Publisher: Chicken House
Release: 6th August 2015
Genre: Horror, Thriller, UKYA
Source: Copy received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
"A castle. A curse. A dangerous summer.
Leo has invited Kate and a few friends to spend the summer at his inheritance, Darkmere Castle: as wild and remote as it is beautiful. Kate thinks it will be the perfect place for her and Leo to get together - but instead, she's drawn into the dark story of a young nineteenth-century bride who haunts the tunnels and towers of the house. And whose curse now hangs over them all."
I’m loving the horror trend in UKYA at the moment and Darkmere was a summer release that I couldn’t wait to get my hand on! That cover and tagline was enough to sell me on it and Darkmere delivered that blend of summer contemporary and gothic horror story that I wanted from it.
The book is told in alternate chapters set in both the past and the present. It follows Kate in the modern day and Elinor in 1825 as they both come to spend time at Darkmere castle. Kate is spending her summer there with her crush Leo and his friends and Elinor becomes lady of the castle after marrying Darkmere’s master Mr St Cloud.
The girls’ stories are eerily similar and as you get to know Leo and his ancestor St Cloud you hope that Kate’s story isn’t destined to follow in the same footsteps as poor Elinor. Despite our two characters destiny’s being scarily intertwined the voices were very distinct and so it never got confusing to read.
I think that my favourite thing about this book was exploring Darkmere castle itself. At the start of the story Darkmere seems like an idyllic place to spend the summer with its private beach and remote location but you gradually learn that it’s not a place you’d want to stay in by yourself after dark! Darkmere castle felt very much like a character in its own right and like Kate I loved exploring the secrets and mysteries it held within its walls.
Darkmere is the perfect blend of gritty summer contemporary and intriguing historical ghost story and is perfect for fans of C.J. Skuse and James Dawson. I’d recommend this to anyone looking for a different kind of holiday read – just don’t read it near water!