Note, the format of my Short and Sweet reviews differs in that they simply comprise the book blurb and a short response (hence, the short and sweet).
The blurb of this novel hooked me in with the promise of a dark, spooky and tense read. Did it deliver? Here’s the blurb:
Moving to Stagcote Manor was meant to be a fresh start for Lindy and her teenage daughter Izzy. A chance at a new life in the country after things went so wrong in London. But for Izzy it is a prison sentence. There’s something about the house that she can’t quite put her finger on. Something strange and unnerving. As Izzy begins to explore the manor and the village beyond its walls, she discovers the locals have a lot of bizarre superstitions and beliefs. Many of them related to the manor … and those who live there. When Izzy begins to investigate the history of the estate, her unease deepens to fear as the house’s chilling past finally comes to light. The Prophecy of Bees is a tense, gripping psychological suspense novel that explores the dark power of superstition and folklore.
Here’s a snippet:
‘Oh God!’ Olga said, making a sign of cross in the air. She walked briskly to the door. ‘This house! A ghost. A poor baby up the chimney. What they say about this place is right!’ She closed the door behind her, silencing her muttering.
The Prophecy of Bees delivers a good blend of superstition and spookiness, with tension mounting as fast as the feelings of unease. Just as Izzy wonders who to trust, so will you!
The novel is tagged as a mystery/psychological suspense, and while that’s correct, but I think it also deserves the horror tag, owing to descriptions of ghosts, wraiths at midnight, possible Satanic codes and the prevailing sense of evil. Since it’s written from 16-year-old Izzy’s perspective, with all her teen angst and mother-daughter drama, it could well appeal to the YA market (perhaps the older end), though it hasn’t been marketed as such. The ending is a cracker – really came out of left field and gives more weight to the horror elements of the story. I loved the setting, and the secondary characters really made the story come alive. I’ll be looking out for more books by R.S. Pateman.
Available from good bookstores. My copy was courtesy of Hachette Australia.