Latest Reads

The House Of Ashes – Stuart Neville

My thanks to Tracy Fenton of Compulsive Readers published by Zaffre Books.

A house built on secrets

An old woman haunted by her past

A young woman fighting for her life

For Sara Keane, it was supposed to be a second chance.
A new country. A new house. A new beginning.

Then came the knock on the door.

Elderly Mary Jackson can’t understand why Sara and her husband are living in her home.
She remembers the fire. She remembers the house burning down. But she also remembers the children. The children who need her. The children she must protect.

‘The children will find you,’ she tells Sara, because Mary knows she needs help too. As Sara becomes obsessed with what happened in that house nearly sixty years ago, and the family wiped out in one bloody night, she begins to see things. Things that can’t be real.

In a story that spans six decades, the truth will not stay buried, and the ghosts of the past can never remain in the shadows . . .

Our Author – Stuart Neville

Stuart Neville’s debut novel, The Twelve (published in the US
as The Ghosts of Belfast), won the Mystery/Thriller category of
the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and was picked as one of the
top crime novels of 2009 by both the New York Times and the LA
Times. He has been shortlisted for various awards, including the
MWA Edgar, CWA Dagger, Theakstons Old Peculier Novel of the
Year, Barry, Macavity, Dilys awards, as well as the Irish Book
Awards Crime Novel of the Year.

He has since published nine more critically acclaimed books, two of which were under
the pen name Haylen Beck, as well as a short story collection, The Traveller and Other

My Review – The House of Ashes

The Ashes – dark and brooding, the book is told by Sara and Mary, a past and present of the houses tenants.

Mary was born in the house, so she knows. Though she doesn’t know 100% who her parents were, it could have been Daddy Ivan, Daddy George or Daddy Thomas, as Tam as they called him. She grew up living in the cellar with Mummy Noreen and Mummy Joy, not sure which one really was her Mummy either. But the Daddy’s locked them in the cellar and they were allowed out during the day to clean, cook and help out with some jobs on the farm.

Some 60 years later, Sara finds herself living at the newly renovated house, that her husband Damien has moved them to, away from Bath were they used to live and nearer to his family. His Dad Francie and his Mum want to keep an eye on them. Sara feels trapped, just like Mary did. She’s scared and doesn’t want to be there, a red stain keeps coming back on the kitchen floor, no matter how hard she tries to remove it.

A lifetime of fear meant Mary stayed in the house with her memories and kept her secrets. But Sara can’t live with the shadows and ghosts and needs Mary to tell her the real story of what happened at The Ashes.

A beautiful tale of parallel lives, told by two characters who’ve never met before, but whose lives are entwined for eternity.

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