Reviewed by: N.N. Light’s Book Heaven https://bit.ly/2Jh43EO
There has possibly never been another book like this one. The author crafts a story in duality with the strident suffragist Eva – who seems to be at least sixty years ahead of her time, and with Rafe – the deranged yet calm when not fulminating murderer of ‘sinful’ women. The book carries you through two tales that only begin to intersect halfway along. The relationship between Eva and Rafe is one of the most complex ever created by an author. You have a woman who has spent her life fighting for the right to be considered an equal and a man who has spent his life thinking all women are scheming and evil.
The twist is when Eva, knowing only that there is something seriously wrong with Rafe, but finds comfort in his accepting her forthright opinions. Rafe detests all women but comes to find Eva has a way about her that doesn’t remind him of any other woman he has met and that enthralls him.
One might think the central point of this book is a philosophical analysis of women’s rights in mid 19th century America. The premise seems to be a woman who demands an equal place and voice in society is so alien to society that only a mentally deranged murderer sees value in her.
This book seeps into your soul. I found myself dreaming about this book as I read it. The reader will also find that this story is all encompassing that the length of time spent reading will seem like an endless journey.
There is so much in this book that it has the capability of appealing to almost everyone. I recommend it to any fans of gothic horror like Poe wrote and anyone who enjoys deep character exploration rarely seen in 21st century fiction.
My Rating: 5 stars
4 stars from the International review of Books
A line in the book that stood out to the reviewer: “…but even within that oblivion had stirred something dark and malevolent.”
“Owl Manor is a wonderful example of Regency style Gothic horror, heavy on the tropes of the genre, but still telling a taut and masterful story. The heroine is a mix of a modern feminist in thought, trapped in an age where women are commodities, and a naive young woman that so often features in these gothic novels. It sounds jarring but provides modern readers a reason to root for our young Eva as she pits herself against Owl Manor and the secrets within. There are all the right ingredients for a gothic novel – a large sweeping manor house, the spirits of murdered young women, a dark and foreboding man, and our heroine, plunged into the middle of all this in a mix of fate and poor life choices; which lead to some comical moments when read with a modern viewpoint, but make perfect sense within the body of the novel. The book has some stand out moments – the toxic and yet seemingly irresistible draw of Owl Manor and its owner is skillfully written, and the descriptions and comportment of the household are true to the era. The romance, which is a tense slow burn, really adds to the book, as we know it is a bad idea, and yet, the participants cannot help themselves, and like any good tragedy, we the readers must buckle down to observe the fallout. I sat and read it in one sitting, enjoying the spooky ambiance and delighting in reading all my favorite Regency motifs in one place.”
Wish I could give this book 10 stars…
WOW a page turner that is well written and just wow. The characters are believable and I found myself caring for them. I felt I had been transported back in time. Owl Manor is a must read! I cannot wait for book 2 but no worries book 1 can be read as a stand alone. Wish I could give it 10 stars.
Anna Szabó 5 stars
“I love gothic horror novels so Owl Manor by Zita Harrison was a must read for me.
The story is set in the 1850s and 60s when option for women were few, get married, raise children, keep house. That’s about it. Eva wants more, she is more than disappointed with how her life turned out to be. She is married with a child. And to top that her husband moves the family to a different city. After a misfortune with her husband, Eva has to agree to work at Owl Manor. As she starts working there she starts to have visions about a woman and see owls. The descriptions about those instances are very vivid and creepy. So is the whole setting. I loved every word of them. Excellent storytelling. I had to keep reading even of it meant that I stay up way past my bedtime.”
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book! Highly recommended!
“I thoroughly enjoyed Owl Manor. I read books across a variety of genres, but not typically Gothic romance. After reading this book, I will definitely add Gothic romance to my reading list, as well as other novels by this author. I was attracted to this book by the beautiful cover and the suggestions of dark suspense of the woman protagonist living in the 1800’s.
The author does a great job of developing the main characters as the book builds to a climax, interweaving interesting details and dropping hints of the darkness to come, without revealing enough that you can predict the unraveling events. It contains a mixture of moody suspense, believable dread, and indications of supernatural intervention.
I enjoy novels that leave a bit to the imagination at the conclusion, instead of wrapping everything up into a neat, homogenized package. I like how Owl Manor does this, leaving me to imagine many possibilities and wondering what is to come in the next installation in the series. I eagerly await the next book!”
4.0 out of 5 stars Eerie Gothic Story!
“This is a wonderful gothic horror novel. The writing is beautifully done and takes you back to another time, where you feel you are living in another world and witnessing the events that take place within this unusual story.
The story follows high spirited and beautiful Eva who was raised by her well off aunt and uncle who also have daughters, yet Eva was loved as one of their own. Eva marries very young and has a child, but she is dissatisfied at the way her life has turned out.
The other main character is Rafe Bradstone who had an unfortunate and abusive childhood and has many scars and wounds that still fester with the cruelty of his upbringing.
Owl Manor will appear with an air of grandeur and foreboding in it’s majestic yet dark beauty and many, many stone owls adorn this mansion inside and outside. You must read this book yourself, to find out the why the owls have become the name of Owl Manor.
I was mesmerized by the storytelling and beautiful writing that Zita Harrison has created in this book. I haven’t read a gothic novel in many years and this book captured all the eerie and dark emotions with slow building suspense that was exceptionally gratifying.
I can’t say enough good things about this book. This is a must read if anyone is interested in gothic books or just a terrific dark story that is so well-written.
I highly recommend this book and given a rating of 4 1/2 Dark 🌟🌟🌟🌟✴ Stars!!”
Bonnie Gallup 5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant writing. Great story. Riveting with a touch of the supernatural.
“In many books, I can see where the plot line is heading and guess the ending…not so with Owl Manor-The Dawning. I didn’t see it coming! To say more I’d have to label my comments as “spoiler alerts” and I really recommend experiencing this book for yourself!!
Zita has done an excellent job of weaving together her characters’ stories. She explores the complex layers of her characters so you understand their motives even if you can’t condone their actions. The book is fast-paced with short chapters so you find yourself not wanting to put it down. Zita knows how to hook your interest and reel you in! I’m a fan who is now eagerly awaiting the second book of the trilogy.”
Linda Dunbar 5.0 out of 5 stars Another great tale from a Zita Harrison
“A page turner that I couldn’t put down once I started reading! The characters are believable and underscore the complexity of life and human nature. Owl Manor is a haunting tale which is both terrifying and thrilling—perfect timing as Halloween is right around the corner! Zita is a talented author and you won’t be disappointed by this book.”