BOOK REVIEW || The House At The End of Lacelean Street || Catherine McCarthy

The House at the End of Lacelean Street

Catherine McCarthy 




It's midnight and in the midst of an ice storm when Claudia Dance boards the bright yellow bus to Lacelean Street, a destination she has never heard of. She has no coat, no luggage, and no clue as to why she left home. In fact, she has no memory of her past whatsoever, and yet she feels compelled to make the trip. She will come to realize that salvation lies within the red-brick house at the end of Lacelean Street, a salvation granted by the strange power that dwells within. Sanity will be questioned, limits tested, and answers revealed... But at what price?



As usual, Catherine McCarthy writes a compelling tale in her new book The House at the End of Lacelean Street, published by Dark Matter INK.

The story starts with three people on a bus. Claudia, a middle-aged woman, an older man named Howard and finally Stacey, a young woman with substance use problems. The bus takes them to a mysterious house at the end of Lacelean Street where for some reason it seems that they are expected. They are provided with clothing, lodging and food. In addition to that they are left a mysterious note which tells them that lessons start promptly after breakfast at nine AM.

With no other indication of what they are to do they set about slowly becoming acquainted with each other and the routine of the house. As the story progresses both the characters and the readers find out what has drawn them to the house and the past that they have endured.

Reading like an episode from Tales of the Unexpected (I think the nearest to equate it to for American readers would be The Twilight Zone), McCarthy does not hold the readers hand as the reader is left as disorientated as the characters as to what is actually happening in the house.

As a reader, I have been enamoured by McCarthy’s writing since reading her short story collection Mists and Megaliths, and similarly to the that story collection, the novels and novellas that have followed have shown her versatility as a writer, each one being vastly different from the last.

She has a skill to write compelling characters that have a humanness to them, and this one has the most complex characters of the ones that I have read (not that all of her characters aren’t complex) in her books.

The book itself is really interesting, carefully unfolding secrets as the story progresses, and as both the characters and the readers are searching for answers to the riddle of the house at the end of Lacelean Street, the story entwines you with its serpentine plot. Where the book shines the most is when the characters are at their quietest, reading a book or having a meal. It is in these moments that we see the group coming closer together and forming the emotional ties to one another that are the most poignant. Through their conversations and their actions, we learn about their pasts and the reason that they have been drawn to the house.

If you want a book that slowly reveals its secrets, then this is the book for you. The writing is gorgeous (as usual!) and the characters are just fantastic. You all just need to go ahead and read it.



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