Don’t play the game.
In 1893, Evelyn and Claire leave their home in a Yorkshire town for life in a rural retreat on their beloved moors. But when a strange toy garden mysteriously appears, a chain of increasingly terrifying events is unleashed. Neighbour Matthew Dixon befriends Evelyn, but seems to have more than one secret to hide. Then the horror really begins. The Garden of Bewitchment is all too real and something is threatening the lives and sanity of the women. Evelyn no longer knows who – or what – to believe. And time is running out.
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Horror After Dark Review
THE GARDEN OF BEWITCHMENT, by Catherine Cavendish, is her latest novel released by Flame Tree Publishing. One thing I’ve come to expect from this author is incredible atmosphere throughout her entire story. This one is no exception to that! The Gothic feel set in almost immediately, and never let up.
We begin with twins, Evelyn and Claire, unmarried wealthy women, alone now since the death of their parents. In an attempt to hide from society–and the possibility of men after them only for their money–Evelyn insists they move to a more remote location.
“. . . maybe she hadn’t chosen Heather Cottage at all. Maybe it had chosen her.”
Of course, this misty area is seeped in Gothic imagery and just enough isolation to let you feel as though anything is possible here. This is a land where the “unnatural” belongs.
“. . . A few days ago, she wouldn’t have given the supernatural a second thought . . . “
The characters of Evelyn and Claire have the most dynamics between them. Other chance encounters–one with a new neighbor–show that everything here seems “destined” to unfold, and that there are no mere coincidences. After the man, Matthew, describes his encounter many years before with a game called “The Garden of Bewitchment”, Evelyn’s sister finds a game by the same name in her new room.
A game that seemingly “plays” you, and is much more than an innocuous toy.
“. . . I have seen enough in my life to make me believe there are some things best left alone and some things we will never explain . . .”
I loved the characters of Evelyn and Claire–even Matthew, to an extent. The only complaint I had during the first two-thirds or so of the book was that there were several “repetitive” scenes–basically same people, location, “slightly” different conversation.
“. . . nothing was as it seemed in this place . . . “
Additionally, there were some characters later introduced that I just didn’t understand the need for. One, in particular, really confused me towards the end–in an otherwise fantastic idea, this one part intruded on what could have been a “perfect” ending, in my mind.
“This is real life . . . It’s much more sinister . . . “
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and the writing style. The setting was perfect and gave my imagination plenty to speculate on, making it easy to fall into the events unfolding.
“. . . Don’t you feel as if you’re losing touch with reality in some way? . . . “
The idea behind the GARDEN OF BEWITCHMENT was sinister and led me to believe the actions happening here. My only real complaints were the “excess scenes” and one of the characters at the end that felt unnecessary and simply . . . confusing . . . as I didn’t see where he fit in, or the reason for him at all. Aside from that, a riveting book that kept me thinking the entire read.
About The Author
About Catherine Cavendish
Hello, my name’s Catherine Cavendish and I write horror fiction – frequently with ghostly, supernatural, Gothic and haunted house themes.
My latest novella – THE DARKEST VEIL – is out now from Crossroad Press. In case you were thinking of messing with an ouija board – don’t. Especially if you’re not prepared to follow the rules.
Also out now – from Flame Tree Press – THE HAUNTING OF HENDERSON CLOSE. Ghostly horror set in Edinburgh’s Old Town.
Available now from Kensington-Lyrical – the NEMESIS OF THE GODS trilogy: WRATH OF THE ANCIENTS, WAKING THE ANCIENTS and DAMNED BY THE ANCIENTS – set in Egypt and Vienna and featuring the sinister Dr. Emeryk Quintillus whose obsession has stayed with him long past the grave.
My novellas COLD REVENGE, MISS ABIGAIL’S ROOM, THE DEMONS OF CAMBIAN STREET, DARK AVENGING ANGEL, LINDEN MANOR, THE DEVIL INSIDE HER and THE SECOND WIFE have now been released in new editions by Crossroad Press.
My novels THE DEVIL’S SERENADE and SAVING GRACE DEVINE have also been released in new editions by Crossroad Press, as has my novel of the Lancashire Witches – THE PENDLE CURSE.
I live with a long-suffering husband and a delightful black cat who has never forgotten that her species used to be worshipped in ancient Egypt. She sees no reason why that practice should not continue. Who am I to argue?
When not slaving over a hot computer, I enjoy wandering around Neolithic stone circles and visiting old haunted houses.