Continuing in our theme of gothic novels, this week’s post is dedicated to a new and up and coming author.
A lovely governess; a handsome widower and his two sons; a fog shrouded forest, and a ghastly mysterious murder. So sets the stage for Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling, the first novel by Michael Boccacino.
Charlotte Markham is the governess to the young Darrow boys. When their nanny is found murdered in a most gruesome fashion, it is Charlotte who steps in to take care of the boys. It is when during one of their daily walks that they encounter a fog draped forest and beyond a dark house that wasn’t there before does she realize that not all is as it seems. For waiting in that dark house is the boys’ supposedly dead mother and a strange man in black.
Charlotte Markham is an excellent first novel. While it touts itself as a ‘Victorian Gothic’ tale, in truth the mish mash of manners, character actions and reactions and style of speech, make it a bit harder to pin down. It is definitely a dark and gothic tale, reminding me of works by Neil Gaiman. So much so that there were a few times where I almost expected one of the Endless from Gaiman’s popular Sandman series to pop up. I’ll let you, dear reader, decide who I was expecting to see should you read this book.
From what I have seen, Charlotte Markham has received decent reviews. My own voice will have to be included because I truly liked it. The style was very smooth and at times quite creepy especially when it came to the goings on in the House of Darkling. I found the end a tad rushed but the fact that it was left open ended make up for that. For some characters their fate was spelled out but for others we are left with a question mark.
Should Boccaciono write more – and I hope he does – it is my sincere wish he return to this land that he has created in Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling. It is a rich world ripe for a wide variety of stories.