The Haunting of Ashburn House by Darcy Coates


I’ll admit it, horror is not often my genre. In the last year I’ve read three horror/thriller books including this one. Just three. Why? I like to sleep at night. Something about this book pulled at me, though. I ran across it while browsing Goodreads a few months ago and it kept popping up in the back of my mind. In the last couple of weeks I’ve tried to pick up a dozen other books and just couldn’t get into them. My mind was begging to read this one. I finally gave in and I must say that this book is different from most of the others I have read of the same genre.

The story begins with Adrienne and her fluffy, slightly overweight cat Wolfgang. An elderly relative of Adrienne’s had recently passed away and she has been left her great-aunt Edith’s property including her home, Ashburn House. Addy doesn’t remember having a great aunt or any relatives at all, for that matter. Sadly though, she is down on her luck and being left a furnished, paid off house is a windfall. Using the last of her cash, she takes a cab to the house she is determined to make into a home without ever seeing it or the town that it is a part of. Desperation and potential homelessness can make you do some silly things.

The house is everything you’d expect out of a setting for a horror story. Set back into the woods, old, spotty electricity, and no phone line.

Alright folks, moment of confession here. I’m honestly having trouble writing this. My desk is against a wall with a stairwell behind me and I keep spinning my chair around expecting something creepy and horrible to be behind me or some nightmare creature to be hanging down from the skylight. I have given myself such a bad case of the willies. It’s terrible. I’m such a wuss. Moving on…

As Addy and Wolf settle into the old Ashburn house they start to notice some strange things about the place. First, it has absolutely no mirrors anywhere on the property. Where a mirror would normally hang there are cryptic messages carved into the walls warning against them. She finds further messages carved into the dining table and door to the attic.


Wanting to find out more about the mysterious Edith and the people that once lived in the house, Addy discretely asks questions to the people in town. An older fellow, whose father was once the local police chief, tells Addy the story of Edith and her family. In the early 1900s young Edith and her mother, father, aunt, and uncle all resided at Ashburn. They were a very well off family and often went into town. After the locals hadn’t seen or heard from the family in a few days some of them went out to the house to investigate. There they found a blood bath. The family, save Edith, had been horrifically slaughtered. According to the tale, their blood painted the walls and pieces of them were scattered throughout the house. Little Edith was found as the lone survivor, locked away from the mess but was cleared of the crime being only eight and physically unable to cause the carnage.

The story that follows this revelation to Addy is one of nightmares. She slowly begins to discover the reason for the cryptic messages carved around her new home as well as locating an old grave on the property. Adrienne and the fluffy Wolfgang are isolated in the woods and their horrors are just beginning.

As much as this story scared me I still very much enjoyed it. The pacing was well managed and terrible little details were dropped at just the right moment. I physically gasped a few times and nearly hurled the book across the room once or twice when a passage particularly startled me. If you at all enjoy a good horror novel I would definitely recommend this one. Also, for those of you wondering, the cat lives. I doubt I could have said anything kind about the book if he hadn’t. Never kill the cat!


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