Book Review || The September House || Carrisa Orlando


Book Review

The September House

Carrisa Orlando



A woman is determined to stay in her dream home even after it becomes a haunted nightmare in this compulsively readable, twisty, and layered debut novel.

When Margaret and her husband Hal bought the large Victorian house on Hawthorn Street—for sale at a surprisingly reasonable price—they couldn’t believe they finally had a home of their own. Then they discovered the hauntings. Every September, the walls drip blood. The ghosts of former inhabitants appear, and all of them are terrified of something that lurks in the basement. Most people would flee. 

Margaret is not most people. 

Margaret is staying. It’s 
her house. But after four years Hal can’t take it anymore, and he leaves abruptly. Now, he’s not returning calls, and their daughter Katherine—who knows nothing about the hauntings—arrives, intent on looking for her missing father. To make things worse, September has just begun, and with every attempt Margaret and Katherine make at finding Hal, the hauntings grow more harrowing, because there are some secrets the house needs to keep.


The September House is a haunted house tale. There’s no fannying about with unexplained ghostly goings in because the book lets you know straight away by describing that the walls drips blood and there are various hauntings happening.

As the book progresses we learn that Margaret and Hal, weary of continuously renting houses, manage to find their dream home to raise their small compact family unit in. However, there’s one thing that the real estate agent forgot to tell them – the house is haunted. Every September, the house becomes a phantasmagoria of ghostly goings on.

At first, Margaret’s husband explains the haunting as some kind of natural phenomena, leaks from a rusty pipe and things like that. However, as the years progress it becomes harder to deny that the paranormal events have a natural explanation. The effects of the haunting have an effect on the family. Hal leaves the family home and Margaret becomes ever more secretive, even to the point of dissuading her daughter Katherine from visiting in the month of September. However, when Katherine becomes concerned at the events surrounding her father’s disappearance, she hops in a plane, causing Margaret to deal with the reality of the situation.

The September House takes the haunted house trope and brings a different perspective, mixing family drama and a story about addiction and other topics. The book delves into some quite dark territory as it explores the background to the difficulties experienced by the family.

Initially, it is difficult to determine if the hauntings are based on truth, and Orlando plays with the ambiguity of the situation, especially in the way that the main character deals with the hauntings. However, as the book moves along, we discover the real reason for the hauntings and the effect that they have had on the family.

The book is told in a first-person perspective, and we get the story told through Margarets eyes, both in the present and from the recollections from past events.

There are plenty of descriptions of the ghosts that haunt the house and these can be pretty ghastly, and at times they can be quite humorous in their representation, especially the housekeeper who mysteriously supplies endless cups of tea, even in the direst of situations.

Overall, The September House is a good book that, whilst the story does sag a little in the middle of the book, it is quite an original take on the haunted house trope.


Popular Posts