I dream sometimes about a house I’ve never seen….
Opal is a lot of things―orphan, high school dropout, full-time cynic and part-time cashier―but above all, she’s determined to find a better life for her younger brother Jasper. One that gets them out of Eden, Kentucky, a town remarkable for only two things: bad luck and E. Starling, the reclusive nineteenth century author of The Underland, who disappeared over a hundred years ago.
All she left behind were dark rumors―and her home. Everyone agrees that it’s best to ignore the uncanny mansion and its misanthropic heir, Arthur. Almost everyone, anyway.
I should be scared, but in the dream I don’t hesitate.
Opal has been obsessed with The Underland since she was a child. When she gets the chance to step inside Starling House―and make some extra cash for her brother’s escape fund―she can’t resist.
But sinister forces are digging deeper into the buried secrets of Starling House, and Arthur’s own nightmares have become far too real. As Eden itself seems to be drowning in its own ghosts, Opal realizes that she might finally have found a reason to stick around.
In my dream, I’m home.
And now she’ll have to fight.
Welcome to Starling House: enter, if you dare.
“Starling House” by Alix E. Harrow immediately grabs your attention and never lets go, creating a haunting and rich gothic novel in the process. Both Opal and Arthur are compelling and captivating voices, with rich language and an eerie creepy vibe that threads throughout the story, making your imagination run wild. The author, Alix E. Harrow creates an inviting world, one that is both authentic but also deeply imaginative and touches on what it means to be different from those around you, either because of the color of your skin, your money, your interests, or sexuality.
In “Starling House”, she delves into mysteries that patiently unfold and creates a story that is about both sacrifice and pain but also love and the willingness to dream, especially for those things that will make you happy. And the message of the book is do you embrace your dreams or do you stick to survival? I love the message but also the way that the author explores this in a beautiful, haunting and rich gothic story that will resonate with me for a very long time.
If you like haunting and rich gothic novels, this is one I especially suggest you consider. It is rich in imagery, beautiful in the depth of thought and messages that it explores and has wonderfully compelling characters that are a delight to read with language that is sometimes as sharp as a knife. Read it because you believe in dreams and love.
Rating: 5 out of 5 hellcats.