Published by Black Owl Books on January 10, 2017
Genres: Dark Fiction, Fiction, Ghost, Haunted House, Horror, Mystery, Paranormal, Supernatural, Suspense, Thriller
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Tara and her brother Kyle are sent to stay with their estranged grandparents. May and Peter Folcroft seem warm and loving at first, and the house, hidden in the base of the mountains, is idyllic.
But strange things keep happening. Figures watch them through the fog. Objects move on their own. Tara begins to believe the unbelievable... that the house could be haunted.
When a storm cuts the phone line, May shifts from doting to obsessive. Tara and Kyle try to keep up the pretext of a happy family, but a forgotten journal and a locked room provide clues to the desperate lies and secrets entwined with the Folcrofts' legacy.
Something is horribly wrong with this family.
THE FOLCROFT GHOSTS, by Darcy Coates, was one of her novels in which I developed a strong attachment to the characters very early on in the tale. Two children, Kyle (11) and Tara (15), find themselves completely uprooted when they are taken to live with their mother’s parents–whom they’ve NEVER met–after a sudden car accident puts their mother in a coma.
“. . .a fantasy world was easier to cope with than their new reality.”
Grandma May and Grandpa Peter greeted them with so much affection, the two had to question why was it that their Mom never took them to visit. When they saw the large old home beautifully secluded in the woods, they couldn’t help feeling drawn to it, especially compared to the series of cramped apartments they’d always inhabited.
“. . . Family has always been important to us Folcrafts.”
Coates really has a way with characterization–especially when it comes to children. At just a quarter of the way through, I felt I had known Tara and Kyle for years. Tara was used to taking care of her brother, and much like the Folcrofts, had a strong love for her family. Kyle was the bookworm; outwardly timid, but with a mind that knew no boundaries.
“. . . what does it matter if I forget a story after a month as long as I enjoy it while I’m reading it?”
The dynamics of the personalities in this book were incredibly complex and spell-binding, I felt. This was especially impressive in regards to the children.
“. . . It’s like he doesn’t want to live in the real world anymore . . . “
With only a few chapters, Coates managed to convey more about the two kids’ feelings, upbringing, and loyalties than some writers pull off within an entire novel. When things start to . . . alter . . . the reactions shown are plausible here, even in what would be an implausible situation, otherwise.
“. . . If this is true, it’s really, really bad . . . “
The isolated, large home, is somehow made more “normal” by virtue of its position in the deep forest, outside of the passing of time that the rest of the village has kept up with. It’s so easy to believe that in a remote location, anything could be considered commonplace when it’s all you’ve known. Coates plays up the atmosphere very convincingly.
“Death is not a blessing . . . “
Overall, this was a novel that really took me by surprise with the overall direction it took–in a good way. I was so entranced by the emotional upheaval that the kids were going through, that certain other occurrences really hit forcefully, making me pause to take things in from different directions. As a voracious reader who is “seldom” very surprised by anything in a novel, this was quite a pleasant change. There were several twists that I had never even guessed at. I have to give Darcy Coates credit for taking on what could have been a common, run-of-the-mill story, and elevating it to something much more unique.
“. . . If fiction has taught me anything, nothing’s a coincidence.”