Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Review: Morgan Hall by Bo Briar
Release Date: November 28, 2011
2011 World Castle Publishing
Ebook Edition; 258 Pages
Genre: Fiction / Gothic
Source: Pump Up Your Book
3 / 5 Stars
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.
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 is a gothic fiction novel that definitely has the right atmosphere as it's set in an old English manor that has been in the Morgan family for centuries and comes complete with pounding rain and unusual thunderstorms, lush countryside, eerie woods, sparkling streams and ponds, and a house full of secrets and unease. As per many of these novels, the main character, Christie Morgan, begins seeing spirits, hearing strange noises, has unusual things happen to her, and then is tormented by events that grow more dangerous and eerie as the days move on. While I found the setting to be quite fascinating, and thought the descriptions of the houses were quite good, I'm afraid the characters themselves are what actually drove me to give it the rating that I did as I enjoyed the descriptions far more than I enjoyed the characters.
Don't get me wrong as I enjoy a good gothic fiction novel and have been hooked since I discovered my grandmother's stash in her bedroom (in French and in English) when I was twelve years old. And while I really enjoyed the atmosphere in this novel, especially the pounding rain and the early darkness (perhaps I am rain-deprived in this drought-ridden July?) but I could envision everything so clearly and that is clearly due to the author's good writing skills when it comes to describing events and settings. I would even say I enjoyed the plot to a certain extent although it did seem to get caught up in the descriptions and in the characters' love triangle, but I like old family secrets and things that have been kept hidden for centuries, so perhaps I am a bit of a sap for things like that.
My biggest issue with Morgan Hall was the characters as they kind of got on my nerves. Christie, the last living descendent of Morgan Hall, became one big mess as things kept happening to her and I was often saying, "Where's your backbone, girl?" I just don't have the patience for women who are constantly crying (I realize this is just my issue and many people don't have a problem with this: It's something I need to work on.). And what particularly drove me crazy was the sudden development of this love triangle thing. Yes, I could predict something would happen, but it was how it happened that I wasn't overly crazy over, but then I am never crazy about these insta-love things so this would never have appealed to me. The whole flow of the situation didn't quite sit right with me and I thought the characters behaved like young, spoiled children and it really bothered me. I actually really liked Jonathan, the gamekeeper, and thought he was the most level-headed of the bunch.
Morgan Hall definitely has all the markings of a gothic fiction novel and I enjoyed seeing all of these elements in play; the spooky hall, the temperamental weather, the unexplained events, etc... And while the descriptions of the various homes were quite well done, I felt like the plot and the characters didn't quite live up to expectations. But the potential is definitely there, and I hope Ms. Briar will continue to write gothic fiction for those of us who can't quite get enough.