TITLE: It Will Just Be Us
AUTHOR: Jo Kaplan
PUBLISHED: 11th August 2020
I received an eARC copy of this title from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. My thanks goes to NetGalley and the publisher Crooked Lane Books for the opportunity to review this book.
Welcome to Wakefield Manor, a haunted mansion built on the edge of a swamp. Its current residents are Sam Wakefield and her mother Agnes, direct descendants of ‘mad Catherine’, the driving force behind the construction of the mansion. The house is tainted, it’s full of ghosts, and isn’t somewhere where you would want to bring children. But soon there will be a child here because Sam’s heavily pregnant sister Elizabeth has just returned to the family home following a fight with her husband. Is it a coincidence that her arrival brings a new and ominous ghost to the house? A boy with no face, who is linked to the one locked room in the mansion. Can Sam solve the mysteries of the house and save them all, and will she be able to achieve it before her sister goes into labour?
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Described as belonging to the Gothic horror genre I would say that is a fair evaluation. It’s no Jane Eyre admittedly but that is in a class all of its own afterall! With that said, there are elements that did remind me of the Bronte classic, and that was definitely a positive for me when reading this because Jane Eyre is one of my favourites!
So what did I like?
This book has got all the markings of a classic horror story: ghosts, a creepy house, social outcasts and suspicious characters, and yet it doesn’t feel recycled, rather it’s the kind of book that if you are a fan of the genre then you can feel confident quickly that this will be worth reading. There are fresh elements which definitely help; special mention to the ghosts playing out memories from the past rather than being there in real time, I found that really unique! I also found it so interesting that Sam could see these ‘ghost memories’ from more modern times as well, such as her own childhood. I often find myself wishing I could watch certain parts of my childhood, I think the majority of people would want to, and as much as she can’t pick out specific moments (unlike her mother), it’s certainly intriguing to be able to watch your past self.
I have to touch on the writing style as well because, wow…it’s incredible! Kaplan describes everything perfectly but particularly Wakefield Manor. It is a huge mansion that seems to be continuously sprouting new rooms, even Sam can find herself lost! The descriptions are so intricate that you really feel as though you are there in the house with them. There were moments where a character was lost within the maze of corridors and endless rooms and I felt myself feeling increasingly panicky as I read, as if I too was there and lost with them. It takes a lot to get this reaction from me because I’ve read a lot of books from this genre, so for me this is testament to Kaplan’s writing style and a definite plus point for the novel.
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The ending was brilliant! It was one of those endings that had been hinted at from early on, it was hiding in plain sight and yet I didn’t guess it. I actually said ‘wait, what?’ out loud when I read it which is really unusual for me. It’s so great to get a thrill when reading and this book certainly provides that. I’ll hold my hands up and admit that I’m not the strongest with figuring out twists, I tend to be that reader that thinks they have it all figured out and so I get lazy (or dare I say cocky?!) and ignore subsequent clues, resulting in a completely wrong evaluation. However, I find it hard to believe that most people would figure this one out, or at least figure it out with no doubt whatsoever. Nobody likes to read a book that is let down by its ending…It Will Just Be Us is not one of those books that’s for sure!
The only disappointment I have is that it was a little slow in pace in the middle. I feel as though there were parts where the story didn’t progress and I found myself forgetting what I had read because it wasn’t holding my attention. When I went back to reread I found that I needn’t have bothered because I hadn’t missed anything. It wasn’t enough to stop me reading but it did knock a star off of my overall rating.
Would I recommend this one? Yes absolutely! It’s touted as a horror/mystery/thriller but in my opinion it belongs mostly in the horror section, so I would say if you are a horror fan then you would definitely enjoy this one and should give it a go! I do think that it would appeal to fans of thrillers as well, so if that is you then it might be worth picking a copy up.
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I will absolutely check out more by this author.
MY RATING: 4/5
What are your thoughts? Do you think that you will read this one?
Thanks for reading, I hope that you enjoyed!