Review: Craven Manor by Darcy Coates

Daniel is desperate for a job. When someone slides a note under his door offering him the groundskeeper’s position at an old estate, it seems too good to be true.

Alarm bells start ringing when he arrives at Craven Manor. The mansion’s front door hangs open, and leaves and cobwebs coat the marble foyer. It’s clear no one has lived there in a long time.

But an envelope waits for him inside the doorway. It contains money, and promises more.

Daniel is desperate. Against his better judgement, he moves into the groundskeeper’s cottage behind the crypt. He’s determined to ignore the strange occurrences that plague the estate.

But when a candle flickers to life in the abandoned tower window, Daniel realises Craven Manor is hiding a terrible secret… one that threatens to bury him with it.

Craven Manor by Darcy Coates. Kindle edition, 260 pages, published by Black Owl Books, Dec 2017. Was a Goodreads Readers Choice Nominee for horror in 2018.

I like book clubs. Online, local, whatever… doesn’t matter. I enjoy finding new titles and authors to read and hearing what other people have to say about the book. I enjoy how the Goodreads groups normally have their own monthly book club type thing going on. So fun! One of my favorite Goodreads groups, Horror Aficionados, has two titles they read every month, plus one title they listen to. Each month they also have a book club where they invite two authors to join in the month long conversation while reading the authors newest book. With reading for my local book club, my own picks to read for the month, plus one audio book, I can normally only fit in one of the main books picked for Horror Aficionados, plus their monthly listen. As much as I would like to always join in on the author reads, sadly, I normally just do not have the time. Too many books, too little time. Sad face!

This month, my book for my local horror book club was a YA fantasy book that was 500 pages. I’m sure it was really good, but I could not get in to it at all and pitched it in the DNF pile early on. I have too many books to read to spin my wheels on books that just aren’t clicking with me. Then, the two main books voted on for this months HA group reads, ended up being two books I was super not interested in reading. Whenever I don’t join in on the main book reads, I will join one of the author reads.

For February this month, one of the authors they invited to hang out was the author Darcy Coates, while reading her Craven Manor. I had seen some of her book titles around but I had never actually read her before and didn’t know much about her. Turns out, Darcy is a big ghost & haunted house fan and a majority of her books are all about that. I was super excited because I love ghosts and haunted houses as well! 😀 As we read the book, we could post in the dedicated thread. You can read it >HERE< if you would like to. Not only could you discus the book, but also just ask the author questions about whatever.

Craven Manor drew me in right away. It did not take long at all to set up the plot or the characters. I was so curious about who sent Daniel the invite to work at the Manor, and who was this mysterious owner, Bran. When Daniel took the job, there were all these crazy rules that were so WTF and odd that I couldn’t wait to find out why those rules were there in the first place. The book had a great subtle creepy vibe to it that I loved. It creeped up on you. This book really hooked me early on and I pretty much flew through it, waiting to see just what the hell was going on. It was enjoyable from start to finish. I was extremely happy with the ending and I was pretty bummed when the book was over. I wasn’t ready to say good-bye to the world inside.

The characters of Craven Manor are what really draws you to this story. Daniel is such a kind person in a desperate situation, you really wanted to root for him to find success. You felt his desperation and fear of being homeless again. You really felt his struggles with his cousin Kyle. Normally a character that is super nice kind of makes you sick at how sweet they are, but with Daniel, it felt very natural and organic. He wasn’t a goody- goody, he was just a kind person with a good moral compass. Another great character from the story is the enigmatic owner of the manor, Bran. I will admit it… I absolutely fell in love with Bran! He is a mysterious guy with family issues. Is he good? Is he bad? You go back and forth about that through the whole book. I can’t say too much about him because I don’t want to give anything away. He was a very fun character. There is also the cousin Kyle. OMFG Kyle. What a jackass character. He was such a pain in the butt. I don’t know how Daniel put up with him for so long. The story is also filled with some ghosts, an old cat and some crows. It is hard to talk about those characters though, without giving too much away.

The author did a great job at giving us an atmospheric, creepy story. She had such nice, clear descriptions of everything that you felt like you were right there in Daniel’s shoes. I personally loved how the ghosts looked. A very classic ghost look. Craven Manor wasn’t an overly scary book, but it definitely made you glad you weren’t reading it at night with the lights off. I enjoyed the author’s style so much, I went and bought a few more of her books and I can’t wait to read them!

Craven Manor was a very nice ghost story. With a creepy atmosphere and a mysterious plot with characters you want to cheer for, it was hard not to love this story. The way the author described things, it was easy to immerse yourself in the story. I really enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend reading it!


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