Friday, July 18, 2014

Bliss House by Laura Benedict

It wasn't Rainey's fault that her husband died. The explosion that killed him and crippled her daughter was nothing more than a tragic accident. And yet, as time passes she finds that she can no longer face her old life. The desire to get away and make a future for her and her daughter drives her to Old Gate and the historic Bliss House. And though no Blisses have owned the house for quite some time, Rainey has come to bring it back to the family and restore it to its former glory. But Bliss House has secrets. Secrets that are begging to be revealed. Secrets that could potentially endanger Rainey and her daughter. 

Laura Benedict has long been a favorite of mine and each new book she releases is immediately on my must have list. I was actually planning to read this one about a month ago - in time to cover it for its release - and things kept delaying me. As annoyed as that was making me, I have to say it was clearly fate's way of telling me to wait. The weather this week was perfect reading for a haunted house story - rare and noisy thunderstorms here in Colorado!

I do so enjoy a good haunted house story and Bliss House is a GOOD haunted house story. As the revelations of the house begin to unfold, it becomes clear to the reader that Benedict has so much more hidden up her sleeve. Even if I didn't know already that she's working on more Bliss House books, I'd have finished with a sneaking suspicion that it wasn't the last we'd see of the creepy abode.

Rainey and Ariel's story is ultimately one of a mother trying her best to care for her daughter. Rainey, an interior designer, is in a way responsible for their current state. She'd purchased an antique stove that wasn't properly installed, causing a gas leak in their previous house. Now, her daughter is scarred to such an extent that she refuses to go out in public. But their move to Bliss House begins to change Ariel, not necessarily in a good way. And Rainey does refuse to see what so many of the locals see in Bliss House. Even admitting at the beginning that the most recent and scandalous events at the house have allowed her to afford buying it isn't enough for her to recognize the ominous stain that permanently mars the estate. Not that she or anyone else really knows the true extent of the story.

There is a secondary story that plays directly into Rainey and Ariel's tale, that of a young woman kidnapped and held in the house at some time prior to when Bliss House takes place. Her story is truly horrific and as we begin with her tale it does set the tone for the book as a whole.

At times Bliss House is a quite nasty book, just in terms of kinds of violence. If you're a sensitive reader, you have been warned. But overall it's not a terribly graphic horror novel. Instead, Bliss House is the kind of horror that relies on overall plot, atmosphere, and characters to provide the necessary thrills and chills of the story. And boy does Benedict build up the atmosphere!

Bliss House is out now and makes for the perfect creepy bedtime read (even if it's not raining!).

Rating: 5/5

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