After a broken love affair, Kate Kennedy, a successful biographer, retires to a remote cottage on the wild Essex coast to work on her new book. When Alison, her landlord's daughter, uncovers a Roman site nearby, passions are unleashed. ... Read more
Customer Reviews (18)
Her best novel
I read all novels by Barbara Erskine (but am not a lover of short stories, so I skipped those) and compared with Stephen King this book was even more scary.
Also I enjoyed the idea of a woman leaving civilization behind and living for a few months in a cottage on the Essex coast (wish there would be more books on that topic!).
I read the book when it was released in Germany many years ago and since then I read it two more times. In November 2008 I finally made my dream come true and did visit the Roman Museum in Colchester (the one mentioned in the book). It's definitely worth a trip!
Hope that Mrs. Erskine will write another book as thrilling as "Midnight is a lonely Place"!
What did I just read?
Oh yeah, Barbara Erskine.
Ummm, does anybody have an extra 6 reading hours to spare? I'd like to get them back if possible.
In this Barbara Erskine doosie, the murderous results of a Roman/Celtic love triangle over 19 centuries old (that's 1,900 years to those of you numerically challenged) is threatening to engulf our intrepid heroine Kate, her erstwhile poet boyfriend Jon, and the petulant, acts-like-a-14-year-old-but-is-really-27 year old landlord's son Greg. These three frankly irritating characters traipse through the marshy dunes of North Essex, England trying to figure out the curse, stop the ghosts from inhibiting the inside of their heads, and make it to the final lackluster pages of our book with their sanity and entrails intact.
***END SPOILER ALERT***
But at what cost to the gentle reader? That's the real curse.
OK, here's what Erskine does right:
- Sets mood
- Creates atmosphere
- Generates thrills & chills
- Includes a decent smattering of historical data (it's not as detailed as she's capable of, but it's there)
Here's what Erskine needs work on:
- Some editing would be nice
Here's what Erskine should avoid:
- Relationships involving a man/men and a woman (aka: "romance").
Just....no. Don't do it, Barbara. It's painful to read and there's no reason to bog down a good spookie with a cast of immature characters masquerading as adults in love. I've found that the typical Erskine heroine is generally a decorative doormat in search of a ghost to rescue them from their romantic folly. The Erskine male normally has the emotional maturity of an Adam Sandler fan club president (which really makes it quite impressive that they can STILL manage to wipe their feet on said doormat heroine).
So why, you ask, do I read Erskine and write this (waaaaaaaay too long) review of a book 15 years old??
Because when Erskine is good, she can literally make the hairs stand up on the back of my neck.
Can cause me to jump when my refrigerator makes a funny gurgle.
Can force me to read her books only with another human being in the house.
I live for those moments in an Erskine book, and she delivers. Regardless of my frustration with her characters, regardless of my wasted time spent wandering the frozen Essex shoreline in search of a decent plot, and in spite of my book hurling spleen vented at the abrupt and lousy ending, I love it when a good Erskine sentence makes me glance surreptiously around the room in search of the shadow I thought I just saw out of the corner of my eye.
And that, my Amazon friend, is why I'll continue to read Barbara Erskine like a doormat girlfriend takes her petulant boyfriend back again and again.
A CHILLING AND IMAGINATIVE GHOST STORY...LEAVE THE LIGHTS ON...
This is a very well written and absorbing novel by a master story teller. It is highly descriptive and captures the reader in its thrall. It is a chilling and imaginative ghost story centered around a love triangle that existed approximately two thousand years ago and ultimately ended in murder. The murderer, Marcus, a Roman legionaire, is cursed by his wife, Claudia, after he has her lover, Nion, a druid priest, killed. Marcus then kills Claudia. It is this tragedy that now haunts the present.
When London based author, Kate Kennedy, breaks off with her selfish live in lover, she goes off to lick her wounds and nurse a broken heart in a cottage in a remote area of North Essex. The cottage, though cozy, begins to become a less than hospitable place, when unexplained sounds, scents, and traces of moist earth and sand begin to manifest themselves. Moreover, her landlord's son, Greg, and daughter, Allison, seem determined to have her leave the cottage.
Discovering that Allison has come across an archaeological site not far from the cottage, Kate goes to the site and finds an ancient Celtic ornament. She soon begins to hear voices in her mind and see visions of what cannot be. Ultimately, Greg, Allison, and Kate become trapped in the miasma of these ancient star crossed lovers who are determined to bring their long dormant conflict to resolution. The cost to those in the present is dear, as the reader will soon find out.
Be warned. This is a scary book.
Her best book bar none
This book gave me goosebumps! The storyline is compelling and the characters believable even in the unbelievable situations... you just believe it could be happening. I lent this book to my mum and got her hooked on Barbara Erskine as well. Can't wait for the follow up featuring Kate Kennedy - Daughters of Fire, which is due out in late 2005.
Whilst you're waiting, if you want to read something similar, try MASTER OF THE SCROLLS by Benjamin Ford. Well worth a read!
3.5 stars-not bad, not great, but a little bit more than ok
I feel I took a risk in reading this book. I had loved Barbara Erskine up until reading On the Edge of Darkness, which was very disappointing. But this book was a pleasant surprise.
After breaking up with her boyfriends Kate needs an inexpensive place to stay and write her new book on the poet Byron. So she rents a small cottage in northern England from a family who needs the money because the father (Roger) is dying of cancer. The elder son of the family, Greg, is pissed about the renting of the cottage-where he previously lived and painted. The daughter, Allison, has recently discovered a roman burial site on the beach that is about to be washed away by the tide that she thinks she'll excavate. But then creepy things start to happen.
This book is much more action packed than past books of Erskine's. The middle two hundred pages are non stop creepy action, and quite enjoyable. The ending however, was not so hot. It was very abrupt and kind of a let down from all that led up to it.
So this book rates a solid 3.5 stars. I wouldn't advise reading it for your first Erskine book, but if you enjoyed her other books you'll like this one.
... Read more