Release Date: September 2nd, 2011
Pages: Not listed (Kindle Edition)
Source: From the author in exchange for an honest review.
Base Spirits by Ruth Barrett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
‘Murder has took this chamber with full hands
And will ne’er out as long as the house stands.’
~A Yorkshire Tragedy, Act I, Sc. v
In 1605, Sir Walter Calverley’s murderous rampage leaves a family shattered. The killer suffers a torturous execution… but is it truly the end? A noble Yorkshire house stands forever tarnished by blood and possessed by anguished spirits.
Some crimes are so horrific, they reverberate through the centuries.
As an unhappy modern couple vacation in the guesthouse at Calverley Old Hall, playwright Clara, and her scholar husband, Scott, unwittingly awaken a dark history. Clara is trapped and forced back in time to bear witness to a family’s bloody saga. Overtaken by the malevolent echoes, Scott is pushed over the edge from possessive husband to wholly possessed…
Inspired by a true-life drama in Shakespeare’s day, this is itself a play within a play: a supernatural thriller with a historical core.
Only one player can survive.
In the interest of full disclosure, I am going to be completely honest and tell you that I have not read the play this book is based on. But then again, I don't think that most people that read this book will have read that play either. It's kind of an obscure play, and unless you are a huge, HUGE, Shakespeare fan, then I am guessing that you have not read it either. The play is called the Yorkshire Tragedy and for a long time it was thought to be written by Shakespeare, but now it's not. At least that is the information I have gleaned from the internet. Onto the review.
The writing was fantastic. I didn't have an emotional connection to the characters, but the plot itself was great. This is a horror novel and the book definitely made me feel unsettled and disturbed. Parts of it were very violent and hard for me to read. I did feel some of the characters were a little on the flat side, but I thought Phillipa was written fabulously. You really feel for her and everything she goes through.
Truthfully, I didn't know what to think when I started reading Base Spirits as horror novels are a bit of a hit or a miss for me. But this one was definitely a hit. It was gruesome and gory without being overly done. The blurb very much excited me, and that's why I requested a copy for review. It didn't let me down.
I like books rooted in some kind of a reality, and I think it's very cool that you can actually see photographs of the manor that this book was set in. It really exists in England and is still standing today. You can actually stay there. The tragedy that happened there (and in this book) is unexplainable and very, very strange. These murders actually happened and the play, The Yorkshire Tragedy was also based on these murders.
This is a perfect book for a rainy day. I wouldn't say that it scared me, but it was definitely creepy. It might scare someone though, and another reviewer was scared, which I can totally understand. You might want to leave the lights on while reading this one just in case. It really depends on how easily scared you are.
Final note: Gorgeous prose that fit the era the book was set in, and a creepy story that you will find yourself engrossed in. I very much enjoyed it and can easily recommend this to fans of horror and historical fiction.
To purchase a copy of Base Spirits, click here: Base Spirits