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Friday, July 29, 2011

Gothic, Vampirish and Old World ~ "The House on Blackstone Moor"

The Book Summary :

This is a tale of vampirism, madness, obsession and devil worship as Rose Baines, only survivor of her family’s carnage, tells her story. Fragile, damaged by the tragedy, fate sends her to a desolate house on the haunted moors where demons dwell. The house and the moors have hideous secrets, yet there is love too; deep, abiding, eternal, but it comes with a price, her soul.

About the Author:

Carole Gill wrote her first story at age 8. It was science fiction. She switched to horror in her teens and has been writing ever since.

Widely published in horror and sci-fi anthologies, The House on Blackstone Moor, published by Vamplit, is Carole’s first novel. It is a tale of vampirism, madness, obsession and devil worship.

Set in 19th Century Yorkshire its locales include Victorian madhouses as well as barren, wind-swept Yorkshire moors. The story is a marriage of horror and gothic romance set in 19th Century England.
The sequel, Unholy Testament, will be released later this year.

A former New Yorker but resident in England and residing in Yorkshire gave her the knowledge of the area the novel is set in. Also, as a great admirer of the Brontes and frequent visitor to the Bronte Parsonage in Haworth she found herself nearly obsessed with recreating the gothic romantic narrative.

Also having been employed in a hospital which had been historically a workhouse and asylum in Victorian times, Carole was able to add great realism to the depiction of the asylums as described in her novel.

Excerpt from the Novel's first page:

"...They say my father was mad, so corrupted by evil and tainted by sin that he did what he did. I came home to find them all dead; their throats savagely cut. My sisters only five and eight were gone as well as my brother who was twelve. My mother too lay butchered in her marriage bed. The bed her children were born in.

I discovered him first, in the sitting room, floating on a sea of crimson, the bloody razor still clutched in his hand.

How pitiful I must have looked, bent down trying to wake him. Calling to him over and over: “Papa please, please wake up!”

He could not waken of course. No more was he to open his eyes, not in this world, had I not been struck mad I would have realized.

Yet madness is sometimes a mercy when shadows come to take the horror away. Please do not pull away in terror, please. I have much to confess. Just be patient, for I promise I will tell you everything. The only thing I ask in return is for you not to judge me until you hear my entire story…”

My Review:

Without a moment's delay, and from those first paragraphs above, I was hooked into "The House on Blackstone Moor." I soon discovered that this was a book written after the style of Bram Stoker's "Dracula;" that is, gothic, romantic,rich in bloody detail and situated in an all encompassing overshadowing of hellish gloom.

Unlike the sometimes "wimpish" and often light-hearted vampire novels of comtemporary authors, as well as those "fattened" by the use of other magical creatures: werewolves and the like; Ms Gill harkens back to the real stuff. She reminds us that these vampire creatures of darkness come from Satan as do his dark minions...that, though some are enchanting and loveable, they all are ungodly and evil.

Throughout this novel I thought of Mina and her sweetheart, of the doctor who wanted to save her, and of the devilish Dracula and his poor fly-eating slave, Renfro. There is a true vampire who's after the blood of humans and up to no good. There also are the vampires of Carole Gill's book for the most part.

Along with her vampires, I really enjoyed her depictions of the Marsh Asylum and its residents. I happen to crave novels in this sort of setting...and in gothic format, so this was particularly fun to read. It's a scary premise to be emotionally upset by a horrible incident and to be thought insane by virtue of that...then to be sent to an asylum only to wonder how you'd ever be let out. That's one of my nightmares! Ms. Gill touches perfectly upon it.

The writing technique seems ancient and fitting for this novel/genre. While the story continues from one "happening" to another; one small climax to the other, we are caught in n unrelenting web that won't let us go until the end. As I've mentioned before, not only is it set in 19th c. England, but it harkens back to writers of a timeframe such as Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker, and even Edgar Allen Poe. 

"..Blackstone Moor" doesn't seem to want to end, however, and that may be its biggest flaw. I think a good editing might have been useful in this case; and, although I enjoyed the continuing scenarios, I felt as if too much was enough. Perhaps an ending well done and a couple of sequels would have been a better way of handling the novel. I'm looking forward to her announced sequel.

Character development is solid and compelling. I was fully involved in Rose, the primary character, and her experiences. I did feel her many "attacks" were a bit overdone, though, and might have been better handled with more variety and less frequency. Rose's love of the handsome and irresistable Mr. Darton had me craving a kiss from him, too!

All in all, I found this an enjoyable read. It felt like reading an old Victorian novel, which I found enchanting in this age. While I was fortunate enough to receive a review copy, I understand an ebook is available.

4 stars for "The House on Blackstone Moor"




Well thank you very much for your review.
The sequel, Unholy Testament will be released later this year.
Again, many thanks I'm delighted you enjoyed it.


Thank you for sharing your review!

Blaze McRob

Great novel! I truly enjoyed the melding of Gothic literature and horror. Carole certainly is a master at this. I am very much looking forward to her next novel. I need another Carole Gill fix!



This sounds great and I am about to go buy it. Thanks for a great review.

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