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The Crack Magazine



Alison Littlewood, Jo Fletcher Books

This ghost story has a familiar premise. Leah’s young son dies in an accident (her husband is also dead) and she decides a fresh start is required. Where better to begin anew than in a dilapidated old farmhouse nestled in a bleak Yorkshire landscape? It’s the kind of set-up that was recently explored in Andrew Michael Hurley’s excellent ‘Starve Acre’ but Alison Littlewood is the master of evoking a creeping sense of menace and here finds plenty of new twists to add. Needless to say, someone – a child? – is soon chucking snowballs at Leah’s windows, but she can see no culprit… Littlewood weaves into the narrative events from long ago, which consequently begin to seep into the present (shades of Daphne du Maurier’s time-skipping ‘The House on the Strand’), and she also stuffs this winter tale full of folklore, suspicious neighbours and mistletoe, which here takes on Triffid like qualities. A superior haunted house story, then, and one with plenty of heart, too.