Publisher: Candlewick Press
Release Date: July 10, 2012
Rating: 4 stars
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"Said my lord to my lady, as he mounted his horse,
Beware of Long Lankin that lives in the moss.
Said my lord to my lady, as he rode away
Beware of Long Lankin, that lives in the hay.
Let the doors be all bolted and the windows all pinned,
Except one little window,
where Long Lankin crept in..."
With their mother away and their father off on business, sisters Cora and Mimi are sent from London to the isolated village of Byers Guerdon to stay with their Auntie Ida at Guerdon Hall. But they receive a less than warm welcome, as Auntie Ida is adamant about them leaving right away. Auntie Ida is eccentric and strict, and the girls are eager to get back to London. But the girls don't know what happened last time there was two little girls at Guerdon Hall.
As they become closer to two boys from the village, Roger and Peter, they try to find answers to their questions. Why are children forbidden to go down to the old church, All Hallows? What is their Aunt Ida so afraid of that she has to lock all the windows and doors at all times? They end up awakening an evil that has been haunting the village for ages, and Cora will have to protect Mimi from being the next victim.
Long Lankin was super creepy, but it wasn't Stephen King scary so I was able to sleep at night. I am always up for a suspenseful read with some chills, and this book had a nice blend of creepiness and mystery. While it started off slow, and it never really reached a neck breaking speed, it kept my interest with its storytelling and things that go bump in the night. I couldn't wait for Cora and Roger to uncover more secrets, and as their revelations grew in number, so did my fears. As in, they found out something and I thought oh crap.
Roger and his brothers were adorable. Their crazy antics were hysterical. I loved learning more history about the village and all of the villagers. There were so many eccentricities and secrets just waiting to be revealed. I'm not talking about juicy gossip or drama. I'm talking about blood-chilling, traumatic memories of the past. I would not want to live in Byers Guerdon. Not my home sweet home.
Cora grew on me eventually, but I really didn't feel any connection to her in the beginning. Or to Mimi. She was just too whiny. I know she's four years old, but it was annoying. Though you can't help feeling sorry for Mimi because if she's not being pushed around or yelled at by her sister, she's being scared to death. Poor little girl. And for the most part, I wasn't too fond of Auntie Ida. I would never condone physically punishing a child, even if it's a different time period. And if Auntie Ida was so keen on getting the girls out of Byers Guerdon, she should have taken them far away in the beginning. But then there wouldn't have been a story to tell.
I found the constant switch between POVs interesting but, in all honesty, erratic. It was so distracting when the POV shifted almost every other page. I wasn't a fan until the end when it worked a little more and everything came together. Since the setting was England in 1958, the vernacular was unapologetically British. As in, grizzling and blimin' and cor. While I didn't understand some of it, I could make a guess as to the meaning and it didn't interfere with my enjoyment. In fact, it made the book more authentic.
My favorite part about Long Lankin was Guerdon Hall. It's like every hall in every Gothic novel you read before. I fell in love. The sweeping cobwebs, the creaking floorboards, and twisting passages. Its fallen beauty and disrepair. It had so much history to it, and I savored every description of its interior. I'm that lame.
If you like a haunting read, with some thrills and mystery, written at a leisurely pace, Long Lankin is your kind of book. It definitely is worth adding to your TBR pile.
**Here's the creepy book trailer with some lady singing**