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All the escapism of a fantasy novel, but with believable characters in an everyday setting!
The Magic Cottage - James Herbert
Member Name: debbie41176
The Magic Cottage - James Herbert
Advantages: A story that will draw you in and hold your attention from start to finish.
Disadvantages: If you prefer to read 'true to life' novels, you may find it hard to accept the fantasy element here
WHY I CHOSE THIS BOOK
My partner's mum often recommends books for me to read, and this was one of the ones on an ever growing pile from her! I love fantasy / supernatural / thriller type books and don't often read 'chic lit' type books. I was assured that James Herbert's 'The Magic Cottage' would suit me down to a tee! I'm so glad I read this. I've now starting working my way through all his other novels too!
PRICE / AVAILABILITY / PRODUCT DESCRIPTION
"A cottage was found in the heart of the forest. It was charming maybe, a little run-down, but so peaceful - a magical haven for creativity and love. But the cottage had an alternative side - the bad magic. What happened there was horrendous beyond belief. " - AMAZON.CO.UK
While I borrowed this book, I have since managed to pick up a few James Herbert books from charity shops. Charity shops, jumble sales and boot sales are all great places to buy second hand books, but if not there is always Amazon (where this one is available new from £1.35 or used from 1p!).
The story begins with a young couple, Midge (an artist / illustrator of children's books) and Mike (a musician / song writer). Fed up with life in London, Midge encourages Mike into the idea of living in the country. Eventually they find a little cottage for sale. The cottage of an eldery widow who had recently passed away.
It is in a remote location, a reasonable drive away from the main village, surrounded by woodland and wildlife. The sale of the cottage had some unusual conditions tied to it. The solicitor needed to meet the couple first to decide whether they would be 'suitable' residents, as per the requirements of the late owner's Will.
A few odd things start to happen soon after they move in, but nothing too alarming. They also meet a few of the village residents, as well as a group of young people who live in a big manor house the other side of the woods. These people belong to a group called the synergists, and there is speculation around whether this 'group' is a religion, way of life, or even a cult.
Even though the beginning was very 'normal' (in the sense of regular people, buying a cottage, moving from the city to the countryside), I was still drawn in straight away. This could be put down to James Herbert's excellent style of writing. He clearly hasn't been named Britain's Number 1 Writer of Chiller Fiction for no reason!
Straight away, the lead characters come across as interesting, likeable people a reader can relate to. All too often, I've given up with a book early on because I don't like the characters!
Midge, the dreamer, and Mike, the voice of reason, are portrayed very realistically in their build up to buying the cottage and moving there. The leading chapters seem all too real and 'every day', giving the reader a false sense of security that nothing bad, and certainly nothing supernatural could happen here!
The mysterious goings on and little hints here and there, do start shining through early. This guarentees to keep the reader turning the pages! I read this a lot of the train to work and didn't want to stop reading when I got to my stop!
The twists and turns don't seem overly dramatic, which is quite clever really. It's all subtle enough to make you think "well maybe this really could happen in real life?". The character's reactions are spot on too.
There were no parts in this novel that made me lose my attention, no chapters that I wanted to skim through so I could get to the end quicker. I enjoyed this book from start to finish, even the ending which was a little too far fetched for me!
So yes, the beginning is the perfect lead up to the main story, where the unusual goings on start to happen. However, as much as I enjoyed the ending, I would have liked a little more of a follow up after.
The big climax at the end was described in amazingly vivid detail. All the description and the portrayal of the characters worked together to create a clear image in your mind and you could picture exactly what was taking place. Not entirely scary as such, since I always find the more suble goings on scariest, but still very exciting and magical! On the whole I think this fantastically detailed climax may have gone on for a few more pages than necessary, where instead, it could have drawn to a close. In which case, maybe some more detail could be added after the climax. Instead, the story was quickly wrapped up and closed.
I can't fault this book, and if you enjoy supernatural thriller type reads I think you'll definitely enjoy The Magic Cottage, or any of James Herbert's novels!
I thought about knocking a star off for the quick ending, but actually, I think this just goes to show how enjoyable the story really was! I simply didn't want it to end, and was cross that it did!
A 5 out of 5 rating for a book that held my attention from start to finish!
Summary: An outstanding supernatural thriller. Highly recommended!