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Friday, October 16, 2020

Review: Helena by Claire L. Smith

by Claire L. Smith

Thank you to Clash Books & Night Worms for this copy.

Publisher: CLASH Books
Publish Date: October 13, 2020
141 Pages
Genres: Horror, Gothic

On the outskirts of London, 1855, mortician and funeral director Helena Morrigan struggles with her limited finances and the heavy burdens of her past. Desperate to secure herself, she takes up residence in an aged house closer the graveyard, closer to the lost souls that sense her torment and are determined to take her place in the mortal world.

As she tries to tame and free the ghostly figures around her, she becomes acquainted with the owners of the home, the recently orphaned siblings, Eric, Audrey and Christian Tarter.

Yet, the souls she wants to save are on edge as a horrific serial killer runs rampant, giving Helena a boost in business and suspicion. Against her best efforts, Helena is suddenly thrown into a bloody mystery where new and old friendships are tested, innocents are maimed and a horrific family secret that threatens her chance at a peaceful existence and her existence itself.

My Review:

Hello gothic supernatural meets serial murder mystery.  Helena who works with the afterlife can also see them. Um, yes please to the please.  As a mortician, wouldn't a serial killer be VERY good for your business? *wink*

I did find this to be a bit predictable and some parts felt a bit over descriptive.  It took me a little bit to get hooked into the story but at 141 pages, it was a breeze to get through once it caught my full attention.  Where this book absolutely shines is Helena and her interactions with the supernatural.  The eerie tone the author sets really gave me the goosies.  These particular descriptives I could've read about forever. *swoon*  Though at certain times outside of this, it felt like the modern descriptions didn't quite fit the gothic era the book encompassed. 

Overall I feel a bit torn with this read.  The author builds a wonderful spooky gothic atmosphere and I felt myself really falling in love with Helena as a character.  Despite the tiny issues that I had, this is an impressive debut and I do feel a pull to need to know where the story will go from here.


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