I’ve long been a fan of Eloise Williams’s writing from the delightful, magical tale ‘Elen’s Island,’ to the irresistibly gothic, ‘Gaslight,’ she has a natural gift for storytelling creating tales that really capture your imagination. So I was intrigued to read her latest book, ‘Seaglass,’ which promised to be a chilling ghost story and it certainly delivers on this promise. It’s really unusual for a ghost story to have a contemporary setting, they tend to be featured in historical stories which is more reassuring for the reader, it puts the possibility of ghosts at an arm’s length away, making it less frightening. But more and more I am asked at school for the most scariest story I can recommend and I have to say, ‘Seaglass,’ fits the bill perfectly.
Lark and her family are troubled. Her Mum is ill, her sister has stopped speaking and she knows something is wrong but everybody ignores it, allowing her imagination to run riot, fearing the worst. Strangely they seek refuge from their troubles at a caravan park in the half-term holidays, a bleak place that seems to reflect their mood accurately. But Lark’s family is inextricably bound to this place and their presence soon stirs up the past, threatening to expose a long-buried family secret. With the appearance of mysterious girl in a green dress who is inexplicably drawn to her sister, Lark realises they’re in terrible danger. As the weather gets wilder and events become more stranger and disturbing, Lark must try to discover the truth in order to save her family.
Deliciously dark, ‘Seaglass,’ is not for the faint-hearted. I must confess that I am easily spooked and reading this at bedtime definitely gave me serious chills. Eloise has created once again the most intriguing characters, managing to deal with real life feelings and issues empathetically then sprinkling it with supernatural twists to create a genuinely scary ghost story. You can feel Lark’s emotions raging as she comes to term with the changes in herself, whilst trying to keep her family together, all the while convinced that she knows the terrible truth that her parents are hiding from her. By linking the appearance of the ghost to her family’s past it makes the story feel more believable, which in turn heightens the tension making it feel more dramatic. Eloise also explores the disturbing consequences of prejudice and how being different exposes you to people’s fear of the unknown, highlighting how easy it is for hate to be stirred up and for events to get out of control. Haunting and heart-breaking in equal measures, ‘Seaglass,’ is a satisfyingly scary read.
Thank you to Firefly Press for sending me a copy of this chilling story. ‘Seaglass,’ is available to buy now online or from any good bookshop.