have come with a bonus novella.
But no...this story carried on, and that is probably the biggest reason this review doesn't get 4 to 5 stars. I really thought it was too long for the story, and a novella length would ha
Jul 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books, read-2011
5 Stars

This is a horror novel, a period piece, a character study, and a bit of historical fiction rolled up into one. It simply is unlike any other book that I have revently read. This book is not for the feint of heart, nor is it appropriate for too young of an audience. This book is filled with sex, gruesome scenes, and unspeakable horrors. But, at the heart of it all, this story is a study of character. Our protagonists are very real, and Imre is a truly 3 dimensional lead character. 

The stor
Oct 27, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When it comes to works of particular authors, there are a lot of debut novels I have yet to read. This is especially true of authors I've become a fan of over the years, as I have yet to read Stephen King's Carrie or Clive Barker's The Damnation Game. But give me time. However, when it comes to Lisa Mannetti and her debut novel, The Gentling Box--winner of the Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel in June of this year--I'm content in knowing I've gotten in on the ground floor of what's sure to ...more
Jo Anne B
Jul 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a haunting, chilling novel that was hard to put down. I was amazed at how the author was able to capture the feeling of a suspenseful, creepy, horror movie in words. It was so well-written from the perspective of a male that I was shocked at the end reading the author's note that the author is indeed a female.

I have never read a book like this. I am not familiar with the history of Hungarian gypsies so I wasn't sure what to expect from this book. But I was interested from the very begin
Nick Cato
Nov 15, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I'm not a fan of historical novels, even if they fall within the realm of horror. When I received Lisa Mannetti's debut novel and read the back cover's synopsis, I must admit I had NO interest.

But then I read a few positive blurbs by authors such as Edward Lee and J.A. Konrath, so I figured I'd give it a shot (not to mention I haven't read a horror novel dealing with gypies in recent memory).

By the 5th section of Part One (which is on page 27), Mannetti had me hooked; it was apparent she had gon
Jan 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gypsies. The mere word sends shivers down my spine. The image of once brightly painted, now worn and peeling, old-world caravans driven by cunning horse traders and colorfully garbed fortune-tellers is one that inspires an eerie mixture of awe and trepidation. The power surrounding the very legends themselves is an incredible testament to how deeply engrained the superstitions have become within us all over the ages. Despite their true magical abilities as witches and sorcerers, gypsies have clo ...more
Nick Cato
Feb 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Like her debut novel, THE GENTLING BOX, the two novellas collected in DEATHWATCH are historical (set in the late 19th century) and offer some genuine chills and disturbing scenarios.

In DISSOLUTION, young medical student Stuart Granville is lured into helping a surgeon separate his twin daughters who are cojoined at the hip. To make matters more difficult, the twins' dead mother haunts Stuart and her supernatural power becomes stronger when the twins are finally separated. Guess how the twins and
Feb 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, dark-fiction
Hauntingly atmospheric, solid writing, an engrossing story, and a scary gypsy sorceress..... very entertaining read.
Jon Recluse
Dec 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
A chilling novel with a pitch perfect sense of time and place that envelops you in it's embrace like a waking nightmare and lingers long after the last page is read.
Jeffrey Wilson
Jun 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was late coming to the party, but glad I finally arrived. Now I see what the buzz was all about. Mannetti's debut novel was a fantastic read-- not just because of the terrific and terrifying story, but because of the beautifully crafted writing.

I am already looking for another Lisa Mannetti's most recent book. If you haven't read this one yet, you are missing a brilliant book in the horror genre.
Dec 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Deathwatch is actually a collection to two new novellas from Lisa Mannetti, and each offers the same kind of chilling historical horror I loved from her debut novel, The Gentling Box.

In the first novella, Dissolution, a disgraced medical student, Stuart Granville is summoned north to Hyde Park in New York for what he assumed is a position as tutor to a doctor's twin daughters. Soon after his arrival, however, he realizes he is primarily there to assist in a controversial and secretive surgery--t
William M.
Jun 29, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Author Lisa Mannetti leaps onto the horror scene with this very powerful debut novel, The Gentling Box. At first, I didn't know what to expect since the cover art appears to be some sort of strange equestrian romance. However, the description on the back was more true to the nature and tone of the story and I was very interested in reading not only a horror novel, but one that dealt with subject matter I had little prior experience with; gypsy horse trading and black magic in 19th Century Europe ...more
Apr 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Horror deftly done. Ominous and somber tone from the outset, becoming increasingly eerie until it reaches its grave conclusion. THE GENTLING BOX terrifies with all its supernatural elements, but even more terrifying is that, even stripped of such supernatural elements, at its core is the nature and extent of fear-- for one's self and for loved ones-- which everyone understands.

Imre is a half gypsy horse trader married to a full gypsy, Mimi, with whom he has a daughter, Lenore. As a horse trader,
Randolph Carter
Jan 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, fiction
Literally a nightmare mess of a book but so good you'll overlook the plot holes and the rambling nature of the narrative at times. About sorcery and witchcraft and about one powerful and determined witch in particular.

Imre is the most frustrating of protagonists, weak one minute and succumbing to all temptations, then seemingly strong willed the next. He is easily manipulated by the women about him and he always waits too long to do what he must and ends up dooming everyone because of it. You fe
Rena Mason
Jul 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
DEATHWATCH by Lisa Mannetti is a fantastic book with a real kick of an ending. I loved every bit of it, but personally, I tend to enjoy Gothic stories the most, and this is definitely one of the best I have ever read. Her descriptions of the time period and the characters made me feel like I was there, and personally knew each one of them. I highly recommend reading this, and especially if you like gothic horror.
Heidi Ward
Lisa Mannetti's Bram Stoker Award-winning The Gentling Box is pretty much a horrorshow from beginning to end: 1860s Hungary and Romania, gypsy curses, the blackest magic and some pretty disturbing body horror.

Feeling something like a fairy-tale gone horribly wrong (as they are wont to do), this book clings like a bad dream.

For more thoughts, see:
Dec 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well written unique tale of malevolent spirit in 1864 Hungary among Gypsies.
Jul 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What an engrossing and horrifying story! I'm not at all surprised that this was given the Bram Stoker Award. It's set in the mid-nineteenth century in Romania and Hungary, this excellent debut novel follows the trials of Imre, a half-gypsy horse trader, and his gypsy wife, Mimi, as they fight to free themselves from the domination of Anyeta, a powerful sorceress who is determined to use an ancient gypsy curse to destroy them and their daughter in order to feed her obscene hunger for more power. ...more
Back in my younger days, in high school and college, when I first started to read horror novels after growing up on Hardy Boys and Louis L'Amour, I stayed up until the wee hours with a King or Koontz or McCammon novel, scaring myself senseless and loving every minute of it. Now that I'm all grown up, I don't do that much anymore. Until I started The Gentling Box.

I read the final half of the book in one afternoon and late into the evening, way past my bedtime. I couldn't put it down. All the acc
Jul 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have never been disappointed in the Bram Stoker Award winners and this one continues the streak. Such an interesting story, haunting, scary, bone chilling, and at times gross! The pictures drawn are vivid in my mind. I felt as if I was there: and it scared the tar out of me!

For anyone who loves a good scare from a well written story: this is for you!
Mar 02, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
good plot but the writing was a little dark for my taste
Nov 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
This is one of the best books I read in 2008. Lisa Mannetti has a gift for character development, story telling and immersing the reader in a world that is real yet fantastic. A must read.
Kathryn Magendie
Look out for more from this gifted writer!
Jan 14, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Bought this when it won some award and just got around to reading it and realized I tried before.
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Lisa Mannetti’s debut novel, The Gentling Box, garnered a Bram Stoker Award and she has since been nominated four times for the prominent award in both the short and long fiction categories: Her story, “Everybody Wins,” was made into a short film and her novella, “Dissolution,” will soon be a feature-length film directed by Paul Leyden. Recent short stories include, “Esmeralda’s Stocking” in Never ...more
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“We're all of us, always on the edge of bereavement.” 2 likes
“We want small things, tiny joys. The feeling that tomorrow is going to bring us bright colors, shiny tinsel--the delicious smell of cooking, a moment's adventure in a sideshow. We want hope. We want love. And Christ, it shouldn't be too much to ask for in this cockeyed world--and yet it is. Somehow, it is.” 1 likes
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