A Room In The Attic
A child who does not know her name…
In 1903 fishermen find a wrecked boat containing a woman, who has been badly beaten, and a young girl.
An ambulance is sent for, and the two survivors are taken to All Hallows, the imposing asylum, hidden deep on Dartmoor.
The woman remains in a coma, but the little girl, Harriet, awakens and is taken to an attic room, far away from the noise of the asylum, and is put in the care of Nurse Emma Everdeen.
Two motherless boys banished to boarding school…
In 1993, All Hallows is now a boarding school. Following his mother’s death and his father’s hasty remarriage,
Lewis Tyler is banished to Dartmoor, stripped of his fashionable clothes, shorn of his long hair, and left feeling more alone than ever.
There he meets Isak, another lost soul, and whilst refurbishment of the dormitories is taking place, the boys are marooned up in the attic, in an old wing of the school.
Cries and calls from the past that can no longer be ignored…
All Hallows is a building full of memories, whispers, cries from the past. As Lewis and Isak learn more about the fate of Harriet, and Nurse Emma’s desperate fight to keep the little girl safe, it soon becomes clear there are ghosts who are still restless.
Are they ghosts the boys hear at night in the room above, are they the unquiet souls from the asylum still caught between the walls?
And can Lewis and Isak bring peace to All Hallows before the past breaks them first…
And Nailsea People review is in...
I began reading this book with great expectations as Louise Douglas is one of my favourite authors.
And this gripping schoolboy yarn with its surreal turn-of-the-century melodrama didn’t disappoint.
Dickensian descriptions juxtaposition with contemporary conversations, it is a mysterious, gothic ghost story spanning time and settings.
There is the asylum on Dartmoor converted to an austere boarding school - a bleak house which is ‘home’ to some lost souls.
A needy little girl with memory loss and a misunderstood teenaged boy with big ears with 90 years separating their stories.
I sense not the friendships of Tom Brown’s schooldays but more Nicholas Nickleby with some Brontë influences and a tabloid exposé thrown in as the characters through the century are linked.
The creaking rocking chair, the feminist writer confined to a mad house by disapproving parents this is psychological whodunnit through the ages.
It is descriptive, especially of physical appearances and of the cold comfort surroundings, as it interweaves the past and the present which is in first person narrative.
And the ghostly guidance of a dead mother appears in italics.
But there are some warm, lasting friendships made.
As I neared the end of the 400-pages my anticipation was mounting, who would need rescuing, will goodness prevail, will it have a happy ending, the possibilities seem endless.
It was impossible to second guess where it was going as each alternating past and present chapter revealed in bite size portions another piece of the jigsaw.
It reminded me in parts of the French Lieutenant’s Woman - what was truth and what was just my imagination or rather that of the writer.
Thoroughly enjoyable couldn’t put it down.
What others say about the author
‘A brilliantly written, gripping, clever, compelling story, that I struggled to put down. The vivid descriptions, the evocative plot and the intrigue that Louise created, which had me constantly asking questions, made it a highly enjoyable, absolute treasure of a read’
Kim Nash on The Scarlet Dress
‘A tender, heart-breaking, page-turning read’
Rachel Hore on The House by the Sea
‘The perfect combination of page-turning thriller and deeply emotional family story. Superb’
Nicola Cornick on The House by the Sea
‘Kept me guessing until the last few pages and the explosive ending took my breath away'
CL Taylor, author of The Accident on Your Beautiful Lies
Lethal love & lust
This Nailsea friend pens her books under the name of Louise Douglas who I meet when she lived in Porlock Gardens, opposite Sandy Taylor another prolific local writer.
'Louise' describes her books as 'contemporary Gothic novels which are usually inspired by places close to where I live in the Mendips, close to Bristol in the UK, or by places I've visited, especially Italy and Sicily'.
She said: "The House by the Sea won the Jackie Collins Romantic Suspense Award in 2021."
"The Love of My Life, my first book, was longlisted for the Romantic Novel of the Year Award.
"My second book, Missing You, won the RNA Readers' Choice Award, and my third, The Secrets Between Us was a 2012 Richard and Judy Summer Read.
"The Room in the Attic due to be published in October 2021 and is a ghost story set in a Victorian asylum-turned-boarding school on Dartmoor."
Such a popular writer with a modern twist of Agatha Christie with a touch of spooky!
However, Louise's latest book is the best.
Called The House By The See it is an page-turning novel.
When I put it down I wrote to my friend: "Just finished your homo-friendly Hitchcock book.
"Really enjoyed Rebecca meets Jane Eyre and then PSYCHO all served with delicious slices of Sicilian pizza in a lush setting.
"However, first thing I would have done was kill mafioso-style the fucking mice in the piano, no mercy, and fumigated the palatial but crumbling villa.
"Really liked the way all the characters are drawn - believable yarn that would make great film."
Available on Amazon priced £8.99 in paperback.