The Wayward Girls by Amanda Mason ~ When You Call, They Will Answer #Paranormal #NetGalley #TuesdayBookBlog

Author: Amanda Mason

Published: September 2019 by Zaffre

Category: Dual Timeline, Paranormal, Drama, Book Review

THEN

1976. Loo and her sister Bee live in a run-down cottage in the middle of nowhere, with their artistic parents and wild siblings. Their mother, Cathy, had hoped to escape to a simpler life; instead the family find themselves isolated and shunned by their neighbours. At the height of the stifling summer, unexplained noises and occurrences in the house begin to disturb the family, until they intrude on every waking moment . . .

NOW

Loo, now Lucy, is called back to her childhood home. A group of strangers are looking to discover the truth about the house and the people who lived there. But is Lucy ready to confront what really happened all those years ago?

 

Told in a dual timeline with the chapter headings ‘Then’ and ‘Now’, the story revolves round a remote, ramshackle farmhouse. In the present a small research team of three are hoping to discover what caused the strange happenings at Iron Sike Farm several decades ago when Cathy Corvino and her five children lived there. Using a book written at the time by her late father as a reference, one member of the team has emailed Cathy, wanting her to join them and recount her recollections of the time she lived at the farm. Cathy is in the early stages of dementia, living in a residential home, and her daughter Lucy (formerly Loo) doesn’t want her mother troubled. She agrees, against her better judgement, to help the team instead. 

When Cathy and her husband Joe moved into Iron Sike Farm all those years ago it was to lead a healthier and simpler life, but it proved much more difficult than they’d imagined. Joe, feeling overwhelmed, quickly made his painting an excuse to be away from the farmhouse, so everything fell to Cathy and the tension soon mounted. All the paranormal activity seemed to centre around Loo and her elder sister, Bee. They were the main focus of the investigation, the other three children were in evidence but not a great part of the story.

The haunting began quietly once the Corvino family had settled into their new home; the girls heard it first, the knocking inside the walls.

The chapters are from several different—past and present—perspectives, sometimes confusing and proving a little difficult to keep track of all the characters. It becomes obvious a tragedy had occurred but is only revealed as Lucy confronts the past. As children, Lucy and Bee felt isolated. They were homeschooled so didn’t meet any other children. Boredom, frustration and mischief was magnified to a degree that it’s unclear what is actually happening at the farm, who or what was causing poltergeist activity. The arrival of the paranormal investigators gave the girls something to focus on but also caused friction between them. 

The middle of the book had too much exposition for me and could have been shorter and tighter, keeping up the momentum. The story wasn’t particularly scary, more mysterious, and creepy in parts, raising questions that I wanted addressed. 

The beginning and ending thirds of the story are good, atmospheric, with tense moments and secrets, and also the unsettling relationship between Loo and Bee, who was the dominant personality, at the heart. The family dynamics are well observed and the past and present threads merge smoothly. 

I chose to read and review The Wayward Girls based on an advance reader copy via NetGalley

Book links ~ Amazon UK | Amazon US 

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