Friday, October 14, 2016

The Women in the Walls

Lucy Acosta lives with her distant father, her loving aunt Penelope, and her jealous cousin Margaret in a Victorian mansion in the woods. One day, Penelope disappears into the woods and doesn't return, causing Margaret to completely change. She no longer wants to spend time with Lucy and claims she hears Penelope's voice in the walls of the attic. Margaret's behavior becomes more and more erratic, but Lucy's father doesn't want to sully the family name by getting her help in any way. How can Lucy help her cousin? Is Penelope actually gone forever?

I wasn't expecting a lot from The Women in the Walls. The first half of the book made it seem like a ghost story and it follows those conventions. Lucy assumed that the souls or spirits of the dead women of her family are stuck in the walls. Other clues leading to this were the cemetery found in the woods, the house's past as a school for wayward children, past murders, and mysterious circumstances for a lot of events. I lost interest in the story because I'm not a big fan of cliche ghost stories. The genre is oversaturated and I don't enjoy it as much as other horror unless it's done really well.

I didn't like a lot of the characters, but they were well rendered. Lucy was tortured by the thought that her father didn't look for Penelope enough, but she doesn't really do anything about it. She could have called the police to ask about the investigation that she insisted wasn't happening, but I guess it didn't mean that much to her. Margaret had a toxic relationship with Lucy and purposefully isolated her from other potential friends. This was never identified as an awful relationship, which was disappointing. Lucy's father was the worst character in the entire book. He insisted that they put forward the perfect version of themselves, which means absolutely no professional help for the cousins' obviously significant problems. They weren't even allowed to act emotionally in public. All were pretty unlikeable.

The ending was amazing. It completely diverted from the ghost story and became something much creepier and much more gruesome than I expected. The resolution is slightly unsatisfying because it's left open, but well done nonetheless. The Women in the Walls is a vast improvement from Lukavics first book and I will definitely look out for whatever she writes next.

My rating: 4/5 fishmuffins

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