Joanna and her friends are all at that stage in their very late twenties where they are starting to make their way in the real world after college, when Lucas’s uncle commits suicide and he inherits Stoneborough Manor. Lucas intends for this large property in Oxford to be the place for their group of friends to get together every weekend, but things don’t always go as planned.
Soon the malevolent atmosphere surrounding the house starts to have an effect on everyone there – especially Joanna and Lucas. Lucas has also become obsessed with films that he found in the house of his parents, uncle, and their friends at the same age where Lucas, Joanna and their group of friends are now. When Lucas starts living at the house full-time, things really start taking their toll on him – he has become, to say the least, unstable. Things continue to get worse for him when he uncovers the secret between his father’s and his uncle’s deaths.
While I enjoyed this book, I had the feeling throughout the whole thing that it wasn’t quite as good as it could have been. It was just creepy enough, didn’t push the boundaries of creepiness. There was almost thick atmosphere that you could taste, but it was only almost there. Then, at times the narration felt extremely awkward. Whitehouse seemed to merge the present with memories of what happened in the past without a noticeable break, which lead to confusion until I realized what was going on. I got used to it as the book progressed, but it never flowed really well for me in those instances.
There were, however, certain redeeming qualities about the book. The characters were well developed, and the growth they went through during the year that the book takes place was sometimes frightening, and sometimes invigorating. The house itself had a characterization that overtook the whole book as well. Rather intense at times (though not as eerie as I had hoped it to be).
I did enjoy this book, even though it wasn’t everything I hoped for. It was a good fluffy read, perfect for the rainy weather we’ve been having recently.