Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Devil in the Corner

Penniless, and escaping the horrors of life as a governess to brutal households, Maud seeks refuge with the cousin-by-marriage she never knew. But Juliana quashes Maud's emerging friendships with the staff and locals - especially John, the artist commissioned to restore the sinister Doom in the local church. John, however, is smitten with Maud and makes every effort to woo her.

Maud, isolated and thwarted at every turn, continues to take the laudanum which was her only solace in London. Soon she becomes dependent on the drug - so is this the cause of her fresh anxieties? Or is someone - or something - plotting her demise?

Is the devil in the corner of the Doom a reality, or a figment of her imagination?
from goodreads.com

Beth says 3 Stars...
The cover makes this book seem so atmospheric and I felt that the gothic mystery would hit the spot.  Elliott did a wonderful job of constructing the proper ambiance and backdrop for the story.  The creepy manor with the small village nearby was a perfect setting to welcome the penniless former governess with dark secrets.  I had a huge issue with the pacing of the novel.  It seemed to drag on and on, with no progress made.  For a fair bit of the middle I wasn't entirely sure what the mystery I was supposed to be interested in even was, despite feeling like something should have been there.  The ending moved super quickly and packed more twists and turns into 50 pages than the previous 200.  Had the book been more evenly paced or given some sort of amazing twist I would have enjoyed it more.

The odd courtship between Maud and John didn't fascinate me or propel the story enough.  It seemed like Elliott was trying to make it a central focus, but without really investing in action or forward momentum.  John isn't a particularly well developed character; all we really learn about him is that he's a painter with feelings for Maud.  Any other depths are simply missing with him.  Maud was better, although I wish we could have learned more about her past.  Any information comes in half-remembered bits and pieces, but added so much to her character.  It made her actions more reasonable and generally made her a more sympathetic heroine.

If you're super into gothic type novels then this might be worth your while.  There were parts of the book that I really enjoyed, but the lack of plot for the length really brought it down in my opinion.  However, the end wrapped things up nicely and finally gave me the development I was looking for.
Book from Publisher


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