Release Blitz Night of the Victorian Dead

About the Book

A Pride & Prejudice & Zombies for lit lovers!

Mr. Edward Dorchester invites several families of his acquaintance to a ball at his country estate, the night the Harvest moon rises fell and tainted. While those within are consumed by their hopes and schemes, tenants are going missing and arriving guests savagely attacked.

A gothic horror tale of classic zombies meets manners, with an ensemble, upstairs-downstairs cast of Vic. Lit inspired characters.

The knowing modern reader can follow unsuspecting characters down the road to the inevitable.

Author Bio

Amber Michele Cook writes stories of deep, meaningful fun. A devotee of Georgian to Edwardian period pieces, she adores Speculative Lit: Victorian literature-inspired works with a supernatural or paranormal element.

Partly raised in Germany, she went to an international school for high-school, majored in linguistics, loves literature and period pieces. She’s also a photography/graphic arts artist of color and wonder living in the great Northwest.

In addition to leading improv writing tables, she’s the Director of National Novel Editing Month and a Facilitator for the People’s Ink writing community.




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Book Tours: Starter Day Party The Sanguinarian Id

I’m hosting the starter day party today for the book tour for gothic / paranormal / occult “The Sanguinarian Id”. The tour runs from July 10 to September 10. Stay tuned for my guest post during the tour!

Tour Schedule

July 10th: Starter Day Party @ I Heart Reading

July 10th: Promo Post @ Mello & June, It’s A Book Thing

July 12th: Book Excerpt @ I’m an Eclectic Reader

July 15th: Promo Post and Giveaway @ Indy Book Fairy

July 17th: Book Excerpt @ JB Bookworms

July 18th: Book Excerpt @ Books, Authors & Publishing 411

July 21st: Promo Post @ Bookish Madness

July 23rd: Author Interview @ Cassidy Crimson’s Blog

July 25th: Book Excerpt and Giveaway @ Reading A Page Turner

July 27th: Book Excerpt @ Books are Forever

July 30th: Guest Post and Giveaway @ Mythical Books

August 1st: Promo Post @ The Resistance

August 3rd: Promo Post @ Hollow Readers

August 5th: Book Excerpt @ The Bibliophagist

August 8th: Book Excerpt and Giveaway @ Silver Dagger Scriptorium

August 10th: Author Interview @ The Single Librarian

August 14th: Guest Post @ Editor Charlene’s Blog

August 18th: Book Excerpt @ The Bookworm Lodge

August 22nd: Book Excerpt @ Bookaholic Ramblings

August 24th: Promo Post @ Maari Loves Her Indies

August 30th: Author Interview @ Bedazzled Reading

September 2nd:  Guest Post and Giveaway @ I Heart Reading

September 4th: Book Excerpt @ Lisa Queen of Random

September 8th: Book Excerpt @ Hollow Readers

September 10th: Author Interview @ Majanka’s Blog

About the Book

Title: The Sanguinarian Id

Author: L.M. Labat

Artist: L.M. Labat

Genre: Horror, Historical Fiction, Paranormal, Occult, Gothic Horror

Publisher: Night to Dawn Magazine & Books

She’s been beaten, stabbed, poisoned, and shot, but Hael refuses to die. In her pursuit for vengeance and her origin, the Dhampir Hael hunts down the madman responsible for her fateful transformation. As this half-vampire juggernauts her way through a world at war, Hael battles hordes of Nazi soldiers as she struggles to maintain her sanity. However, while Hael gathers knowledge on how to trap and kill her target, her adversary’s network is expanding at an exponential rate, as his sick obsession with Hael grows deeper. Will she have her revenge? Will she find her origin? Or, will she crumble beneath her own insidious bloodlust?

Author Bio

Born in 1993, L. M. Labat stems from New Orleans, Louisiana. From the struggles of a broken family and surviving life-threatening events, Labat found refuge within the arts while delving into the fields of medicine, psychology, and the occult. While combining illustration and literature, L. M. Labat was able to cope with endless nightmares as well as hone in on artistic techniques. From confronting the past to facing new shadows, this author gladly invites audiences into the horror of The Sanguinarian Id.


The Sanguinarian Id Website

Website Creator: L. M. Labat

Night to Dawn Magazine & Books Website:

Night to Dawn Magazine & Books Webiste

The Sanguinarian Id on Amazon

The Sanguinarian Id on B&N

Book Review: Gethsemane Hall by David Annandale

13220384Title: Gethsemane Hall

Author: David Annandale

Genre: Horror

Age Group: Adult (18+)

Rating: 3 stars

Purchase: Amazon

The skeptics think they know what’s going on at Gethsemane Hall. So do the religious. So do the spiritualists. They’re all wrong. Richard Gray, grieving over the loss of his wife and daughter, learns that his ancestral home holds the secret of what lies beyond the grave. And all of a sudden, everybody wants a piece of Gethsemane Hall.
Louise Meacham wants in because a fellow CIA agent committed suicide there, and she has to put the ghost rumours to rest to get her career back. Anna Pertwee wants in because she’s determined to save the ghosts from the unbelievers and the debunkers. Patrick Hudson wants in because he has to save Gray’s soul.
So Gray will let them all in, these people who think they’re coming for the truth. What they don’t know is that the truth is coming for them.

Gethsemane Hall could best be described as gothic horror meets gore and torture in a slow-paced, although chine-spilling tale. The book starts off slow by introducing us to a variety of characters, some more relatable than others. There’s Richard Gray, lord, owner of Gethsemane Hall, the house he often visited during his childhood, who is grieving the loss of his wife and daughter while he was in Africa, trying to help people. Gray is actually the easiest character to relate to – which is saying a lot considering he was also descending into madness.

Then there’s Meacham, a CIA agent who has to clean up the mess after a fellow CIA agent and hobbyist ghost hunter killed himself at Gethsemane Hall. The whole CIA angle didn’t really work. Meacham doesn’t have the characteristics one would suspect of a CIA agent, and honestly, the whole book could’ve done without the CIA angle, which gives it more of a conspiracy-vibe than a ghost story. There’s also a magician, although God knows why Meacham decided to bring her along – except maybe to debunk tricks? Although, she already had a renowned scientist for that who had debunked several “ghost” phenomena. Then there’s a team of ghost hunters desperate to believe, Gray’s best friend who wants to bring him back on the path of God, and a whole town filled with people who have heard the “call” of Gethsemane Hall before.

This book is heavy on religion, in fact it’s one of the focus points. Gray loses his faith, and the haunting has a religious angle too that I don’t want to get into because I don’t want to spoil anything. I didn’t mind the heavy focus on religion, but just mentioning it here because I’m sure it’ll annoy some people.

There are also some extremely gorey scenes. I dont mind gore, but it’s rare to see it in a haunted house story – I did like that, though, as it was quite unique.

The story is enjoyable, and there was a lot of suspense, granted. Unfortunately the build-up ended in a huge let-down of gigantic proportions: the ending is rushed (quite a contradiction considering the rest of the book is slow), it doesn’t make much sense, a lot of things are left unexplained (for example: why did this horror/ghost decide to start tormenting everyone now, when there had been people living in Gethsemane Hall for years), and the ending was very dissapointing.

This is perhaps one of the most difficult books I’ve ever had to review. I immensly enjoyed the plot, up until three quarters when it all went downhill. Gay was an engaging character, and I could stomach Meacham, but I disliked most of the other characters – some of them lacked depth, others were so stereotypical they annoyed me. The writing was very compelling at times, and at other times, so overwritten I wanted to eat up the paper.

The story is good, and it’s an okay book, but it could’ve been excellent had the ending not been so rushed, more things been explained, and some of the characters had been cut, or had been less stereotypical. It didn’t scare me, but it did give me some shivers, so the suspense was well done at least. Read at your own peril.

Book Review: Of Monsters and Madness

19507564Title: Of Monsters and Madness

Author: Jessica Verday

Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Gothic Mystery, Horror

Age Group: Young Adult

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

A romantic, historical retelling of classic Gothic horror featuring Edgar Allan Poe and his character Annabel Lee, from a New York Times best-selling author.

Summoned to her father’s home in 1820’s Philadelphia, a girl finds herself in the midst of a rash of gruesome murders in which he might be implicated. She is torn romantically between her father’s assistants-one kind and proper, one mysterious and brooding-who share a dark secret and may have more to do with the violent events than they’re letting on.

If you check the Goodreads reviews for Of Monsters and Madness, then the reviewers either love or hate it, whereas the majority seems to hate it (giving 1-2 star ratings). If you go in expecting a story that stays true to Edgar Allan Poe, and his legacy, then you’ll be dissapointed. Poe is massacred here, up to some degree, and mashed and blended with Jekyll & Hyde – there’s friendly, charismatic, handsome Allan, and then there’s creepy, repulsive Edgar. So in other words, Poe meets Stevenson.

Even Annabel holds no real resemblance to the Annabel Lee from Poe’s poem, except for her name. If you expected a complicated mystery, then you’ll be dissapointed too. The mystery is quite simple, and some of the characters lack depth. The servants, for instance, are just fillers. Annabel’s Dad is your standard gothic mystery character – ill, and using that illness to explain all his flaws, a recluse who barely leaves the house. The house itself is reminiscent of gothic horror too – a sprawling mansion with dark corridors and secret passages.

But despite all that…I enjoyed it.

Annabel has an interesting perspective. Even though she appeared to have the personality of a doormat at first, it almost seemed to make sense, especially considering her upbringing and how she didn’t feel at home in this new city, and that was perfectly understandable. As the story progressed, so did Annabel’s personality. She began to shine in ways I hadn’t expected, taking charge of things herself. She stopped wanting to please everyone, and she even stood up for herself every now and then. Annabel herself is more of a mystery than the whole Poe-plot.

The writing is gripping and atmospheric, and made this book a fast read. I rushed through the pages, and every break seemed too long. The descriptions of the city were breath-taking, and the book breathes gothic horror.

I was impressed, and enjoyed this one. I hope there will be a sequel, because I think Annabel might have some surprises in store for us.

Book Review: MARY: The Summoning (Bloody Mary #1) by Hillary Monahan

17661402Title: MARY: The Summoning (Bloody Mary #1)

Author: Hillary Monahan

Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Ghosts, Gothic Horror

Age Group: Young Adult

Rating: 5 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

There is a right way and a wrong way to summon her.

Jess had done the research. Success requires precision: a dark room, a mirror, a candle, salt, and four teenage girls. Each of them–Jess, Shauna, Kitty, and Anna–must link hands, follow the rules . . . and never let go.

A thrilling fear spins around the room the first time Jess calls her name: “Bloody Mary. Bloody Mary. BLOODY MARY.” A ripple of terror follows when a shadowy silhouette emerges through the fog, a specter trapped behind the mirror.

Once is not enough, though–at least not for Jess. Mary is called again. And again. But when their summoning circle is broken, Bloody Mary slips through the glass with a taste for revenge on her lips. As the girls struggle to escape Mary’s wrath, loyalties are questioned, friendships are torn apart, and lives are forever altered.

A haunting trail of clues leads Shauna on a desperate search to uncover the legacy of Mary Worth. What she finds will change everything, but will it be enough to stop Mary–and Jess–before it’s too late?

It’s hard to review a book you’ve fallen in love with, and I’ve absolutely fallen for the plot, characters, and the sublime writing that is hidden in the pages of MARY: The Summoning. This is one of the best YA gothic horror novels I’ve read in my entire life – and I’d recommend it to just about everyone.

Shauna’s best friend, Jess, is obsessed with summoning Bloody Mary. But whereas Shauna thought it was just a stupid, silly party game, it turns out to be so much more. Once Mary is correctly summoned, and not in the clumsy way most urban legend stories say you have to summon her, then…well, the shadow creeping along the mirror, and the bony fingers reaching out from the afterlife, are sufficient to give Shauna nightmares for the rest of her life.

For Shauna, Kitty and Anna, one encounter with Mary is sufficient for a lifetime, but Jess demands they summon her again. And again. Until their circle gets broken, and Mary is freed…

Mary’s ghosts starts to haunt the four friends, appearing in mirrors, any reflecting surface – which is just about anymore – and trying to grab them and pull them into the afterlife with her. Shauna, the main target of Mary’s attack, needs to find out more about Mary’s history in order to stop the vengeful ghosts. Loyalties and friendship are tested, and what is revealed, may be shocking to all of them…

Shauna is one kick-ass protagonist. At the start, I thought she was a little passive, willing to follow Jess, no matter what she did, but she soon grew a backbone and started to stand up for herself. I disliked Jess with a passion, but that’s not at all surprising considering what happens in the book. If you want to know what, you’ll just have to read it for yourself, though.

Just about everything about this book is perfect. The writing is great, and at times the descriptions were so creepy I nearly crawled into my closet to hide. The characters each have distinct personalities, and it’s easy to keep them apart. The mystery about Mary was intriguing too, highly supsenseful, and not at all what I expected.

But the best part? This book was deliciously creepy. Creepy in a way I didn’t expect – the kind of fear that crawls under your skin and makes you look over your shoulder every once in a while, expecting to see Mary’s ghost. That fear, the gothic horror fear that not a lot of books manage to convey. This one does, though.

Highly recommended, especially to people looking for a solid gothic horror novel, and well, for everyone who wants a good scare.

Book Review: Dollhouse by Anya Allyn

21797165Title: Dollhouse

Author: Anya Allyn

Genre: YA Gothic Horror

Age Group: Young Adult

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Four teenagers chance across a mysterious, crumbling mansion in the depths of the mountains….
– One of them is about to vanish.
– One of them is lying about what he or she knows.
– None of them will escape the fate awaiting them in the terrifying Dollhouse beneath the old mansion–a place of nightmarish horrors and insanity.

A slow-burn nightmare, a world of supernatural darkness and strange secrets.

Six months ago, fifteen-year-old Cassie Claiborne reluctantly moved from her home in Florida with her social worker mom. In her new home–a remote, mountainous Australian town, Cassie meets new friends–Aisha Dumaj, Ethan McAllister and Lacey Dougherty.

For the first time, Cassie falls in love. The only problem is that the boy she falls for is her friend, Ethan–and he and Aisha are already an item. When Cassie goes on a school hike to Devils Hole with her new friends, she tries desperately to keep her feelings for Ethan secret.

Aisha disappears on the hike without a trace–with the police believing she was murdered.

When Cassie, Ethan and Lacey return to the mountains to search for Aisha–Cassie begins to realize she never really knew any of her friends. Everyone has their own secrets. She discovers the stranger lurking inside everyone she thought she knew.

The darkest secret of all waits beneath the old mansion in the mountains–a secret from which there is no escape….

Dollhouse is unique, thrilling, well-written, and one of the most original novels I’ve read in ages. Not recommended to people who are terrified of dolls or clowns, but to everyone else – this book is amazing! If only the ending wasn’t such a cliffhanger, and if some parts of it weren’t so completely and utterly confusing – seriously, I had to reread some paragraph three or four times – then this would’ve been my favorite book ever. But as it stands now, it’s still pretty good, and highly original, just not as spellbinding as it could’ve been.

Anyway, the story starts out pretty simple. Cassie, and three of her friends, have gone on a trip across the nearby mountain for a school project, when they find a dilipidated mansion, in the middle of nowhere. Aisha goes missing, and the police quickly suspects Ethan, Aisha’s boyfriend and Cassie’s secret crush. When Ethan goes up the mountain to try and find Aisha, Cassie and Lacey follow him, trying to help. But once they venture inside the mansion, they find something so twisted and messed up, they never could’ve imagined it.

This book is scary, even if it doesn’t try to be. Some of the imagery is so well-described, and so twisted, that it scared me to the bone. It’s gothic horror at its finest, never gross, never grotesque, but atmospheric and creepy all the same. The plot is so original – I don’t want to spoil it, so I won’t saying anything else, except, well, be prepared for an amazing plot that’ll leave you jealous, and wishing you’d come up with something like that yourself. The writing is great, the characters all seem very real, and I never knew what to expect next.

This is gothic horror the way it’s spposed to be. I can’t wait to read the sequel. As soon as it’s on Netgalley, I’m getting my hands on that book. I need to know what happens next.

Book Review: She Walks in Darkness by Evangeline Walton

17464918Title: She Walks in Darkness
Author: Evangeline Walton
Genre: Gothic Horror, Historical Fiction
Age Group: Adult
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

A gorgeous Tuscan villa harboring a terrible secret houses this original harrowing adventure of ancient mystery and modern intrigue.

Archaeologist Richard Keyes and his resourceful young bride, Barbara, are expecting a blissful honeymoon in a welcoming new country. But from the moment they arrive in their secluded new home, circumstances conspire against them. A car crash leaves Richard lying unconscious in a bed surrounded by frescoes of a benevolent goddess, while a far more sinister deity in the courtyard seems to gain power in the night.

Meanwhile, in Barbara’s hour of need, a beautiful, young Tuscan appears, and she is drawn to his seductive charms. A conflict has been reawakened after generations of sacrifice, betrayal, and madness, and the key to the mystery lies in the catacombs under the villa.

This first publication of newly-discovered novel from classic fantasist Evangeline Walton (The Mabinogoion series) is sure to please fans of all genres.

Gothic horror is one of my favorite genres, so of course I wanted to give She Walks in Darkness a shot. It seems like people who read the author’s other works, which is mostly fantasy, seem a bit dissapointed with this book. It’s my first time reading anything by Evangelina Walton however, and I must say I enjoyed it, and I will definitely check out her other work.

Archaeologist Richard Keyes and his young bride, Barbara, go on honeymoon in Tuscany to an old villa riddled with mysteries and secrets. They plan to study some nearby Etruscan ruins and catacombs.  However, not all is as quiet and peaceful as it seems. The book is told from Barbara’s POV, and we witness her increasing descent into paranoisa as more and more strange things start to happen, and an ancient diety awakens.

The writing is fluent and atmospheric, and the reader gets a few nice surprises along the way. A solid read for anyone who likes gothic horror.

Book Review: Between the Devil and the Deep, Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke

12930909Title: Between the Devil and the Deep, Blue Sea
Author: April Genevieve Tucholke
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Age Group: Young Adult
Rating: 4,5 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

You stop fearing the devil when you’re holding his hand…

Nothing much exciting rolls through Violet White’s sleepy, seaside town… until River West comes along. River rents the guest house behind Violet’s crumbling estate, and as eerie, grim things start to happen, Violet begins to wonder about the boy living in her backyard.

Is River just a crooked-smiling liar with pretty eyes and a mysterious past? Or could he be something more?

Violet’s grandmother always warned her about the Devil, but she never said he could be a dark-haired boy who takes naps in the sun, who likes coffee, who kisses you in a cemetery… who makes you want to kiss back.

Violet’s already so knee-deep in love, she can’t see straight. And that’s just how River likes it.

Blending faded decadence and the thrilling dread of gothic horror, April Genevieve Tucholke weaves a dreamy, twisting contemporary romance, as gorgeously told as it is terrifying—a debut to watch.

Violet and her brother Luke have lived in the crumbling mansion their grandmother nicknamed Citizen, based on the movie Citizen Kane, their entire lives. They know the sleepy town of Echo inside out. Their parents are both artists, travelling the world and leaving their children alone for months on end.

This time around though, money is getting sparse, and Violet had the great idea to put their guest post up for rent. The boy replying to the ad, River West, is an enigma. He hides a lot of secrets, manages to lie with a blank face, but at the same time, he’s charismatic and intriguing, and Violet falls for his charms before she even realizes it.

But with River West turning up, strange things start to happen as well. Her best friend sees an image of the local legend, a homeless man named Blue who supposedly lured children into an abandoned tunnel. Children witnessed a “devil” kidnapping another children, and they start to stalk the cemetery, armed with whatever they can find, in hopes of finding the devil and hurting him.

Violet grows more and more convinced River has something to do with this, and when he confesses to her he has powers he can barely understand himself, and he can’t control them either, she starts to fear him almost as much as she loves him.

This book is gothic horror through and through. Never that scary, but always atmospheric, and with an underlying layer of tension that’s difficult to describe. River is an interesting, dark, charismatic character who I had not choice but to like. He’s mysterious, and it’s that mystery that makes him as interesting for the reader as he is to Violet. I loved the Citizen, its long, meandering halls, its crumbling exterior, the many secrets it harbored inside. What gothic novel would be complete without a gigantic mansion? The kids living here on their own, although a bit strange and the explenation leaves much to be desired, makes it the ideal place for an adventure to start.

The writing was great, almost like a velvet layer that wrapped itself around the story and made it shine even more. The prose is haunting, the characters wrecked by their own past and choices, each of them flawed in more than one way.

Between the Devil and the Deep, Blue Sea, is one of my favorite reads this year. A definite must read for fans of gothic horror.

Book Review: This House is Haunted by John Boyne

17307162Title: This House is Haunted

Author: John Boyne

Genre: Horror, Supernatural Horror

Rating: 3 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

1867. Eliza Caine arrives in Norfolk to take up her position as governess at Gaudlin Hall on a dark and chilling night. As she makes her way across the station platform, a pair of invisible hands push her from behind into the path of an approaching train. She is only saved by the vigilance of a passing doctor.

When she finally arrives, shaken, at the hall she is greeted by the two children in her care, Isabella and Eustace. There are no parents, no adults at all, and no one to represent her mysterious employer. The children offer no explanation. Later that night in her room, a second terrifying experience further reinforces the sense that something is very wrong.

From the moment she rises the following morning, her every step seems dogged by a malign presence which lives within Gaudlin’s walls. Eliza realises that if she and the children are to survive its violent attentions, she must first uncover the hall’s long-buried secrets and confront the demons of its past.

What I liked most about This House is Haunted, is how it combines elements from a lot of classics from The Turn of The Screw to Rebecca, and mixes them in a new, original book that is reminiscent of old gothic horror reads but has an unique element added. The story is gothic horror, my favorite genre, but unfortunately it doesn’t stir away enough from the well-known elements to turn into something completely unique and original.

After her father’s dead, Eliza Caine moves to Norfolk to become a governess at Gaudlin Hall. She finds no parents, but just a young boy and girl in the large mansion, Isabella and Eustace. While she finds it strange, she suspects to meet the parents in the morning. At night, a strange occurence terrifies her, but she’s determined not to be scared off by it. However, when by morning there’s no sign of any parents, she decides to dig deeper into the mystery and find out what’s going on.

Her quest for the truth leads her to the revelation that several governesses have died before her in freak accident. When strange things happen all around her, and her life gets threatened, Eliza must make a choice: stay and get to the bottom of the mystery, even if it means she may end up dead, or flee back to London.

So we got a bunch of known tropes: the hidden presence in the house, the madwoman, the governess, the scary children, the large mansion, ghosts, a town refusing to speak about a town secret, dreary atmosphere.

The lack of original elements bothered me a bit, and brought the rating down for me. I wanted something original, not just a blatant rip-off of the old classics. Not to saying this is just a rip-off – it has a great premise, the writing is excellent, and the children were deliciously scary – but it felt too much like something I’d already read to be truly intriguing. In that context it reminded me of The Secrets of Crickley Hall by James Herbert, except that the latter had a lot more original elements woven in, which made it more entertaining for me.

A great read if you’re a fan of ghost stories, like I am.


Book Review: New Girl by Paige Harbison

12085568Title: New Girl
Author: Paige Harbison
Genre: Young Adult, Gothic, Mystery, Romance
Publisher: Harlequin TEEN
Publication Date: January 31st, 2012
Goodreads | B&N | Amazon
Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange of honest review.

“Welcome to Manderley Academy”I hadn’t wanted to go, but my parents were so excited…. So here I am, the new girl at Manderley, a true fish out of water. But mine’s not the name on everyone’s lips. Oh, no.
It’s Becca Normandy they can’t stop talking about. Perfect, beautiful Becca. She went missing at the end of last year, leaving a spot open at Manderley–the spot that I got. And everyone acts like it’s my fault that infallible, beloved Becca is gone and has been replaced by “not” perfect, completely fallible, unknown Me.
Then, there’s the name on “my” lips–Max Holloway. Becca’s ex. The one boy I should avoid, but can’t. Thing is, it seems like he wants me, too. But the memory of Becca is always between us. And as much as I’m starting to like it at Manderley, I can’t help but think she’s out there, somewhere, watching me take her place.
Waiting to take it back.

New Girl follows the life of an unnamed girl who starts her first year at Manderley after a spot has opened up last year. However, the spot belonged to a really popular girl named Becca, and people start cursing her for taking Becca’s place. She starts to regret having ever gone to Manderley in the first place. She’s met with nothing but hatred, but New Girl stands proud and somehow gets through it all, with a sharp wit and intellect and courage. The book alternates between New Girl’s first person POV and the third person POV leading up to Becca’s disappearance.

This book is loosely based on Rebecca, a classic in the genre. However, Rebecca is a lot better. That’s not to say I didn’t like this contemporary twist, but the original still holds strong, in my opinion. It doesn’t take long into the book to discover Becca wasn’t really as well-liked as she appears to be after her early demise, and that she liked to twist everyone around her little finger, crafting herself a queenly crown based on deception and lies. As New Girl’s new roommate, and Becca’s old roommate, meets her with more and more hostility as the days pass by, tension rises. It’s clear that there will be a breaking point, and something is abotu to happen. The only question is: what?

I liked New Girl. Her personality was interesting: she was nice and friendly, but toughened up when needed. I wasn’t too fond of her relationship with Max, Becca’s old boyfriend, as she seemed to give in to him too quickly, but I warmed up to them as the story progressed. Becca, on the other hand, well, let’s say I didn’t like her one bit. She was arrogant and cocky, always used to getting her way, and using people whenever she saw fit.

The suspense was dripping off the pages from this book. The only downside that really dragged this down for me? Rebecca had a ghostly element I really enjoyed. I thought that was missing from this book. There may have been some instances, but it was never as delightfully scary as in the original.

Overall, New Girl is a thrilling retelling of a classic, making it available to the YA crowd, and putting it in a contemporary setting. There are winks to the original story, such as the opening scene (“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again”), never using New Girl’s name until at the end, and of course, the name Becca. I still liked the original better, but I think Paige Harbison did a great job at retelling the book.