House of Ash

After hearing voices among an eerie copse of trees in the woods, seventeen-year-old Curtis must confront his worst fear: that he has inherited his father’s mental illness. A desperate search for answers leads him to discover Gravenhearst, a labyrinth mansion that burned down in 1894. When he locks eyes with a steely Victorian girl in a forgotten mirror, he’s sure she’s one of the fire’s victims. If he can unravel the mystery, he can save his sanity . . . and possibly the girl who haunts his dreams.

But more than 100 years in the past, the girl in the mirror is fighting her own battles. When her mother disappears and her sinister stepfather reveals his true intentions, Mila and her sister fight to escape Gravenhearst and unravel the house’s secrets—before it devours them both.

I came across Cook’s debut book and it had such a curious premise I found myself wanting to know more. Then I discovered she used her own personal experiences as fodder for her book so it increased my desire to read it because I have found books where the author has poured something of their own life into them seem to be far more interesting.

Cook has a great way of writing vividly so you become hooked into this journey she has created into her world. The novel starts off a little rough but if you just stay with it you will become enthralled with what she has built and who she has fashioned as it picks up very quickly.

I thought she did a great job balancing a story set in two different time periods and with 2 sets of different characters whose stories seem like they need to converge at some point. I liked the Supernatural elements and she balanced issues of mental illness well. Her two main characters are developed very well but any of the other ones came across as very one dimensional but they aren’t important enough for this to take away from the overall story.

I mostly liked the book but the ending felt weak and not everything was answered so I’m not sure if the author is planning to write a sequel and that’s why the conclusion kind of falls off without filling in the holes?

Thank you to Netgalley and Amulet Books for allowing me to review this book.

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*synopsis and pic from

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