Review From User :
CRAVEN MANOR, by Darcy Coates, is a supernatural novel with a rather unique scenario. In the beginning, we are introduced to a young man--Daniel Kane--who is searching for odd jobs every day just to survive. His cousin, Kyle, allows him to stay in his cheap apartment--providing Daniel can get together enough money to pay half the rent. Immediately, Coates is able to show us the intrinsic differences between the two. Daniel is something of a rare anomaly nowadays; a gentle, caring person who would give his meager earnings to others in need, rather than buy food for himself. Kyle is obviously one who feels that world owes him, and thinks nothing of walking all over people like Daniel. Not one to complain about his situation, Daniel would remind himself:
". . . He lived in a home for desperate people, and desperate people couldn't be choosy . . . "
I found myself very impressed with Darcy Coates' writing style. In some places, her words flow with such a graceful ease, yet their meaning is so full of conviction and leaves you thinking on them for some time afterwards.
". . . No one said hello or even made eye contact . . . that sense of non-existence had left him with a permanent fear of being forgotten by the world . . . "
Our adventure begins when Daniel finds a curious note addressed to him, informing him that he has been hired as a groundskeeper for a place called Craven Manor. The barest of directions are left for him, and Daniel probably would have not given it another thought if not for his cousin suddenly complaining about him "not contributing enough".
Coates continues to use some great scenes to further characterize the individual people in this novel. Now, she adds the most perfect balance of atmosphere to immerse the reader completely into the story unfolding. Once we see Craven Manor in our minds, there is no going back. I found that I didn't want to leave this novel for even a moment.
". . . The manor wasn't a cheerful place . . . But it felt secure . . . "
The balance of human, supernatural, and environmental surroundings make for the perfect combination here. Craven Manor-- ". . . A manor to strike fear into people who saw it . . ." --is a major presence--almost a character all of its own. The neglected--yet somehow still striking-ediface stands as a testament to the past that never really . . . left.
"Things that die here have a tendency to linger."
The twists and revelations create a story that keeps you riveted to every page. The emotional pull of not only Daniel, but of the other characters and elements, intensifies as the story goes on and more of the historical events are slowly revealed.
"Ghosts are real . . ."
Darcy Coates has written a story that stuck with me long after I finished my first reading. This is most certainly a book I see myself returning to in the future for re-reads.
". . . I've found that death and I don't agree too much . . ."
The mystique, characterizations, revelations, rumors, unlikely friendships, and betrayals were especially "real" feeling to me, and I give the author a great deal of credit in coming up with a tale that seems so "new", when the vast majority I read often appear as variations of the same theme.
". . . Sometimes, a drastic loss can herald a new start . . . "
Daniel is desperate for a job. When someone slides a note under his door offering him the groundskeeper’s position at an old estate, it seems too good to be true.
Alarm bells start ringing when he arrives at Craven Manor. The mansion’s front door hangs open, and leaves and cobwebs coat the marble foyer. It’s clear no one has lived there in a long time.
But an envelope waits for him inside the doorway. It contains money, and promises more.
Daniel is desperate. Against his better judgement, he moves into the groundskeeper’s cottage behind the crypt. He’s determined to ignore the strange occurrences that plague the estate.
But when a candle flickers to life in the abandoned tower window, Daniel realises Craven Manor is hiding a terrible secret… one that threatens to bury him with it.