FICTION

The Animals at Lockwood Manor

Houghton Harcourt. Mar. 2020. 352p. ISBN 9780358106401. $26. F
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DEBUT In 1939 England, owing to the bombings in London, Hetty Cartwright is sent to isolated Lockwood Manor in the English countryside with a collection of taxidermied mammals from a natural history museum. She is to live at the house and make sure no harm comes to the collection. The owner of the manor, Major Lockwood, is openly hostile and offensive, while his daughter Lucy suffers from terrible nightmares and can be heard screaming in the night. Even the few remaining servants do not want a stranger disrupting their routines. Hetty soon realizes that protecting the collection will not be easy. Specimens are moved during the night, some disappear, and others are vandalized. A growing friendship between Lucy and Hetty is threatened by long-held secrets that, if revealed, will sever the thread that holds the household together. Alternating chapters told from Lucy’s point of view supply the backstory of this gothic tale of hauntings, secrets, and madness—a creative device that adds tension and suspense. Atmospheric details of the manor make it a central character.
VERDICT Recommended for fans of Lauren A. Forry, Sarah Perry, and gothic suspense. [See Prepub Alert, 9/16/19.]

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