Newest Review: ... of their customs and rituals, some of which he finds a little odd and has never came across before. He also finds himself attracted to Ev... more
Keep telling yourself it's only fiction...
Blood Harvest - S.J. Bolton
Member Name: jeffjen
Blood Harvest - S.J. Bolton
Advantages: Well written, good characters and a great read.
The Fletcher family have just moved to the quiet village of Heptonclough on the Pennine moors after building a new house there next to the church.
At first, the children love their new home and Tom aged 10 and his younger brother Joe aged 6 like exploring and playing in the old graveyard next to their house, but that changes when they begin to hear a voice in the graveyard and glimpse a young girl with long hair and a strange-looking face and hands. Tom thinks he has seen a ghost, but then the girl seems to appear in his bedroom as well as outside and Tom becomes scared. It soon feels to Tom that the young girl is always watching them and calling out to them and he is sure he hears her calling the name of his younger sister, 2 year old Millie.
Meanwhile Harry is the new vicar at the church and has the job of re-opening it and welcoming worshippers after it has been unused for some years. He is a young 'modern' vicar and sets about building relationships with the villagers and in particular the Renshaw family who seem to own and control much of what goes on in the village.
Harry is introduced to a few of their customs and rituals, some of which he finds a little odd and has never came across before. He also finds himself attracted to Evi, a psychiatrist who is treating one of the villagers, a woman named Gillian, who is haunted by the disappearance of her little girl two years previously after a fire burned down their home. Even though she has proof her daughter tragically died in the fire, Gillian remains convinced her daughter survived and spends hours in torment walking the moors searching for her little girl.
As Harry begins to think his presence isn't as welcome as he hoped, he then witnesses some strange events such as blood in the communion wine and hears voices in the church. Maybe it's not just young Tom who is thinking there's something sinister about the village of Heptonclough.
Blood Harvest is packed full of eerie suspense throughout and its creepy, atmospheric setting adds an extra chill to the storyline, which had me gripped from start to finish.
Whilst I did think from the first few pages that this would be a good read, I did however, think it would possibly be predictable. My first thoughts were that this was to be a tale of a woman being haunted by her dead daughter, with some eccentric, weird characters adding a certain menace to the strange events and rituals that take place in the village. And whilst my thoughts were not wrong, I quickly found there was a lot more to the story than I first thought and it proved to be quite a disturbing read and most certainly not predictable.
The author introduces a set of characters ranging from the normal and likeable to the downright weird and menacing and each one is wonderfully described and developed. The story begins in September and the chapters are dated from then through to December, taking in some of the strange harvest rituals, as well as the making of creepy-looking bone men which are then placed around the church and graveyard, before being burned at a bonfire to honour 'The Day of the Dead'.
The short chapters add to the suspense-building in a village where nothing is as it seems and in my opinion Blood Harvest is a story which has been well thought out by the author who has a clever way of weaving the story around its gothic setting and ensuring the reader feels suitably chilled whilst reading. The author also has the admirable ability to make you feel as if you are there in the story with the characters, witnessing the events unfold. Indeed when Harry was looking over his shoulder after hearing voices in the church, I felt as if I was there with him! The same goes for when he is exploring the crypt beneath the church and I found it was becoming increasingly difficult to put this book down.
The story never seemed unbelievable although I did wonder how everything was going to be explained in the end and wondered at one point if it was going to become far-fetched. I should not have worried however, as the author introduced something which I had not expected and yet left me wondering why I had not seen it coming?
I have never read anything by S.J. Bolton prior to reading Blood Harvest and this experience has left me keen to read more of her novels. The way she builds up the suspense and sets up this chilling tale kept me intrigued throughout.
On the inside cover is a photograph of the author and above this it states 'keep telling yourself it's only fiction...' and I truly feel this sums up her writing style perfectly in this book, as I found it an eerie, gripping read which will live on in your mind for some time after you have turned the final page.
Summary: A creepy, chilling page-turner.