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My Darling Dreadful Thing: A Novel de…
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My Darling Dreadful Thing: A Novel (edició 2024)

de Johanna van Veen (Autor)

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
704386,293 (3.11)3
"If the dead can wake and walk among us, how can we know what is truly real? Roos Beckman has a spirit companion only she can see. Ruth-strange, corpse-like, and dead for centuries-is the light of Roos' life. That is, until the wealthy young widow Agnes Knoop visits one of Roos' backroom seances, and the two strike up a connection. Soon, Roos is whisked away to the crumbling estate Agnes inherited upon the death of her husband, where an ill woman haunts the halls, strange smells drift through the air at night, and mysterious stone statues reside in the family chapel. Something dreadful festers in the manor, but still, the attraction between Roos and Agnes is undeniable. Then, someone is murdered. Poor, alone, and with a history of 'hysterics', Roos is the obvious culprit. With her sanity and innocence in question, she'll have to prove who-or what-is at fault or lose everything she holds dear"--… (més)
Membre:Pettymars0193
Títol:My Darling Dreadful Thing: A Novel
Autors:Johanna van Veen (Autor)
Informació:Poisoned Pen Press (2024), 384 pages
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
Valoració:
Etiquetes:gen

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My Darling Dreadful Thing de Johanna van Veen

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I did enjoy this book, but it was weird. I mean, look at the cover, I guess I fully expected it to be weird. Lots of ghosts and taking over people with some queer thrown in. Honestly, the story did grip me and I listened to this book. But will I remember it in a few weeks? Probably not. There were some kinda creepy moments. For some reason, I found the sick person when she went to live with Agnus to be the creepiest in the whole book. She was startling. I had a hard time in the beginning understanding how old she was and then some woman kissing her at the séance. We do find out she was 21. And then the sick woman was banging her brother. There was just some weird things, but I did enjoy the voice of the narrator. I also was so close to finishing this book on audio and then it expired. I had to go read the last 10 pages at Barnes and Noble. haha! Nothing earth shattering happened, but was curious to see if Agnus, the ghost, ever went back to her. Sounds like she was starting to. ( )
  Mav-n-Libby | Jul 10, 2024 |
3.25

Queer gothic tale filled with abusive mothers, peaty spirits & incest.

For some reason it felt a bit dull for me, and the romance felt forced. ( )
  spiritedstardust | Jun 20, 2024 |
The Publisher Says: In a world where the dead can wake and walk among us, what is truly real?

Roos Beckman has a spirit companion only she can see. Ruth—strange, corpse-like, and dead for centuries—is the only good thing in Roos’ life, which is filled with sordid backroom séances organized by her mother. That is, until wealthy young widow Agnes Knoop attends one of these séances and asks Roos to come live with her at the crumbling estate she inherited upon the death of her husband. The manor is unsettling, but the attraction between Roos and Agnes is palpable. So how does someone end up dead?

Roos is caught red-handed, but she claims a spirit is the culprit. Doctor Montague, a psychologist tasked with finding out whether Roos can be considered mentally fit to stand trial, suspects she’s created an elaborate fantasy to protect her from what really happened. But Roos knows spirits are real; she's loved one of them. She'll have to prove her innocence and her sanity, or lose everything.

I RECEIVED A DRC FROM THE PUBLISHER VIA NETGALLEY. THANK YOU.

My Review
: Satisfying sapphic romantic story of a woman who uses legit psychic powers in service of a horrible, harridanly charlatan. Or the story of an impressionable mentally ill young woman in thrall to a horrible, harridanly charlatan who grabs hold of sapphic love to effect her escape from abuse.

Either one fits. Both take us down the very dark, quite chilling paths that Author Johanna ushers the reader down. Roos, our PoV, has never experienced a normal life. It's the second culturally Dutch novel I've read this month that paints a very bleak picture of Dutch life after WWII, though I suppose that isn't exactly a shock is it. What does surprise me is the deeply homophopbic atmosphere Author Johanna portrays...I suppose the patriarchal horror of the world she's limned before our utterly appalled eyes is a big part of that, as the homophobia in question is directed at sapphic lovers.

If I'm to offer you one inducement to exceed all the others to get this book into y'all's hands, I'm going with: Dutch Author Johanna wrote this book in English, about lesbian survivors of a horrifying war in the Netherlands, because she's Dutch, because she's lesbian, and because she's clearly not quite right. How many people can accrete so many out-of-mainstream identities, write a story directly centered in them all, and get it published in the insular US market? And then, topping the high-calorie literary sundae with its obligatory gorgeously red cherry, create the undead/zombie character that twangs your readerly heartstrings with her fullness and pathos? Sweet, dead Ruth...my favorite zombie!

There are no others, just this one.

You can read, and there's a synopsis above this, so you know what's going on. I'm here to tell you if I think Author Johanna did the job of convincing me to invest in her world: Yes. Did she make me think long and hard about how the transactional world cheapens, while defining, human relationships: Better than the Southern Gothics. Roos is a classic Tennessee Williams character, a Blanche Dubois plus agency, with the psychic fragility and serious Love problems; Ruth puts me in mind of a gender-flipped Darl Bundren, articulate, doomed. Did her writing cause me to sit quiet for long moments, committing parts to memory: once, which is once more than most books I read. (It's a spoiler, so I daren't share; the Spoiler Stasi are ever vigilant and quick with their truncheons.)

The unique quality I literally never expect from horror, especially Gothic horror, novels is, here, the pervasive Dutchness of the story. It could not be reset in the US, or England, without losing the special something that kept luring me past my usual guardrails against con-artist faux psychics and fantastical stories of spirit lovers. These are usually the tropes I use as reminders that I have compararively few eyeblinks left and don't want to waste them. Author Johanna, in using postwar, post-Occupation Netherlandish settings, convinced me not to pre-judge these characters. Their long national trauma, their dark personal traumas, their battles faught against real cultural horrors, all formed a gestalt of world and people that convinced me to set my usual intolerance for these ideas aside and consider them as real...to the characters, thus opening the door to my belief as well.

That's a huge achievement for an author I'm unfamiliar with. I'm really pleased to say that I felt the ending was indeed a payoff commensurate with my investment of care and attention.

Brava, Johanna van Veen. Clearly your genesis as the odd-triplet-out was predictive of your sui generis selfhood. I'm eager for more from you. ( )
  richardderus | May 15, 2024 |
One of the best modern Gothic horror novels I have ever read!

It takes place in 1958, but you wouldn't know it by the way Roos Beckman describes the world as she knows it. Her life is pain, blood, salt and tears from the beginning. The narrative follows her vivid thoughts, which are unabstract due to a rudimentary education but not stupid or foolish. Hers is based in the organic, and the way she smells, tastes and feels everything draws you in immediately. She is direct, candid, but interestingly, codependent. The latter is due to her upbringing, but also the fact that she is bound to an old spirit named Ruth.

Roos came upon Ruth quite accidentally, but in Ruth she found the love and support she dreadfully needed. Ruth knew pain, blood and tears, long before she had been drowned in that bog. Ruth's broken jaw clacks, she is icy cold with black eyes, and smells of earthy rot and peat. But when widow Agnes Knoop enters both their lives, everything changes for the better. Agnes brings Roos to her seemingly rich estate, to live as companions and with her own spirit Peter. As a result, Roos convinces herself that she will do anything to keep Agnes happy. Even if that happiness strikes at Ruth or raises something dangerous and cruel from the dead.

This novel is like a combination of Crimson Peak, the Monkey's Paw, and The Turn of the Screw. There were scenes in this book where you could almost feel the mud or smell the bog. Roos claims throughout the book that she is not mad, but this is true at least when pertaining to Ruth's existence. Her dark, desperate actions for Agnes though? No sane woman could do what she did, mentally or physically. That was honestly the best part of the book. Watching how far Roos was willing to go for the woman she loved. This one is definitely sticking with me. ( )
  asukamaxwell | Mar 5, 2024 |
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No, no - there are depths, depths! The more I go over it, the more I see in it, and the more I see in it, the more I fear. I don't know what I don't see - what I don't hear! - Henry James, The Turn of the Screw
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For Hilke, who has read it all before, for Lieke, who has part of it still to go, and for Corinna, who has it all yet to come.
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Every seance I conducted with Mama followed a pattern.
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"If the dead can wake and walk among us, how can we know what is truly real? Roos Beckman has a spirit companion only she can see. Ruth-strange, corpse-like, and dead for centuries-is the light of Roos' life. That is, until the wealthy young widow Agnes Knoop visits one of Roos' backroom seances, and the two strike up a connection. Soon, Roos is whisked away to the crumbling estate Agnes inherited upon the death of her husband, where an ill woman haunts the halls, strange smells drift through the air at night, and mysterious stone statues reside in the family chapel. Something dreadful festers in the manor, but still, the attraction between Roos and Agnes is undeniable. Then, someone is murdered. Poor, alone, and with a history of 'hysterics', Roos is the obvious culprit. With her sanity and innocence in question, she'll have to prove who-or what-is at fault or lose everything she holds dear"--

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