Mirth, Magic and Menace!
A cracking read for Halloween or whenever you want to reconnect with a little magic ……….
A couple in their late fifties planning to retire to the countryside discover what they believe to be their dream cottage. They return to finalise the details and to arrange to purchase the property, only to find all was not as they’d imagined. The property has completely changed, from being a rustic, rose covered pretty little cottage, to a tumbledown wreck of a building. Thinking it was just their imagination playing tricks on them they go ahead, despite their reservations when a number of strange and frightening experiences occur. A local witch is behind what is going on and she has plans for them within her coven.
Quirky and Original Modern Day Fairy Tale
Many of us dream of finding that ideal retirement home, often a charming cottage in the countryside, away from the stresses of modern life. Keith and Julie, the couple in this novel by Derek A Barrass, share this dream and are delighted when they find the perfect property in England’s green and pleasant land. Yet their ideas of rural bliss are anything but, as a series of strange events and mishaps start to befall them and their visiting family. They also begin to notice some bizarre and menacing goings on in and around their cottage and the village, not to mention some strange characters, not least their neighbour and local matriarch, Elfreda and her family……
Author Derek A Barrass weaves a quirky and original spellbinding tale, where magic collides with twenty first century ideas of reality. The reader, along with Keith and Julie and their visitors to the cottage, their son and daughter-in-law and their two grandsons, Tim and Luke, slowly become party to the strange happenings.
I loved the unpredictable nature of the tale – the author has a devilish mind and I particularly liked the way that the adults, Julie and Keith, for the most part remain clueless. It is the boys, Tim and Luke, who together with their new friends, Woodruff and Jill, from Elfreda’s household, who soon appreciate much of what is really going on. They do battle with Wellesley, Elfreda’s favourite, to counter his and Elfreda’s plans for Keith and Julie. There are some highly amusing scenes as the boys strive to keep Keith and Julie ignorant of what they know of the magic around them. The protagonist Wellesley has his own self-serving agenda as do others in the village. Indeed, all is not straightforward in this tale which contains mirth, magic and menace in equal measure.
I recommend this novel to those who, like me, suspect that the English countryside still has its secrets and believe that magic is still alive and kicking if we only open our eyes and look for it.