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Book Review: Flowers for the Sea by Zin E. Rocklyn
“We were alike, this house and I. Both filled with bones that creaked and dark hallways where memories lingered still.”
S.H. Cooper’s Inheriting Her Ghosts is a classic gothic tale with modern sensibilities, sure to ensnare a wide range of readers. This book is reminiscent of both Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House and Daphne DuMaurier’s Rebecca, yet beyond this is a story that is as unique as it is familiar. A deliciously creepy old property. A strong woman with a new inheritance. Two beautiful, beastly pups. Cooper weaves them all together with crisp, engaging prose.
Eudora Fellowes is not one to be trifled with. Classic literature has taught us that single women of a certain age (and of a certain era) could be one of two things: a tragic spinster who can never love another after “the right one” got away, or, more traditionally, a cantankerous wretch of a woman whom no man can tolerate. Cooper bucks this tradition; Eudora is clearly no stereotype. She is intelligent and warm and suffers no fools. This adds a brightness to the story while still providing the comfortable familiarity of gothic fiction. With her constant canine companions, Cerberus and Black Shuck, Eudora finds herself enveloped in a haunting familial mystery.
“It was a restless place in a way I had not known a building could be; unsatisfied, hungry, the very air thick with its disquiet.”
Whether it’s Manderley, Hill House, or the more recent Old Cross School for Boys from Sarah Read’s Stoker-winning book, The Bone Weaver’s Orchard, readers know the location of a great gothic novel is just as important as the characters that must traverse them. Cooper’s High Hearth is chock full of dark treasures, creepy pathways, and the sense that it is more than just another old building. Some of the best passages center around the house and its desires.
As noted above, it’s hungry and the arrival of Eudora and her dogs certainly gives its halls what it craves.
Inheriting Her Ghosts is a well-crafted novel of family, mystery, and all the cozy feelings a great creepy tale can provide. S.H. Cooper is definitely an author to watch. If readers want more, she has a great backlist of stories and books that span several genres, perfect for someone looking for more of a good thing.