‘Strange Star’ is a masterpiece in storytelling from Emma Carroll. Deliciously dark and wonderfully atmospheric it will send shivers down your spine and chill you to your bones. It is the year of 1816, a superstitious time when the advent of a strange sort of star in the sky makes folk uneasy and warns of terrible fortune according to the old lore. But who could possibly forsee the danger and tragedy that lies ahead for one family under the watchful eye of the comet.
All is revealed on a stormy summer night in Lake Geneva, Switzerland. Lord Byron has gathered his friends round the fire, challenging them to tell a ghost story that will terrify the assembled company. Outside the thunder is crashing accentuating the fear and terror in the room, this is compounded by a ghostly figure suddenly appearing at the window. Yet real life is about to take a chilling turn- more chilling than any tale when there is a frantic thudding at the front door revealing a stranger. This girl is covered in the most unusual scars and has travelled a long way to tell her story and we have no choice but to listen to the horror that is about to unfold.
This book delighted and terrified me in equal measures – although I must add a disclaimer that I am easily scared by spooky tales. Emma’s writing is brilliantly evocative conjuring up this mysterious gothic adventure which will hold you within its icy grip until you turn the very last page. Filled with rich, vivid descriptions capturing all the details of this period, you are left in no doubt that you have been transported back to this very point in time. I suspect that Emma Carroll may in fact have some kind of time travelling device because every story she tells feels so authentic you feel she must have been there to witness it happening.
Without a doubt ‘Strange Star’ is one of my favourite books of the year, it is a truly stunning read. I treasured all the time I spent poring over the pages compelled to keep reading but apprehensive of what would happen next. It is mildly terrifying but in the right sort of way, it is more the fear of the unknown and the gothic atmosphere that creates the dramatic tension rather than gruesome details. I think the best place to read this story is late at night, under a blanket with only a torch to light the way – unless like me you’re of a sensitive nature. Gripping and gorgeous, this book is a total triumph which I absolutely loved.
‘Strange Star’ is released on the 7th July and you can pre-order a copy here.
Emma is the critically-acclaimed author of ‘Frost Hollow Hall’, ‘The Girl Who Walked On Air’, ‘In Darkling Wood’ and ‘The Snow Sister’. You can read my review of ‘In Darkling Wood’ here.
You can find out more about Emma by visiting her website or
follow her on Twitter @emmac2603
Thank you to Emma Carroll, Hannah Love and Faber & Faber for sending me a copy of this book.