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.
As I walked farther in, I was enveloped in darkness. The trees above blocked the sun almost completely. Now the air smelled dank, musty, and moldy. I did not like this, and turned around to return to the house, but the edge of the forest was no longer visible. I could not tell which way I had come. A twig snapped behind me and I turned, expecting to see some animal, but there was nothing there. The odor of something akin to skunk, but more stale, filled my nostrils. I smelled manure and the reek of wet dog. I had heard there were bobcats and foxes up here, so I assumed it to be one of those. Suddenly, there was a loud crash. I spun around, but again, there was nothing. Then, Father, I heard the sound of breathing. It was guttural, like a growl, but unlike any I had heard before. There was another loud crash, and the breathing got louder. It sounded like a large animal, perhaps a mountain lion. Worried for my safety, I turned and walked slowly away from the sound, then ran, smashing through the underbrush, tearing my clothes, slashing my face. I tripped over something large and pitched face forward into the damp earth. When I raised my head, I found myself staring at the carcass of a deer. Its stomach had been ripped open, blood and entrails spilling out. It stared at me with sightless, dead eyes. I lurched to my feet, took a few steps back, and found myself against a moss-covered tree trunk.
All at once the unearthly screams of a woman filled the woods, followed by shrill screeches. And from nowhere, owls flew at me. Flapping their wings, snapping, pecking at my arms. I tried to knock them away while the woman’s screams went on and on. I turned again and ran blindly, going left and right, anywhere to get away from the owls. But they followed, wings fluttering, talons gnashing in the dark. I felt their beaks stab my cheeks and nose, tear the flesh on my arms, my back, and thought my end was near. I fell to the ground and lay there with my arms covering my face. And suddenly, they stopped. Slowly I removed my arms from my face and opened my eyes. The owls were gone.
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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