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Too Near the Dead

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Sometimes it’s terrifying, loving someone this much… For Fen Munro and her fiancé James, it is a dream come true: an escape from London to a beautiful house in the stunning Perthshire countryside. Barr Dubh is modern, a building with no past at all. But someone walks the grounds, always dressed in lavender. Under a lichenous stone in an abandoned graveyard, a hideous sec Sometimes it’s terrifying, loving someone this much… For Fen Munro and her fiancé James, it is a dream come true: an escape from London to a beautiful house in the stunning Perthshire countryside. Barr Dubh is modern, a building with no past at all. But someone walks the grounds, always dressed in lavender. Under a lichenous stone in an abandoned graveyard, a hideous secret lies buried. And at night, Fen is tormented by horrifying dreams. Someone wants Fen’s happiness, and nothing is going to stop them—not even death…


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Sometimes it’s terrifying, loving someone this much… For Fen Munro and her fiancé James, it is a dream come true: an escape from London to a beautiful house in the stunning Perthshire countryside. Barr Dubh is modern, a building with no past at all. But someone walks the grounds, always dressed in lavender. Under a lichenous stone in an abandoned graveyard, a hideous sec Sometimes it’s terrifying, loving someone this much… For Fen Munro and her fiancé James, it is a dream come true: an escape from London to a beautiful house in the stunning Perthshire countryside. Barr Dubh is modern, a building with no past at all. But someone walks the grounds, always dressed in lavender. Under a lichenous stone in an abandoned graveyard, a hideous secret lies buried. And at night, Fen is tormented by horrifying dreams. Someone wants Fen’s happiness, and nothing is going to stop them—not even death…

30 review for Too Near the Dead

  1. 5 out of 5

    The Coycaterpillar Reads

    Too Near the Dead begins with a chilling chapter that depicts a woman awakening and finding she has been buried alive. The scene is ethereal and haunting. Is it a dream or is it reality? She is buried with her wedding dress on, and the claustrophobia and panic quickly settle in. It sets the tone for the entirety of the novel, it reminded me of The Haunting of Hill House, with the same masterful prose and eerie tension contained throughout. Fen Munro is the protagonist of the story. We get insight Too Near the Dead begins with a chilling chapter that depicts a woman awakening and finding she has been buried alive. The scene is ethereal and haunting. Is it a dream or is it reality? She is buried with her wedding dress on, and the claustrophobia and panic quickly settle in. It sets the tone for the entirety of the novel, it reminded me of The Haunting of Hill House, with the same masterful prose and eerie tension contained throughout. Fen Munro is the protagonist of the story. We get insight into her backstory. A traumatic upbringing with hard parents. Her struggle to please them, to make them proud is an uphill battle, and nothing she will ever do will get her the love she so desperately requires. She finds success with a career in publishing and meets the love of her life, James Sinclair. They become engaged and decide to move away from the rat race that is London. They visit Perthshire together and fall in love with Barr Dubh House. The serenity, the isolation, just everything screams out to them. Too Near the Dead is a supernatural story with human consequences. The book was beautiful with a harrowing backdrop. I felt like I was looking down onto the story. The author’s use of language added a realism element that was natural and not forced. A house with a bloody history. Dreams that bled into reality. The folklore about the Lavender Lady. Fen and James are looking forward to spending their married life enjoying the Perthshire scenery. Soon things appear to be very wrong with their dream home. Strange noises, dreams that would compete with the movie, Inception. The visions of Lavender are all things that are slowly affecting Fen’s mental health and her quality of sleep. James slowly notices a significant change in his wife’s demeanour and questions the decision of purchasing Barr Dubh. The storyline immediately demands your attention and keeps it until the very end. The events had me looking over the crook of my shoulder. Investigations begin and Fen discovers a chapel and graves. Just how does it all tie into the dreams that Fen has been experiencing. The author excels at a creeping sense of unease, I couldn’t stop reading and wanted to find out what would happen next. The exquisite Perthshire countryside added to the atmospheric edge to an already claustrophobic story. Cancel everything and read Too Near the Dead. This book just pulsates with originality. Fast-paced and intelligent. A masterful, twisty novel.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

    I received an advance reader copy of this book to read in exchange for an honest review as part of the book tour hosted by Lovebookstours. Too Near the Dead is an absolutely amazing page turner! I could not put this book down. The writing is beautifully scripted and keeps you wanting to know more and what will happen next. This book had me hiding under the covers and jumping at noises in the night! The scenes are beautifully brought to life and detailed and the darkness of the past that haunts Fe I received an advance reader copy of this book to read in exchange for an honest review as part of the book tour hosted by Lovebookstours. Too Near the Dead is an absolutely amazing page turner! I could not put this book down. The writing is beautifully scripted and keeps you wanting to know more and what will happen next. This book had me hiding under the covers and jumping at noises in the night! The scenes are beautifully brought to life and detailed and the darkness of the past that haunts Fen as well as the mysterious and dark occurances that happen at the house are subtly terrifying! This book is a must read! I can't wait to read more from Helen Grant if this is a taster of what amazing things are to come!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Laura Hunt

    Ok so I had a pretty bad nightmare after I read this but I feel like that shows how incredible the writing is. The descriptions of Perth in Scotland were so beautiful and engaging, they made me want to hop on a train and head right up there. The supernatural build up and tension was also so brilliantly done and left me feeling more and more disturbed. This book is so hauntingly beautiful, one of those that stays with you for a long time.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sophie Narey (Bookreview- aholic)

    This is the first book by Helen Grant and if her other books are any where near as brilliantly written as this than it won't be my last ! As soon as I heard about this book I just knew I had to read it.. so my expectations were pretty high for this book... but it didn't disappoint at all ! Everything you could want in a gothic type novel is in this book and so much more ! Fen Munro and her fiancé James move to Perthshire , into a beautiful modern house with no previous owners....sounds perfect r This is the first book by Helen Grant and if her other books are any where near as brilliantly written as this than it won't be my last ! As soon as I heard about this book I just knew I had to read it.. so my expectations were pretty high for this book... but it didn't disappoint at all ! Everything you could want in a gothic type novel is in this book and so much more ! Fen Munro and her fiancé James move to Perthshire , into a beautiful modern house with no previous owners....sounds perfect right ? Well this is when it turns ... there is a figure who walks the grounds always wearing lavender.... an abandoned graveyard may hold the answers Fen needs and it may help to stop the horrifying nightmares she experience at night! This book is absolutely brilliantly written, the description of Perthshire is so vividly worded that it is like you are actually there it captures the beauty so well . The relationship between Fen and James is entangled with problems, secrets kept hidden , past traumas . The storyline builds up perfectly keeping you hooked and keeping you reading on desperate to find out more, find out the answers to the many questions in your mind ! Definitely a 5star read for me!!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Meggy Chocolate'n'Waffles

    Fen and her fiancé James do what most of us have been contemplating recently: move from London to the beautiful countryside. Aren’t they lucky? Well… I am not a fan of ghosts stories or supernatural elements in novels. It takes a lot to convince me. I knew I wanted to read Too Near The Dead because I adored Helen Grant’s previous novel Ghost. I had faith in the author’s ability to shush my down-to-earth mind and take me down dark and shady paths that would give me goosebumps. I was right. If you Fen and her fiancé James do what most of us have been contemplating recently: move from London to the beautiful countryside. Aren’t they lucky? Well… I am not a fan of ghosts stories or supernatural elements in novels. It takes a lot to convince me. I knew I wanted to read Too Near The Dead because I adored Helen Grant’s previous novel Ghost. I had faith in the author’s ability to shush my down-to-earth mind and take me down dark and shady paths that would give me goosebumps. I was right. If you are looking for the most exquisite prose at the service of an unsettling, powerful, and creepy story, Too Near The Dead is the perfect read for you! A beautiful house with no neighbours. Barr Dubh is modern, spacious, and the right fit for Fen and James, copy-editor and author, to work from home and get all the peace in the world. If your definition of peace includes strange sounds, visions of lavender, and the most troubling events. No effort is required from the reader to be fully absorbed by the book. The characterisation is solid from the start, it is easy to follow Fen as she gets used to her new life (or not!) Helen Grant has a knack for building a strong enough setting to support a full novel. Barr Dubh is a main character here. The why and how comes to you in the most terrifying ways. But you’ll keep reading. As I did. Because there is no way you can take your eyes off the vivd pictures and scenes created by the author. Some chapters left me holding my breath as the words worked their magic and led me down roads I would have been too scared to go on my own. If the house is new, why is there an abandoned graveyard? Who is walking around wearing lavender? Those questions flung back and forth in my mind as I was following Fen, wondering how much of her personality was tainting my views of the events. Fen wants to understand why the house she fell in love with is keeping her on edge. Something is wrong… Terribly wrong. And it makes for a terribly good read! All along, there was an undercurrent of unease, like a muffled melody in the background. A very sinister one! As the story progressed, I realised I was totally ensnared in the house, fascinated by what I was reading, and turning each page a little faster. Too Near The Dead is a tragic dark tale of love, happiness, and life.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Inscribed Inklings

    Too Near the Dead by Helen Grant If you love eerie gothic fiction this one is for you. Right from the first chapter, Too near the dead gives off creepy vibes. That's exactly why I loved this book. The writing was impeccable. It was a bit slow for my liking though. I felt the book could have been more appealing if it was a bit shorter, because at one point I just really wanted to know what the hell was going on. I loved all the bookish aspects of the book. The MC, Fen was a copyeditor and her fi Too Near the Dead by Helen Grant If you love eerie gothic fiction this one is for you. Right from the first chapter, Too near the dead gives off creepy vibes. That's exactly why I loved this book. The writing was impeccable. It was a bit slow for my liking though. I felt the book could have been more appealing if it was a bit shorter, because at one point I just really wanted to know what the hell was going on. I loved all the bookish aspects of the book. The MC, Fen was a copyeditor and her fiancé, James was an author she worked with. They had an adorable meet-cute. They decide to move from the hub hub of city life in London to the Perthshire countryside. They settle in to the sprawling estate of Barr Dubh which seems to be house right out of Jane Eyre. As soon as Fen arrives to this house, she keeps getting vivid dreams that seem to be something more. The whole town seems to be keeping a secret. She seems to keep seeing a lady in lavender and she tries to find the truth behind all her dreams. Does she stumble into things that are best left forgotten? The ending was crazy and action packed. This book gave me so many jump scares and made me flinch. Overall, it was an entertaining read. -Afreen

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mona

    If you love a ghost story, this should be the book next on your reading list. Set in Perthshire, the novel is a chilling tale of love and betrayal. Fen, the protagonist, will find herself doubting her engagement to James, a successful writer who is keeping a secret from her, while also struggling with her childhood trauma and her brother’s death. Her life in her new house, Barr Dubh, will be made more difficult by the awful dreams of death and the vision of a lady in lavender that keep tormentin If you love a ghost story, this should be the book next on your reading list. Set in Perthshire, the novel is a chilling tale of love and betrayal. Fen, the protagonist, will find herself doubting her engagement to James, a successful writer who is keeping a secret from her, while also struggling with her childhood trauma and her brother’s death. Her life in her new house, Barr Dubh, will be made more difficult by the awful dreams of death and the vision of a lady in lavender that keep tormenting her. The novel twists and turns, it misleads the reader, and we do not see the finale coming. The last fifty pages are fast paced, they make you hold your breath, as everything seems to be resolved when it actually isn’t. It then offers us a finale, only to reveal it was not quite real. It is a brilliant way to keep the readers on their toes! All throughout the novel we are not sure if the presence in Fen’s house is a warning or a threat. Is the lady trying to let her see the truth on her fiancé? Or does she want to harm James and Fen? Does she simply want her story to be told? All of these possibilities are explored within the novel, all of them sound quite plausible. However, only one is actually true. The prose is fast and precise, the language flows beautifully, and the descriptions perfectly allow us to imagine the landscape and the setting of this tale. The darkness, incessant rain, the dead leaves covering the ground make of Scotland the perfect setting for a spooky story. The local folklore adds to the spectral setting and makes the whole atmosphere of the novel even more chilling.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Veronica Barton

    For copyeditor Fen Munro, it's a dream come true when she becomes engaged to James, a writer whose works she greatly admires. An unexpected windfall has allowed them to leave London and settle into a new house set on acres of beautiful land in Scotland. Named Barr Dubh House, the spacious, modern dwelling offers the couple a perfect, country setting to start their lives together. Frightful dreams and sightings of a shadowy figure dressed in lavender on the grounds cause extreme, mental angst for For copyeditor Fen Munro, it's a dream come true when she becomes engaged to James, a writer whose works she greatly admires. An unexpected windfall has allowed them to leave London and settle into a new house set on acres of beautiful land in Scotland. Named Barr Dubh House, the spacious, modern dwelling offers the couple a perfect, country setting to start their lives together. Frightful dreams and sightings of a shadowy figure dressed in lavender on the grounds cause extreme, mental angst for Fen and bring up memories that she longs to forget. Her friend, Belle, and fiancé, James grow worried as she begins to unravel. Is Fen just imagining things, or are there mysterious forces at play in the halls of their new abode? Author Grant has written a chilling tale of malice that knows no bounds. As dark details emerge, life for the inhabitants of Barr Dubh becomes eerily unsettled. This is a haunting thriller with an inspired beginning and ending that will leave you breathless to the very last page, highly recommended!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sam Dawson

    A gothic novel for the 21st century, proving that in the right hands the genre can still intrigue and involve. A skillfully told tale, as you would expect from this most accomplished of authors.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Divya Kaushik

    Sometimes it’s terrifying, loving someone this much… Too Near the Dead by Helen Grant is a suspenseful, thrilling horror story about a haunted house in Perthshire, Scotland. Fen Munro and her fiance James, move to their dream house in the Perthshire countryside. Away from London noise, Barr Dubh is the perfect house with a modern building (built only a couple of years back). Only Fen doesn't know the history behind the house could date back to 150 years. After daily dreadful dreams and constantl Sometimes it’s terrifying, loving someone this much… Too Near the Dead by Helen Grant is a suspenseful, thrilling horror story about a haunted house in Perthshire, Scotland. Fen Munro and her fiance James, move to their dream house in the Perthshire countryside. Away from London noise, Barr Dubh is the perfect house with a modern building (built only a couple of years back). Only Fen doesn't know the history behind the house could date back to 150 years. After daily dreadful dreams and constantly seeing a woman in lavender dress near her house, she decides to investigate the history of Barr Dubh. What she finds will give her peace or will it destroy her? Too Near the Dead is an amazing novel with the perfect blend of suspense, thriller, horror, and emotional element. The book is set in a countryside village in Scotland. That alone made me excited to read it. I love how Helen included the 'Skye boat' song in a chapter. It reminds me of the 'Skye boat' song from 'Outlander'. The second it was mentioned, I started playing it on a loop, whilst reading the book. It gave the perfect Scottish vibes.! Coming back to the storyline. It was marvelous.!! It was so intriguing that I couldn't put it down. The suspense about who haunts the house (lavender girl) and why is so interesting that I completed the book in 2-sittings. Apart from the storyline revolving around Barr Dubh, we also get to see the past life and struggles of Fen. We see the encounter of a copy editor(Fen) with an author(James) and how it develops into a love story into finally getting engaged. I was especially intrigued to read about Fen's issues with her mom & dad and the incident with her brother. The events around pain and loss were handled beautifully. To comment about the story revolving around the horrific events in Barr Dubh, it was hair-raising! From the suspenseful story regarding Fen's and Bella's dreams to her actual encounters with the lavender girl, it was spine-chilling.! The way Helen describes the 'sense' that someone is watching you, makes you shudder. I think we have all felt it at least once in our life. The anxiety and dread Fen felt were perfectly described. The ending was something I was expecting but somehow was sure wouldn't happen. It was simply the hauntingly perfect ending the book deserved. To say the least, I LOVED the book.! It kept me hooked.! And I highly recommend you all to read. Read the review here: https://divyakaushik1010.wixsite.com/...

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kira

    A huge thank you to Fledgling Press for the advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review! Too Near the Dead by Helen Grant, is a chilling supernatural thriller that follows protagonist Fenella Munro, as she moves into her grand new house in Perthshire with fiancé James. The plot centralises around the land that the idyllic Barr Dubh has been built upon and its haunted past; a past that is plaguing Fenella’s dreams and consuming her every waking minute. Determined to understand and A huge thank you to Fledgling Press for the advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review! Too Near the Dead by Helen Grant, is a chilling supernatural thriller that follows protagonist Fenella Munro, as she moves into her grand new house in Perthshire with fiancé James. The plot centralises around the land that the idyllic Barr Dubh has been built upon and its haunted past; a past that is plaguing Fenella’s dreams and consuming her every waking minute. Determined to understand and uncover the reasoning behind her horrific nightmares and the mysterious appearances of objects around the house, Fenella sets out to find the truth of the land’s past and ends up discovering a lot more than she bargained for. This was a fantastic read that possessed incredibly descriptive passages that painted vivid scenes and dazzling, poetic imagery. The first chapter, nay, the first sentence alone grabbed my attention instantaneously and had me hooked. It was difficult to put down after it’s bold opening and intriguing premise. The eerie atmosphere and morbid foreshadowing shrouded each and every page, and the intensity increasingly built up overtime into a spectacular crescendo. Another aspect of this book that I really appreciated, was the incorporation of folklore and references to mythological texts. For instance, near the very beginning we are provided with a comparison of James with Bluebeard, which immediately makes the reader untrusting and wary of every character. The book also mentions Jane Eyre, which is a fitting reference as the descriptions of the drookit, yet hauntingly beautiful Scottish landscape bore similarities to Brontë’s work. This book kept me on my toes, each time that I believed to have figured out what direction the plot was going in or how it would end, I was thrown for a loop. Particularly with the last few chapters, my mind could hardly keep up with my roving eyes that desperately sought the outcome. If you loved Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, or Pine by Francine Toon then this book needs to take place at the very top of your wish list immediately. It was superbly suspenseful with astonishing writing woven from a vast and stunning vocabulary. Simply a joy to read!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Aeldra CL Pendragon

    I sat down and finished this book in one go: it was so entirely engrossing that I found myself not even wanting to divert my attention from the words just for a drink of water. A testament to how brilliant this book was, considering my typical attention span is no longer than half an hour. I am consistently amazed at Helen Grant's ability to craft such complex characters over just a few hundred pages. Without it being obvious, without noting to yourself that now the author is laying out some exp I sat down and finished this book in one go: it was so entirely engrossing that I found myself not even wanting to divert my attention from the words just for a drink of water. A testament to how brilliant this book was, considering my typical attention span is no longer than half an hour. I am consistently amazed at Helen Grant's ability to craft such complex characters over just a few hundred pages. Without it being obvious, without noting to yourself that now the author is laying out some exposition for you, you are just aware intimately of who these people are as if you had grown up alongside them, as if you could see into their brains. And the suspense that was built up over the course of the book - anyone wanting to write gothic horror, classic spine-chilling slowly-escalating horror, should study this book and all of her others. As with all of her novels, this one is firmly affixed as one of my all-time favourites. Outstanding.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sara (thebookwebb)

    Last year I read Ghost by Helen Grant and absolutely loved it, so I was excited to read her new novel. I was not disappointed. Helen’s writing style make her books very easy to read and, just like Ghost, the tension builds slowly throughout the course of the story. Although set in current times, there is a gothic feel to this tale of lost love and sorrow. The characters are well written and make their mark in a quiet and unassuming way. While not outright scary, the story is creepy enough to ens Last year I read Ghost by Helen Grant and absolutely loved it, so I was excited to read her new novel. I was not disappointed. Helen’s writing style make her books very easy to read and, just like Ghost, the tension builds slowly throughout the course of the story. Although set in current times, there is a gothic feel to this tale of lost love and sorrow. The characters are well written and make their mark in a quiet and unassuming way. While not outright scary, the story is creepy enough to ensure you want to keep reading but not so chilling that it will keep you up at night. Focusing more on the characters and the background to current events rather than plot lines that are just there for the shock value, this is the perfect ghost story to curl up with on a cold evening. This was a gifted copy in exchange for an honest review.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Joanne Sheppard

    Helen Grant has an excellent track record of writing tense, atmospheric chillers, and Too Near The Dead is no exception. Fen is soon to be married to James, a successful novelist whose book she edited. Keen to relocate from London, the couple have just bought a recently-built modern home in rural Perthshire. Despite the almost perpetual grey drizzle, Barr Dubh House boasts a beautiful location and a generous portion of land, and Fen is looking forward to starting a freelance career and planning Helen Grant has an excellent track record of writing tense, atmospheric chillers, and Too Near The Dead is no exception. Fen is soon to be married to James, a successful novelist whose book she edited. Keen to relocate from London, the couple have just bought a recently-built modern home in rural Perthshire. Despite the almost perpetual grey drizzle, Barr Dubh House boasts a beautiful location and a generous portion of land, and Fen is looking forward to starting a freelance career and planning her wedding. But she soon finds herself plagued by horrifically vivid dreams of premature burial, and she's unsettled by fleeting glimpses of a figure dressed in lavender passing through her new home's grounds. Can the airy, new-build home be haunted? Or is Fen, often left alone in the remote property while James travels for work, going mad? Too Near The Dead has the initial set-up of a classic Gothic thriller: a young woman, mostly alone in the world and recently swept off her feet by a charismatic man who might, it seems, be hiding something. The house might not be a Victorian mansion, but the landscape and climate around it make it every bit as atmospheric and unnerving as Manderley or Thornfield Hall. However, as we learn more about Fen, it seems that things might be more complicated than that. How reliable is Fen as a narrator? She's an intelligent, capable and practical woman, but there are hints at a complicated past. Is Fen projecting her repressed trauma on to the house, or is the house projecting its own dark history on to Fen? Like all the best ghost stories, Too Near The Dead has plenty of quietly creepy goings-on to send a shiver down your spine, but also some moments that are fully terrifying. The opening chapter evokes such a powerful sense of rising panic that I had to look away and take some deep breaths - let's just say that claustrophobics should proceed with caution. Whatever it is that's at the root of the disturbances surrounding Fen at Barr Dubh, there's a real sense of bitter malevolence to it that reminded me of Susan Hill's The Woman In Black, and even Henry James's The Turn of the Screw. This is a ghost story where the protagonist is in genuine peril, and as Fen starts to get to the bottom of exactly what might be happening, we find ourselves on quite the rollercoaster ride as the story races to its conclusion. If you like a proper, creepy, fireside Gothic ghost story, this one comes with my wholehearted recommendation. It's got everything you could want from the genre and more.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sambooka23

    Wow, this was absolutely phenomenal. It kept me hooked from beginning to end and I couldn’t put the book down. I feel the book was short but with a lot of thrills and ‘oomph’. I was definitely enjoying reading it and prioritised it over anything I had to do! 😱 Highly recommend if you’re into thrillers and want a quick, short but thrilling read. Thank you to Helen and Fledging Press for sending me a copy of this book and thank you to Rachel at LoveBookTours for arranging this tour.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Read.sleep.repeat.x

    I stupidly started reading this book late at night before bed. Now this is stupid for two reasons, one being I was up until 2am as i couldn't put the book down and the second because once i was halfway through and ready to sleep, i found myself a little worried about doing so 😂 Have you ever experienced the feeling when you are alone, going upstairs in the dark and you have a sensation that if you looked behind you, somebody or something would be there? Even though you know it's silly and impossi I stupidly started reading this book late at night before bed. Now this is stupid for two reasons, one being I was up until 2am as i couldn't put the book down and the second because once i was halfway through and ready to sleep, i found myself a little worried about doing so 😂 Have you ever experienced the feeling when you are alone, going upstairs in the dark and you have a sensation that if you looked behind you, somebody or something would be there? Even though you know it's silly and impossible, the thought alone scares you.. So you run up the rest of the way? Yeah... That feeling right there is what i experienced reading this book! This story starts with a feeling of unease from the get go, it had me gripped from the first chapter. The characters are relatable, likeable and the dialogue flows very well, I really loved the sense of isolation, it definitely helped create an eerie, spooky feel and my god it had me gripped! I didn't want it to end but my bladder really did, as i was holding it for far too long because i was afraid of going to toilet alone in the dark 😂 it kept me firmly on my toes and not once did i feel i knew how it would end! This was a fantastic read, One i would definitely recommend, especially if you like gothic, spooky, eerie reads!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sara Coleman

    After a frankly terrifying opening, this ghostly tale goes into slow burn mode. I could not put it down and read it in one sitting. It made a warm summer's day oddly chilly. A great ghost story in the best sense of the tradition. After a frankly terrifying opening, this ghostly tale goes into slow burn mode. I could not put it down and read it in one sitting. It made a warm summer's day oddly chilly. A great ghost story in the best sense of the tradition.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kirkland Ciccone

    Too Near The Dead will not be spoiled by this review, but let me say a few things to help you 'get' what this book is all about: a woman in a coffin, Perthshire, spooky shenanigans, and the quality prose that made Katharina Linden so essential. This is Scottish Gothic in excelsis. Too Near The Dead will not be spoiled by this review, but let me say a few things to help you 'get' what this book is all about: a woman in a coffin, Perthshire, spooky shenanigans, and the quality prose that made Katharina Linden so essential. This is Scottish Gothic in excelsis.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Amy Thomas

    If you enjoy reading creepy, scary, and eerie books, this one is for you. Fen and her fiancé, James, have recently moved from the busy hustle and bustle life of London to Barr Dubh House in Perthshire. Set in the countryside, with no neighbours for miles, the silent and tranquil surroundings take a little getting used to. But it’s their dream house, surely they could be happy there? I devoured this book. The author’s writing style is impeccable and sets the scene perfectly. The story oozes a feeli If you enjoy reading creepy, scary, and eerie books, this one is for you. Fen and her fiancé, James, have recently moved from the busy hustle and bustle life of London to Barr Dubh House in Perthshire. Set in the countryside, with no neighbours for miles, the silent and tranquil surroundings take a little getting used to. But it’s their dream house, surely they could be happy there? I devoured this book. The author’s writing style is impeccable and sets the scene perfectly. The story oozes a feeling of unease straight from the off, without any obvious scares, which I found both impressive and absolutely gripping. The characters are relatable and the dialogue flows well. Would definitely recommend.

  20. 4 out of 5

    L . G

    Fen Munro - I liked her. When writing a main character in a book, the author has to make certain that there’s enough ‘oomf’ about them that grabs the readers attention but also enough mystery that spikes their intrigue. Grant nailed this when she created Fen Munroe. Fen is a character that I found myself automatically drawn to - her laid back demeanour coupled with her dark, sporadic vulnerability were the reasons for my continued eagerness to turn the next page. I also really enjoyed the small Fen Munro - I liked her. When writing a main character in a book, the author has to make certain that there’s enough ‘oomf’ about them that grabs the readers attention but also enough mystery that spikes their intrigue. Grant nailed this when she created Fen Munroe. Fen is a character that I found myself automatically drawn to - her laid back demeanour coupled with her dark, sporadic vulnerability were the reasons for my continued eagerness to turn the next page. I also really enjoyed the small glances into Fen’s past - the relationships between herself, her parents and her brother Stephen were kept small enough to keep focus on the main characters but were big enough to keep you engrossed in the story. The setting for this book is stunning and beautifully portrayed by the author - having a deep love for Scotland myself, this only added to my already growing interest in this novel. Barr Dubh House was a stoke of genius in my eyes. I would describe it as perfectly split between a dream home and a haunted house - enough to keep any reader intrigued. Even though I thoroughly enjoyed this book, I do have to say that I didn’t find it anywhere near as ‘chilling’ as I was lead to believe. Yes, the story kept me interested and yes, there were moments when I found myself content with the eeriness of its descriptions. But I wasn’t nervous and I feel that a good thriller novel should make the reader anxious to turn the page in trepidation of what they are going to discover next. An easy 3 and a half stars for this book - no goosebumps or raising of hairs on the back of the neck but overall an enjoyable read.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    Originally posted on Just Geeking by. I’m still not sure what it is about Too Near the Dead that drew me in. When the review request arrived in my inbox I looked it over, pondering it and then kept coming back to it until I had to finally admit that I wasn’t sure whether I would like the book, but there was something about the synopsis that was nagging at me. The synopsis suggests a book that could be pure horror, perhaps a paranormal story or just a plain old thriller. I’m not sure whether Too N Originally posted on Just Geeking by. I’m still not sure what it is about Too Near the Dead that drew me in. When the review request arrived in my inbox I looked it over, pondering it and then kept coming back to it until I had to finally admit that I wasn’t sure whether I would like the book, but there was something about the synopsis that was nagging at me. The synopsis suggests a book that could be pure horror, perhaps a paranormal story or just a plain old thriller. I’m not sure whether Too Near the Dead is going to end up being contemporary fiction, or something that is very much my type of story. And yet there I was going back to it again and again until I had to admit that I needed to know what happens in Too Near the Dead. That is the sign of an excellent synopsis. The answer, as you can see from my rating, is yes; the calibre of writing in Too Near the Dead held up nicely. Grant whisks the reader away to a remote area of Perthshire for a ghost story that will chill you to your bones – and that is coming from someone who does not get chilled to the bones. I have read many horror books and some really odd and weird horror stories in my time, and very rarely do I find myself getting freaked out. However, one night when I was home alone, and I was reading Too Near the Dead I realised very suddenly that I was home, alone, in Scotland on a cold autumn night with just a cat to keep me company. Let’s just say I’m glad that I live in a town near Glasgow and not out in a more rural part of Scotland… Too Near the Dead is a nice mixture of genres that will appeal to a variety of readers. For me, a horror and fantasy fan, there was just the right blend of the supernatural and horror elements with contemporary fiction to keep me hooked. Likewise, this is very much a thriller and a whodunnit mystery that spans a few hundred years. Mix in local history and urban legends, and you’re beginning to get a feeling of what Too Near the Dead is like. It’s all held together by Grant’s wonderful storytelling, which is so good that I was several chapters into the book before I realised it was in present tense, something I normally hate and find quite difficult to read. I had zero issue with it in Too Near the Dead. Fen was a brilliantly genuine protagonist who I appreciated for not being overdramatic, and the same could be said for her fiancé James and the other supporting characters. There is a scene in Too Near the Dead where Fen and James have to deal with a major relationship issue, and in most books it would have become the biggest drama fest in the world. Instead, after the initial argument, they talked about it like the mature adults they were. It didn’t go on for days or end up growing into a huge thing. It’s one of the few times I’ve seen a couple argue in a book and felt like a real life couple was actually being represented. I also really enjoyed the glimpses into the world of publishing and editing offered by Grant through the eyes of her characters. The level of detail given to Fen and James’ history made the story much more interesting and helped me connect with them easier as a reader. Too Near the Dead is one of those books that teaches you to step outside your comfort zone from time to time because you will find a hidden gem. I certainly did with this one, although I won’t be making the mistake of reading something by Helen Grant while home alone again! If you’re looking for a spooky read in the run-up to Halloween, then this is a great one to get you in the mood. For more of my reviews please visit my blog!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Rae

    Thank you to the author, lovebookstours, and to Fledgling Press for sending me a gifted copy of this book in exchange for a book tour and an honest review! Wow, where has this gem been hiding? This was so creepy - we have the big house in the middle of nowhere (off the beaten track and outside of the town), Scottish highland folklore that is actually true (!!), an heroine who has a troubled past and a lot of unresolved grief, and also a budding writer! The location of this book ticked all of the Thank you to the author, lovebookstours, and to Fledgling Press for sending me a gifted copy of this book in exchange for a book tour and an honest review! Wow, where has this gem been hiding? This was so creepy - we have the big house in the middle of nowhere (off the beaten track and outside of the town), Scottish highland folklore that is actually true (!!), an heroine who has a troubled past and a lot of unresolved grief, and also a budding writer! The location of this book ticked all of the boxes, strange town that is very sleepy, with a strange folklore that the locals are afraid of, our heroine Fen is in a place she does not know very well coming from London, and the quiet just might be too much for her. I loved the folklore surrounding the house they are in, and Fen delving into the history of it all - it makes it super real, and you can actually imagine this happening in real life. I can even imagine this happening on the big screen (TV and Movie companies, snatch this up please!). Highly recommend Too Near the Dead, it brought back memories of reading Susan Hill, and watching shows about haunted houses on TV. I am also glad that I couldn't finish the last 20 pages last night, I had to read them this morning and so glad otherwise I don't think I'd have been able to get to sleep!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Hayley Galpin

    I was gifted this book as part of the “Too Near The Dead” book tour from Love Book Tours and Fledgling Press I was so excited to be asked to read this as I love a good creepy book and this did not disappoint! The book follows the dreams and story of Fen, a copy editor who has just moved to a grand new house in rural Scotland with her fiancé, James. As the dreams worsen, Fen sets out to find the truth of the history of the house and the reasons behind the disturbances she is experiencing. The boo I was gifted this book as part of the “Too Near The Dead” book tour from Love Book Tours and Fledgling Press I was so excited to be asked to read this as I love a good creepy book and this did not disappoint! The book follows the dreams and story of Fen, a copy editor who has just moved to a grand new house in rural Scotland with her fiancé, James. As the dreams worsen, Fen sets out to find the truth of the history of the house and the reasons behind the disturbances she is experiencing. The book was dark, spooky and eerie with lots of twists and turns! I loved the historical references relating to the house weaved throughout and how the book explored the notion of putting the past to bed. It was a bit bleak and haunting at times but I loved how descriptive and fast past it was. I was captivated throughout and engrossed in the story (which is a credit to the author as so much is covered in quite a short book). It is a book that is chilling, full of suspense, and hard to put down (although I tried to read before bed and couldn’t as it gave me the absolute creeps!) 😂 Surely a sign of a good book though! 🤷‍♀️ I really enjoyed this book and if you love horror, gothic, spine chilling fiction this won’t disappoint! Would highly recommend!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Nicola Hancock

    An epic read of 45 chapters. The first chapter you have absolutely no idea why or who this person is and why they are where they are. The descriptions made my heart race and my palms sweat it was so intense. The starting chapter instantly gripped me to read on. It bugs me that I didn’t instantly know the first person characters name but I knew all about her husband to be and where he works and the new hours they now live in that’s so different to London. I kept asking the book ‘but who are you’. An epic read of 45 chapters. The first chapter you have absolutely no idea why or who this person is and why they are where they are. The descriptions made my heart race and my palms sweat it was so intense. The starting chapter instantly gripped me to read on. It bugs me that I didn’t instantly know the first person characters name but I knew all about her husband to be and where he works and the new hours they now live in that’s so different to London. I kept asking the book ‘but who are you’. Obviously it wasn’t long until I got the answer to the question I needed. I loved the time hopping as it switched between the now and the back ground build up to where Fen is now. When Belle visits fen at her and James’s new home you start to feel the presence of the horror. Are the dreams really dreams or are they actually real? The relationship between fen and James is so captivating and fresh. Not too romantic but just the right amount needed to make your heart skip a beat. I found this read really sucked me in almost imagining I was Fen. The build up of the story is much needed in this spine tingling eerie read. Once you start it you just want to know more. I love a book that sits on your mind even if you’re having a five minute break to yourself.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Daisy Hollands

    When I tell you this book is chilling, you had better believe I mean ice cold. Just the opening chapter had my skin pricking and the hairs on the back of my neck standing on end. I actually had to stop reading and compose myself because I was holding my breath and starting to feel really uncomfortable. I *loved* it! So creepy and atmospheric - wonderfully written. A story that will trigger myriad emotions in the reader. A gripping, compelling book - one that you don’t want to put down but occasio When I tell you this book is chilling, you had better believe I mean ice cold. Just the opening chapter had my skin pricking and the hairs on the back of my neck standing on end. I actually had to stop reading and compose myself because I was holding my breath and starting to feel really uncomfortable. I *loved* it! So creepy and atmospheric - wonderfully written. A story that will trigger myriad emotions in the reader. A gripping, compelling book - one that you don’t want to put down but occasionally you just have to look away. Spine tingling and remarkable.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Shelley

    I think this might be the best opening chapter I have ever read. Helens writing is so descriptive it draws you in from the beginning and keeps you hooked. This mix of horror, suspense and normality keeps you on your toes from the start and doesn’t let up. Throughout the full book I had absolutely no idea what would happen next. Such an amazing read, I would definitely recommend it for any horror fans out there!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Banbury

    This gothicky novel is quite enjoyable, and, while not quite a page-turner, a reader does have some eagerness to find out what will happen. I like that the gothic tradition is brought into the 21st Century with all its modern technology being integral to the characters' lives (as it is to ours), giving a current sense of reality to a supernatural situation. This gothicky novel is quite enjoyable, and, while not quite a page-turner, a reader does have some eagerness to find out what will happen. I like that the gothic tradition is brought into the 21st Century with all its modern technology being integral to the characters' lives (as it is to ours), giving a current sense of reality to a supernatural situation.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    I absolutely loved this Scottish ghost story from the very first page. It was chilling, atmospheric and somehow quite peaceful too? I actually started reading this as an ebook that was kindly sent to me by @romiewedeservelove from @fledglingpressbooks and enjoyed it so much I knew I needed a physical copy. Anyway, I have no other words to describe how much I enjoyed it! Highly recommend 👏🏼 get it!!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Emily Mulroney

  30. 5 out of 5

    Adaline J.

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