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Review by Suze
Corinne and Ashley are sisters. They're close and discuss everything with each other, so when Corinne has another round of IVF to get through, her last chance, Ashley doesn't hesitate to help out. Ashley has her own family and loves her children more than anything, but she also likes working and being free for a few hours. She thinks she's found the perfect balance, but lately her life seems to spin out of control no matter what she does.
Corinne and Ashley's father passed away the previous year and they're both still mourning. When pieces of the doll house he made for them when they were children start to appear in Corinne's home at first nobody believes something strange is happening, but why does someone leave them for her and how did this person get into Corinne's apartment? Sinister things keep happening, who's behind them and is this person dangerous?
The Doll House is an incredibly gripping story about family and how being part of one affects people's lives. Corinne and Ashley never doubted their father's love. They've always felt cherished by both of their parents. Not everyone has such a stable home, however. That's a great basis for a story and a topic that immediately intrigued me. I like stories about siblings and Phoebe Morgan has definitely written a good one. I was hooked from the start and read The Doll House in one sitting, I couldn't put it down.
Corinne wants nothing more than becoming a mother. She's kindhearted and has much love to give. She'll go far to have a baby and I admired her determination. Ashley is struggling at home. There's a lot going on and she doesn't understand most of it, she's lost and my heart ached for her. It's clear from the start that her family members are having secrets and I couldn't wait to find out what they were. Phoebe Morgan describes them in a thrilling way that immediately captivated me.
The Doll House is an original creepy story filled with surprising twists and turns. I sometimes forgot to breathe as there's so much tension. It's clear from the start that someone's watching the siblings and I was anxious to find out who. Phoebe Morgan skillfully alternates between main characters and sets her story in both the past and the present, so the reader gets a complete overview of what's going on. I liked this approach a lot. The Doll House is a fantastic thriller, a terrific enthralling story that made me forget who I was and where I was for a few hours.
If you love scary thrillers you should definitely read The Doll House.
About Phoebe Morgan
Phoebe Morgan is an author and commissioning editor. She studied English at Leeds University after growing up in the Suffolk countryside. She has previously worked as a journalist and now edits crime and women’s fiction for a publishing house during the day, and writes her own books in the evenings. She lives in London and you can follow her on Twitter @Phoebe_A_Morgan, or find her blog about publishing and writing at phoebemorganauthor.com. The Doll House is her debut novel.
What Halloween Means To Me
By Phoebe Morgan
I have always loved Halloween; I think it’s one of the most magical nights of the year and I really look forward to it as the winter nights begin to creep in. My parents actually met on Halloween night, and although they’re no longer together, I love the story of how they were first introduced and have even put a bit of it into a novel!
Apparently, my mother was living in a big shared house down in Brighton when my father walked in – he was visiting a friend who happened to be my mother’s new flatmate. My mother was carving a swede, because she hadn’t been able to find a pumpkin, and so that was their first topic of conversation. I love picturing the scene, and I think about that moment every single year. I’ve always been fascinated with characters’ backstories – how they met those people who would go on to change their lives, and the tiny moments when a connection sparks between strangers, be it good or bad. Halloween always makes me think about these moments of closeness – the countless house parties where one person might bump into another and compliment their costume, the cosy nights in where families will carve their pumpkins and leave them on the doorstep, the excited hordes of children raring to go trick-or-treating with their friends from school. It’s a night that sparkles with excitement, no matter who you are.
When writing this, I started thinking back to some of my most memorable Halloween nights. One of my earliest memories is dressing up with my two brothers for the primary school disco – there was a fancy dress competition every year, and it was almost always won by the same boy! My most vivid recollection is the time we dressed up as a three-person ghost train, determined to beat him, but unfortunately he came as Nearly Headless Nick and even I had to admit that was a good one (he was carrying his head underneath his arm!)
When I got older and went to university, I studied for a year in America. Halloween in America is a very different experience to the UK – they really do go all out! Their costume shops go on for miles, and the supermarkets are filled with aisle after aisle of goodies. I had to have three different costumes for three different parties, and by the end of the weekend I was completely exhausted!
In the last few years, I’ve tended towards a slightly quieter Halloween, staying in and carving pumpkins, sometimes adventurously having a go at pumpkin soup (although I’m a terrible cook, so this has never gone particularly well…) I always keep an ear out for trick or treaters though, and a bowl of sweets in case anyone comes knocking. I remember all too well the excitement of traipsing round the village in a witch’s mask, and it was always so disappointing when nobody answered the door, so I never want to let any aspiring witches down.
There’s something about Halloween too that makes me feel creative, probably because of my parents’ story. I’ve been writing another book in which Halloween is a pivotal point – so we revisit the same couple each year, but always on that night. Of course, along with the air of magic there is definitely an eerie quality to October 31st, a sort of intangible, frightening feeling that anything could happen. My writing does tend to veer towards the darker side of fiction – and it’s nearly always what I love to read, too.
This Halloween, I’ll be carving my pumpkin as usual, but it will my first Halloween as a published author. That for me makes it a little bit more special, as publishing a book is something I have always wanted to do and so for that dream to come true this year has been absolutely wonderful. My book, The Doll House, has given me the opportunity to really explore my spooky side and it’s been incredibly
rewarding seeing the reader reactions. So this year, I’ll be feeling very lucky on October 31st – as long as nobody asks me to make pumpkin soup…
The Doll House by Phoebe Morgan is available to buy now on Amazon and iBooks. For publishing and writing tips, you can follow Phoebe’s blog at phoebemorganauthor.com.
One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a print copy of The Doll House with Halloween related sweets.
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