Michelle Paver is probably better known to millions as the writer of the amazing Wolf Brother series. She’s also making a name for herself by writing ghost stories and gothic fiction. Wakenhyrst is a historical fiction in a gothic style.
We start the story with a series of letters between an author and Maud Stearne, the daughter of an artist convicted of murder. The story of his crime has always been speculated and never told. Maud, whose house the book gets it’s title from, is in dire need of money to restore the house.
The book is told through both the accounts of Maud and the diary entries of her father Edmund Stearne. Set mostly in the Edwardian period, the story is both compelling and full of suspense.
The book is extremely dark at times. The author manages to take you into Maud’s world and you experience through the prose, the dankness and smells of the fen land that Wakenhyrst is set. You feel the despair of Maud as she tries to fathom out what her father is up to. Maud isn’t perfect, not as pretty as others, yet she has a steel like resolve to protect others, especially her beloved fen.
Wakenhyrst is a brilliant read, full of suspense and heartbreaking moments. The way the author has used different ways to tell the story keeps you on the hook, just like the eels Edmund hates. You feel empathy for Maud as her father gets dragged every day into witchcraft and finally madness. Highly recommended.