Marina's Reviews > The Crow Garden

The Crow Garden by Alison Littlewood
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it was ok
bookshelves: kindle, 2018, arc, paranormal, historical-fiction, burn-in-hell

Oh my God..

I've been struggling to finish this book for four whole months. This is the first time I ever even considered not finishing a book, but I had to, since I got an arc. It got me into a horrible mood where I couldn't even read other, good books. But I've finally made it. Here goes.

I love Gothic, I adore Victorian. Horror, Mystery, an asylum, paranormal, I loved absolutely everything from the description, and I loved the cover. The description also said: "Susan Hill meets Alfred Hitchcock". Let's just say if Susan Hill ever met Alfred Hitchcock in a book like this, she would die either of boredom or shame, and poor Alfred would roll in his grave.

The Crow Garden actually is everything of the above (except the overstated comparison), but it also is horribly, terribly boring. There is no plot. For the first couple of pages we get the sense that something is building up, that some plot is going to happen, but the only plot here went out looking for Susan Hill to fix her up.

A brief summary: Doctor Nathaniel Kerner is haunted by his father's suicide, but he wants to become a famous alienist like him, so he goes to claim his new position at Crakethorne Asylum. There he insta-falls in love with a married patient Victoria Harleston whose husband accuses her of hysteria because she once boarded an omnibus quite rashly and by herself. In turn, she accuses him of his previous-marriage-son's death. Then one day a mesmerist comes to Crakethorne, becomes obsessed with Mrs. Harelston and she escapes the asylum.

None of these plot points further evolve. The rest of the book is Dr. Kerner pining for Victoria, describing her beautiful body parts, hiding her in his house, then committing her to the asylum again for no reason at all, then pining some more, and then .... comes the most mental "plot" twist I ever read, where Mrs. Harelston mesmerizes everybody in the asylum (where did she learn that) and escapes yet again. And here is the ultimate twist - she made Kerner think that the gatekeeper's dog is actually her. So he was shacking up with a dog for the last couple of pages, while she was suntanning at sea. The end.

The writing is okay, good even. I had no troubles understanding it, but I was seriously -MEGA- annoyed by the lower class accent. It was overused and over-abused and clownified. It only added to my misery of reading this soul-eating book.

I think the real rating here is 1, but since I did manage to finish this, quite heroically I may add, let's raise it to 1.5.

Arc provided by Netgalley
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Reading Progress

October 3, 2017 – Shelved
October 3, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
October 3, 2017 – Shelved as: kindle
October 26, 2017 – Started Reading
January 1, 2018 – Shelved as: 2018
January 25, 2018 – Shelved as: arc
February 22, 2018 – Shelved as: paranormal
February 22, 2018 – Shelved as: historical-fiction
February 22, 2018 – Finished Reading
February 24, 2018 – Shelved as: burn-in-hell

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