Monday, August 3, 2009

Debut Showcase: The Birthing House

The Birthing House (Amazon USA - UK - Canada)
By Christopher Ransom (US Website, UK Website)
UK Publisher: Little, Brown (Sphere) (Jan. 1, 2009)
USA Publisher: St. Martin's Press (Aug. 4, 2009)
Excerpt (pdf)

Sphere's Blurb:
When Conrad Harrison impulse-buys a big old house in Wisconsin, his wife Jo doesn't share his enthusiasm, reluctant at the idea of leaving their LA life - so Conrad is left to set up their new home as she ties up loose ends at work. But Conrad's new purchase is not all that it seems. Soon Conrad is hearing the ghostly wailing of a baby in the night, seeing blood on the floor and being haunted by a woman who looks exactly like Jo. With his wife away, Conrad becomes obsessed by the pregnant girl next door, Nadia, who claims to be a victim of the evil in the house. The crying leads him to a bricked-up body, and the mystery of the Birthing House unravels, pulling in Jo, Nadia and leading Conrad to a nightmarish conclusion...

Sphere sent me this book during the Spring Annual Book Rush, when I get more books than I can possibly read. Since things have slowed down, I am now sampling this novel. I actually like the US publisher's blurb better, so here it is:

It was expecting them.

Conrad and Joanna Harrison, a young couple from Los Angeles, attempt to save their marriage by leaving the pressures of the city to start anew in a quiet, rural setting. They buy a Victorian mansion that once served as a haven for unwed mothers, called a birthing house. One day when Joanna is away, the previous owner visits Conrad to bequeath a vital piece of the house’s historic heritage, a photo album that he claims “belongs to the house.” Thumbing through the old, sepia-colored photographs of midwives and fearful, unhappily pregnant girls in their starched, nineteenth-century dresses, Conrad is suddenly chilled to the bone: staring back at him with a countenance of hatred and rage is the image of his own wife….

Thus begins a story of possession, sexual obsession, and, ultimately, murder, as a centuries-old crime is reenacted in the present, turning Conrad and Joanna’s American dream into a relentless nightmare.

But what really makes it interesting to me is something I found on the author's US website:

Every haunted house tells the story of someone’s death. But what about the house where life has not ended, but only began? If death can be a traumatic event that opens doors to evil, what about that other traumatic event? The one that does not usher life out of this world, but into it?

Ok, this is different enough to intrigue me. Interesting that this didn't find its way in either blurb.



suzie townsend said...

Interesting - although it still kind of sounds like several of those haunted house horror movies. Hope it's good :)

Kimber Li said...

Oh, wow, if I hadn't recently given birth myself, I'd be all over this book like a bad rash. But, I have, so I'd have terrible nightmares if I read it right now. I'll put in my To-Be-Read-After-Christmas List.

It kinda has the same feel as a YA Paranormal I read recently which totally blew me away.

Tia Nevitt said...

The Amazon reviews for the US release are mixed, but the reviews in the UK are terrible. The author got a lot of good reviews otherwise, though.

-.- said...

The cover is what made me want to read this book and after I read the blurb, it cemented it. I love a good haunted house story.

~ Popin

Raven said...

Hmm, horror isn't usually my thing, but this does sound interesting.

Tia Nevitt said...

Raven, shall I include it in your next package?

Kimber, you probably didn't see my review of THE STARS BLUE YONDER, in which I thought this book was just for you, because you were probably still recovering from your recent delivery. I think you would love it.

Raven said...

Tia, yes, please. :) If you don't want to read this yourself, I'd like to. I sampled the first few paragraphs and love the writing style.

Kimber Li said...

Thanks, Tia!

Yep, missed it. I'll check it out now. I'm slowly pulling out of the baby-fog.
I'm still reading, just more slowly and not on a schedule. I should have my review of THE KING'S DAUGHTERS by Nathalie Mallet up soon.

Rabid Fox said...

Haunted house stories may be old hat, but I likes 'em. I like the sounds of this one. And that cover adds just the right amount of creep factor.

Mishel (P.S. I Love Books) said...

I have this on my wishlist. I think the it was the US Publishers blurb that I read.