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House of Echoes


House of Echoes

The Crofts sits between mountains, a grand old stone house of 65 rooms, with something like four entrances, multiple fireplaces of immense size and a killer view, all surrounded by hundreds of acres of its own pristine land. There’s a lake, vast fields and dark, dark forests. The house is what drew Ben and Caroline Tierney, who see it as a chance to escape city life and start anew. They hope to remodel the Crofts and grow it into a destination inn that people will talk about long after they have gone back home. The dark, dark forest is what draws their son, Charlie, who sees it as full of wonder and intrigue. Things happen in the trees unlike anything he ever experienced in New York --- sometimes beautiful things, sometimes disturbing things ---- but he is unable to resist the forest’s pull.

"The calendar may say it’s spring, but bundle up when reading Brendan Duffy’s debut novel; it’s truly bone-chilling."

Ben’s family was from around these parts a while back, and he wants to use that connection to ingratiate himself and his family to the villagers of Swannhaven just down the road. The tiny town seems strangely different from any place remotely close to it, and its residents appears to be proud of that fact. They have a tendency to take their less than welcoming attitude toward strangers a bit too much to heart, if you were to ask the Tierneys. But Caroline is determined that they become a part of Swannhaven, for she knows it will be crucial to making a success of their inn. And Ben wants to fit in, too, for he believes this is their opportunity for a fresh start, maybe even the best way of breathing happiness back into their marriage and getting Charlie back on track. Besides, there’s the baby to think about.

In order to prove the sincerity of their intent to become a part of Swannhaven, Ben starts attending the Preservation Society meetings, hoping for a chance to learn about the town’s history. There, he uncovers a wealth of information and even finds inspiration for the next book he wants to write. Maybe this move was for the best, after all. Caroline, though, is having more and more of her episodes. When one of these moods overtakes her, the Wolf, as Ben refers to it, emerges, often with a vengeance. During those times, everyone must take care not to enrage the beast inside her. If only they could get beyond this stressful period, Caroline might relax and enjoy the fruits of her labor.

But too soon winter comes, and with it a side of Swannhaven the Tierneys had no idea existed. And there’s more. They were aware that their new home, the Crofts, had quite a past. Even now, though, it is harboring secrets. And what about the forest? Charlie knew something big and scary lived in the woods, but this is unbelievable.

A drafty old mansion, an epic snowstorm, an impenetrable stand of woods with something watching from deep within. It’s hard to get more perfect ingredients for a creepily spine-tingling story. But when you add in a writer desperately trying to save his family and his novel, plus a town dating back centuries and steeped in its own version of moralistic beliefs, well, you’re in goosebumps territory now. The calendar may say it’s spring, but bundle up when reading Brendan Duffy’s debut novel; it’s truly bone-chilling.

Reviewed by Kate Ayers on April 17, 2015

House of Echoes
by Brendan Duffy

  • Publication Date: January 23, 2018
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books
  • ISBN-10: 0804178135
  • ISBN-13: 9780804178136