Title: Owl Manor – the Dawning
Author: Zita Harrison
Genre: Gothic Suspense
“I could feel the moisture on my arms, hear the rustling of leaves and twigs, the hooting of owls. He turned to face me and stood still, waiting in the gloom…”
Sometimes the tide sweeps us into a fog where dark forces are at work…
All of a sudden evil and good become blurred…
Stifled by the repression of women in the 1800s, trapped in a loveless marriage, Eva lives a life of dissatisfaction and frustration. The tide sweeps her to the Rocky Mountains during the gold rush in 1859, where she finds unexpected hope at Owl Manor, a strange, dark place with owls in the very fabric of its walls.
But the stakes are perilous. Shadows wander the dim corridors. The owner of the manor is moody, volatile. And spellbinding.
Owl Manor – the Dawning, the first standalone book in a trilogy of Gothic Suspense novels, is inspired by authors such as Daphne du Maurier (Jamaica Inn, Rebecca), Carlos Ruiz Zafon (Marina, Shadow of the Wind), Kate Morton (The Forgotten Garden).
Filled with Poe-esque atmosphere, dark desires and supernatural elements, this book is a must read for fans of Gothic Suspense.
There has possibly never been another book like this one. The author crafts a story in duality with the strident suffragist Eva - who seems to be at least sixty years ahead of her time, and with Rafe - the deranged yet calm when not fulminating murderer of 'sinful' women. The book carries you through two tales that only begin to intersect halfway along. The relationship between Eva and Rafe is one of the most complex ever created by an author. You have a woman who has spent her life fighting for the right to be considered an equal and a man who has spent his life thinking all women are scheming and evil.
The twist is when Eva, knowing only that there is something seriously wrong with Rafe, but finds comfort in his accepting her forthright opinions. Rafe detests all women but comes to find Eva has a way about her that doesn't remind him of any other woman he has met and that enthralls him.
One might think the central point of this book is a philosophical analysis of women's rights in mid 19th century America. The premise seems to be a woman who demands an equal place and voice in society is so alien to society that only a mentally deranged murderer sees value in her.
This book seeps into your soul. I found myself dreaming about this book as I read it. The reader will also find that this story is all encompassing that the length of time spent reading will seem like an endless journey.
There is so much in this book that it has the capability of appealing to almost everyone. I recommend it to any fans of gothic horror like Poe wrote and anyone who enjoys deep character exploration rarely seen in 21st century fiction.
My Rating: 5 stars
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Zita Harrison, writer, artist, is a lover of Gothic literature. Dark personalities and settings, tortured romance, the supernatural. As a child, she avidly read ghost stories. In high school, she fell in love with Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. For her masters in English literature, she did a thesis on Gothic literature vs. the work of Pablo Picasso, who once said: “A work of art must make a man react, feel strongly … He must be seized by the throat and shaken up … he has to be made aware of the world he’s living in and for that he must first be jolted out of it.” Zita Harrison writes with this very purpose in mind. Owl Manor – the Dawning is the first of a trilogy of Gothic Suspense novels she is working on. Next in the installment is Owl Manor – Abigail. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and can be found on www.zitaharrison.com
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Reviewed by: Mr. N