Cover Image: The House of Footsteps

The House of Footsteps

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Member Reviews

Thank you to the publisher for my eARC copy of this book. Unfortunately I didn’t love this book and therefore didn’t finish, I just didn’t connect with this one. Not for me, sorry.
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Eerie, haunting and incredibly immersive - this book feels like a cup of tea during a stormy evening
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I really love this genre, this is a fantastic story which is beautifully haunting. It leaves you wanting more and I could not put this book down. I will be recommending this to my friends and family
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Some books speak to me and this is one of them!

Ghostly vibes

You really feel as if you are inside a gothic mansion


Well drawn characters

Great premise
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Intriguing spooky and atmospheric just what you want from a ghost story.
Curl up under a blanket and enjoy.
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This is a very readable Gothic spooky story with all the right ingredients. The prose is well written and the atmosphere building and intrigue keep you turning the pages. It has some surprising plot turns and is spooky in just the right amounts. Very enjoyable.
With thanks to HarperNorth and NetGalley for this digital ARC in exchange for this honest review.
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1923 and Simon Christie simply cannot believe his luck when he secures a position cataloguing the somewhat gruesome art collection of the Mordrake family but Thistlecrook House is an enigma and from the moment of his arrival he is heavy with a sense of foreboding.  I still have goosebumps! Omg......... this book was amazing I flew threw the pages with Olympic speed I was hooked from the very first page.
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The House of Footsteps is a very well written historical gothic mystery, with an eerie atmosphere throughout. It has plenty of twists and turns throughout to keep the reader engaged and wanting to find out more.  .
The only downside for me was that it left me with some unanswered questions. All in all, a very enjoyable debut. 

Thank you to NetGalley for the advance copy in return for an honest review.
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This wonderfully dark gothic tale is superb. We are expertly swept back to the ‘20s where Simon Christie, graduate history of art student and new employee of an auction house, is sent to a stately home in the Scottish Borders to assess a vast art collection. 

From the outset we are immersed in a sense of foreboding; the atmosphere oozes with tension and menace seems to lurk in each paragraph and chapter. The language is clever and captures the era perfectly. The small cast of characters are delightful and disturbing in equal measures.. I can’t believe this is a debut novel! Perfect for fans of the gothic classics.
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I really enjoyed this book overall as it was a great mix of mystery, crime, horror, suspense, and historical fiction. The writing in this was done really well and it helped build the atmosphere so much. The characters were written in a way that made them twist and turn with the action and this really helped the story overall. I think that a little bit of the middle had an issue with pacing as it was a little uneven and could've been a bit smoother in flow and pacing. This wasn't a major issue but would've made it a little easier to read overall.
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I like a good gothic novel and this fulfilled that brief. It was convincingly set in the 1920s and the period feel was very good. The story is convincing but with a few twists and turns ,the ending quite satisfying but perhaps could have been fleshed out a little to clear up a few loose endings. Overall a good story, I would have bought it has I not been lucky enough to be given an advance copy.
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Thank you, NetGalley and The Pigeonhole, for letting me read this book. 

This book has many strengths - Matthew West is great at reproducing a period voice, and at creating atmosphere - and it's probably worth reading for that alone. The narrator is enjoyably unreliable, and the way he is unknowingly influenced and manipulated by strange and malevolent (?) forces is cleverly done. 

My one criticism is that it left too much unexplained, so that the ending left me hanging a bit. Other than that, this is gripping and clever.
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A recent graduate sent to an isolated old house, a charming yet unpredictably hostile host, a mysterious woman in a library who seems to never leave, echoing footsteps that pace the halls at night, and haunting recollections of an esteemed and estranged family from the village folk that always seem to contradict one another- The House of Footsteps is an incredibly well written gothic novel perfect for any fans of Gothic literature! 

Mathew West's writing style leads to The House of Footsteps being a captivating and atmospheric read. When I first read the synopsis I had gone into the book expecting it to be extremely similar to The Haunting of Hill House and partway through reading I had expected it to then take on a more Crimson Peak kind of narrative but it ended up surprising me and going in a completely different direction! Mordrake was the perfect gothic villain for the book, making the main character Simon much like a gothic heroine but also somewhat of a damsel in distress. 

My only criticism of the book would be that while the ending surprised me, it also felt somewhat underexplained. It almost felt like the final element had not been brought directly into the narrative throughout the book in a way that was direct enough. 

Thank you to NetGalley and HarperNorth for the advance copy!
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5 star review because this gothic debut is quite simply glorious bonkers! Chilling descriptions of a reclusive lord of the manor with his revolting art collection and some very odd footsteps running through the corridors at night... Simon Christie, young art valuer is beguiled by a strange girl always found in the library. Is there a Faustian pact? A grim butler, an eerie lake and strange stories abound. Loved it
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Commendable spooky thriller. Simon Christie is a somewhat aimless young man drifting after his education in 1920s Britain. He seizes the opportunity to pursue his passion for art at Thistlecrook House on the Scottish/English border, where the enigmatic owner veers between ingratiating and menacing. Simon becomes embroiled in the murky history of the house and the undefined myths that surround it. Even the villagers can’t quite explain to him what has gone on there. 
I really liked the way the author didn’t over-explain who Mordrake might be, or his butler, or the sweet young woman who mainly inhabits the Library. It is left up to the reader to unpick the folklore elements of the tale and work out what might be happening at Thistlecrook. 
It is a welcome change to see a young man rather than a young woman embroiled in the dark and threatening events up at a Big House and Simon’s character was written very well, in all his confusion.
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Simon Christie was too young to serve in the Great War so he and his friends are cutting around Edinburgh after their studies finished. Unfortunately for Simon, his father decides it is time he found himself a job and Simon cannot help but agree. A degree in Art History sets him up nicely for a position with an auction house and Simon is ready to take on what the world can throw at him.

What he may not have expected was the opportunity to visit Thistlecrook House, home of the Mordrake family and to catalogue their collected artworks. It has long been rumoured the Mordrakes have a vast collection of art treasures  – even a Da Vinci – so Simon boards a train from Edinburgh and sets off South. Thistlecrook House sits apart from a tiny village on the Scottish/English border and is not an easy place to access. Simon will spend his days assessing the art collection and will rely upon the hospitality of his host for food and accommodation.

His arrival at Mordrake House follows a disconcerting series of encounters in the nearby village. Mordrake House has has reputation and the locals are wary. It also appears his host is a widower following the tragic death of his wife, drowned in the lake in the grounds of his home. Steeled with this knowledge, Simon is respectful of his host’s odd behaviour and secluded lifestyle. For when he arrives at Mordrake house the vast home is almost empty of life bar his host, an ever-present butler (who does not take a shine to Simon) and a few members of staff.

Tension mounts as Simon spends more time in the strange house. The artwork he has to assess has a singular and disturbing theme, many pieces are shocking or distasteful to the young man and he feels the drain spending time with them. Some rooms have an overpowering impact upon him too a compromise has to be found for his workspace as the attic which houses many of the art is overwhelming. But not all spaces in the house are negative places. In a library Simon encounters the other resident in the house. A young woman who enjoys curling up to read her book while keeping out of the way of everyone else.

With an ally in the house we find Simon can chat through some of his concerns and soon his infactuation with his new friend will start to distract from the work he is meant to undertake. Not that Simon needs any more distraction, his nights are plagued by the sound of footsteps. A heavy-footed individual spends hours each night walking the corridors and rooms of Thistlecrook House. The noise is distracting, upsetting and inescapable for Simon. He is particularly alarmed when he sees the shadow of this unknown person walking past his door.

As the story develops the tension cranks up. Mathew West has done a fabulous job of keeping the story flowing, the chills mounting and Simon’s story appears to be one which puts him on a path towards a dangerous confrontation. I really enjoyed The House of Footsteps and felt it perfectly pitched to deliver the creepy vibes.

The House of Footsteps releases on February 3rd and I’d strongly recommend getting a pre-order in place.
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Simon Christie arrives as an idealistic if naive young man on his first 'big' job with an auction house to value an art collection belonging to the Mordrake family.  The House of the title is Thistlecrook, set in border country but very close to Scotland, where I felt the novel might be better set.
There was a feel of more a Victorian novel to me - although it states it is in 1923, but I couldn't get a feel for the period. Perhaps because the plot revolves around mysterious people, tales and witchcraft from the past and then the appearance of young Amy - who intrigues Simon in her seat in the library where she tells Simon not to mention her presence.
The art collection is a mass of weird, often distasteful images of religious iconic settings and cruelty to those in apparent pagan/satanic images.  I felt the terror began to build and the strange Victor Mordrake who owns the House appeared as some cross between Dracula/Mr Rochester. There were some good images especially the local village of Cobsfoot (did that name mean more?)  especially in Simon's arrival with the funeral for 'wee Maggie Hall'. Readers were I felt sent down various rabbit holes as to what might happen and the many images to link to witchcraft/ghosts were laid out. The Folly, the Lake where it seemed various women had been drowned and even a huge hound owned by Victor.
I would have liked more back story of the place which was only hinted at - the reiver clans and perhaps even pictorial images of some of the classical and horrific iconography.
Overall a brave attempt which perhaps needed paring down - although some of the characters had great impact - surely old Banntyne the best!
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It’s 1923 and at Thistlecrook House, a forbidding home on the Scottish border, the roaring twenties seem not to have arrived. But Simon Christie has – a young man who can’t believe his luck when he gets a job cataloguing the infamous art collection of the Mordrake family. Yet from the moment he gets off the train at the deserted village station he can’t shift a headache and a sense that there’s more to the House and its gruesome selection of pictures.
Simon’s host is glad of his company, but he gets the feeling the house is not so welcoming. As his questions about the Mordrakes grow, he finds answers in surprising places. But someone is not pleased that old secrets are stirring.
As night falls each evening, and a growing sense of unease roils in the shifting shadows around him, Simon must decide what he can trust and ask if he can believe what he sees in the dusk or if his mind is poisoned by what has happened before in this place between lands, between light and dark.

Creepy, chilling and very compelling, just as art historian Simon Christie is drawn into Thistlecrook House, I was drawn into this dark tale. The writing was excellent, almost claustrophobic at times, all told from Simon's point of view so you feel you are living it with him. All is not well at the remote county house but it takes a little while to understand what is going on. Quite ethereal, things are hinted at, not always fully detailed leaving the reader to see into the spaces in between. Supernatural and gothic, I enjoyed it.
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This novel begins in 1923, when Simon Christie has just finished an art history degree at the University of Edinburgh.  Casting around for a job, he finds work at an auction house and is asked to catalogue the art collection at Thistlecrook House.   Thistlecrook House is owned by the Mordrake family, and their art collection is rumoured to have many treasures, so Simon is pleased to get the assignment, even if the house is deep in the countryside, on the border of England and Scotland.

Arriving at the rural station of Cobsfoot, Simon finds it is eerily deserted and soon, to ramp up the atmosphere, the funeral of a child weaves through the village.   Indeed, this book does have a great setting and atmosphere.  Locals full of tales of the Big House and those who live there, a creepy butler named Bannatyne, a beautiful young woman who appears at night in the library, footsteps walking, unseen, through the corridors, secrets and an art collection which seems to have savagery and brutality at its heart. 

Although I enjoyed the unfolding story, I did feel that the novel lost its way and I felt somewhat like the unseen walker, traversing the corridors, opening doors and not quite glimpsing what lay beyond me.  This was well written and atmospheric but lacked a sense of pace (I don’t mind the journey but it’s nice to feel you are going somewhere) and I found this something of a muddling read.  Still, Mathew West has the ability to set a scene and descriptively this is a beautiful book.   I received a copy of the book from the publisher, via NetGalley, to review.   Rated 3.5.
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Wow what a book! It was creepy and scary in all the right places. You definitely don’t want to read this in the dark as it’s very atmospheric.
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