Izzy, however, is less convinced. She longs to be back in the hustle and bustle of London. There's something unnerving about the house that she can’t quite put her finger on. And as Izzy begins to immerse herself in Stagcote life, she gradually realises the locals have a lot of strange and disturbing superstitions, many of them related to the manor.
When Izzy begins to investigate the history of the house, her unease soon darkens to fear as the manor’s dark past finally comes to light.
Following the relocation of a troubled young girl to the rural community of Stagcote… whoa… young girl? YA novel? Yes, this book is a YA novel with a female protagonist! Did I read the blurb before picking it up? No, Did I pick it up purely because of its cover and name? Definitely, do I regret picking it up? Absolutely not. What Pateman has done is create a novel with a young female protagonist, set in an eerie setting with a mysterious and haunting premise.
Following Izzy and her mother to their new home, a Manor situated in the town of Stagcote it’s not hard to predict that something supernatural and spooky is set to happen, probably why I would never move into an ancient manor house steeped in history and superstition.
We first meet Izzy in a perilous position and the story is one which gives us a taste of the ending and then recounts Izzy’s story leading to this point creating an enthralling read. The story takes twists and turns as Izzy tries to piece together the bloody history of the manor. Upon learning that the manor is cursed and no occupant before them has had much luck in the manor, Izzy has to race against the clock before the curse fully manifests itself and the occupants of the manor are injured or worse.
From the onset Patemen paints an unnerving and mysterious picture of the small community of Stagcote. A close knit community where news travels fast and old superstitions and rituals remain, and are highly respected. A setting which had an unerring quality, closely resembling the town of Thussock created by David Moody in his novel Strangers and reminiscent of that of the Wicker Man. There is a prevailing and unnerving undertone of secrecy surrounding each and every character from the town, and although at times they are welcoming to the new residents of the manor, the unsettling feeling of a more sinister agenda of Stagcote’s residents is omnipresent. The novel had me constantly suspicious about each resident and their motives if any, expecting one of them to be the culprit behind the creepy and mysterious goings on at the manor. Then there was the actual curse itself and whether or not it was supernatural happenings, or was it Izzy, the troubled teen, who was creating these events in her own imagination? This book had me hooked want desperately to find out the causes.
The main character Izzy is, in my opinion, hard to like which is why I this book came out as a three star. Although the plot had me hooked, I found myself indifferent toward Izzy’s character, I found her to be a spoilt teenager who constantly felt sorry for herself, in other words “a teenager”. However, I found the relationship between Izzy and her mother interesting as their delicate bond is constantly tested by Izzy and her research which uncovers a sinister and evil history about the manor and town.
I did like this book and I’m glad I picked it up. It has a tense and chilling feel about it and an engaging story line making it a haunting and entertaining page turner.