(Cover picture courtesy of Bewitching Book Tours.)
Those in line to the Malenfer estate are succumbing to terrible ends – is a supernatural legacy at work, or something entirely more human?
Young Irish mercenary Dermot Ward retreats to Paris at the close of World War I where he drinks to forget his experiences, especially the death of his comrade, Arthur Malenfer. But Arthur has not forgotten Dermot. Dead but not departed, Arthur has unfinished business and needs the help of the living.
Upon his arrival at Malenfer Manor, Dermot finds himself embroiled in a mystery of murder, succession, and ambition. Dermot falls in love with the youngest Malenfer, the beautiful fey Simonne, but in his way are Simonne’s mismatched fiancé, her own connections to the spirit world, Dermot’s guilt over the circumstances of Arthur’s death… and the curse.
[Full disclosure: I received an invitation to read this book through NetGalley from the publisher and accepted the free eARC in exchange for an honest review.]
There are so many things to love about The Curse of Malenfer Manor but the main thing I loved was the writing itself. Iain McChesney has such an authentic style that I truly felt like I was reading a novel from that time period. There are no noticeable anachronisms and I suppose you could call the vocabulary ‘advanced’, but that all comes together to create that authentic, post-war atmosphere. This writing style especially stands out when we actually get to Malenfer manor, a manor that seems stuck in the days of lords and tenants. It creates an eerie atmosphere that completely suits the subject matter of the novel.
My second favourite thing was the characters. How could I not fall in love with Dermot? He carries his guilt over Arthur’s death with him, has a hard time accepting that Arthur came back to him as a ghost, falls in love with the beautiful Simonne and all the while is trying to discover the mystery behind the Malenfer curse. He has a lot of internal conflict to go along with the external conflict and that’s what made him such a memorable character for me. Arthur himself was quite the character as well and it’s a testament to Iain McChesney’s writing ability that although he was such a great character, he never outshone Dermot, the main character.
The plot starts out slowly enough, but when Arthur’s ghost shows up and we learn of his backstory with Dermot things really start to get interesting. And when the two friends arrive at Malenfer manor, it took all my will power to put my Kindle down and go to sleep. The Curse of Malenfer Manor is something you’ll want to read in one sitting in one sitting, believe me. The plot keeps twisting and turning and by the end you’re not sure if the curse really exists or if it’s something more man-made. Iain McChesney is truly a master of suspense.
Even if you don’t like traditional mystery stories, I’d have to recommend The Curse of Malenfer Manor. If you do like historical fiction, romance and/or supernatural elements in your novels, you should read this book. Give it a try; you won’t regret it.
I give this book 5/5 stars.