July 24, 2012

Book Review: MORGAN HALL by Bo Briar

BOOK DESCRIPTION:  Love never dies, and revenge never sleeps in Morgan Hall…

Morgan Hall, a desolate country estate, has been in Lady Christie Morgan’s family for almost 400 years. A family cursed by eternal tragedy, and now Christie is the last Morgan.

Apparitions appear, sparking a chain of horrifying occurrences involving Christie and the two men who love her: Anthony Longfield-Lothian and Tristan Ely.

A saga of mystery and sordid family history weaves intrigue for the passionate love triangle. Past and present war as the secrets of three aristocratic families unfold - resurfacing in a spine-chilling mystery of passion and lust, ghostly happenings, and blood-curdling murders.

Emotions run high as their world spins wildly out of control. Are they all cursed to repeat the grizzly past? Does sweet revenge claim its prize?  Morgan Hall.
 
My Review
Since first reading Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier many years ago, I have a fondness for all things gothic. I was particularly gratified to have the opportunity to read Morgan Hall, a modern day gothic tale. It delivers.

Gothic books can be a tricky business, at least in my opinion. You need a slow, measured build up, keeping your audience intent and interested, and desperate for the payoff at the end. Where it gets tricky is not moving too quickly and not moving at a lethargic pace. It needs to be a literary perfect storm, if you will. Not every book gets this. Morgan Hall does. The writing is plotted to perfection, with wonderfully moody descriptions of the estates, - - which are characters in their own rights - - the English countryside, quaint villages, the main heroine and heroes and the supporting characters that the reader will find himself or herself giving the side eye to, particularly those that bring to mind Mrs. Danvers from DuMaurier’s penultimate work.

I loved Morgan Hall, the place. Are ghosts hiding around every corner? Does this ancient estate have its own stories to tell? I desperately wanted to know. Truth be told, I felt a stronger bond to the estates than I did to the three principles of the story, Christie, Anthony and Tristan. I felt that author Bo Briar sketched out the estate so well, so clearly that it’s a greater presence than Christie, Anthony and Tristan.

Morgan Hall is meant to be savored and enjoyed, leisurely, and preferably with a raging storm outside and wrapped in a warm blanket with a mug of your favorite hot beverage beside you. You can read this book in the dog days of summer, as I did, but the general unease and impending sense of doom will make you shiver. This isn’t a cozy mystery and there is a healthy dose of the paranormal and ghosts but you won’t find graphic, titillating violence here and the sexual situations are relatively PG-13. Your imagination will be sent into overdrive with author Bo Briar’s slow buildup and the incredible tension. This is what a well written and well paced gothic novel aspires to be and should be.

Was there anything I didn’t care for with Morgan Hall? It did start a bit slow (again, a slow boil) and it did have a part or two that I felt dragged a bit, but it’s worth overcoming these small bumps in the road in order to arrive at your rewarding destination.

If you prefer your books with substance and aren’t looking for an extremely faced paced read, Morgan Hall is a perfect choice. The book itself isn’t long (clocking in at less than 300 pages) but it’s such an intensive and thought provoking work that it packs quite the punch. Pick up Morgan Hall and get your spooky on.

Morgan Hall is available for purchase now at major booksellers, including Amazon.  I am an Amazon affiliate.  If you make a purchase through my link I will receive a small commission. 

Review copy of this book provided by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. In no way did the provision of this book affect the outcome of my review.

With thanks to Pump Up Your Book for including me on this tour!



About Author Bo Briar

Bo Briar nursed a love of art, music and architecture from childhood as well as all things ghostly. Her years at a British boarding school secluded in an ancient English county of majestic stately homes, historical towns and quaint medieval villages, nestled among mysterious forests and chocolate-box landscapes formed many of her lifelong impressions, beliefs and ideas.
Although having a natural affinity for the countryside Bo lived most of her life between the big cities of London and Hong Kong. Though widely travelled, she will always return to the two cities she calls home.
Her love for writing began at university where she would often diverge from composing dissertations to creating spooky stories. After taking a sabbatical from work in the hope of quality time with her two young children, she has also managed to complete and publish her first novel Morgan Hall. She is currently writing the sequel.
Bo welcomes you to her website at: www.bobriar.com
Feel free to email Bo at: bobriar1@gmail.com




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