Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling

( 3 )

Overview

When the nanny to the young Darrow boys is found mysteriously murdered on the outskirts of the village of Blackfield, Charlotte Markham, the recently hired governess, steps in to take over their care. During an outing in the forest, they find themselves crossing over into The Ending, "the place for the Things Above Death," where Lily Darrow, the late mother of the children, has been waiting. She invites them into the House of Darkling, a wondrous place filled with enchantment, mystery, and strange creatures that ...

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Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling

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Overview

When the nanny to the young Darrow boys is found mysteriously murdered on the outskirts of the village of Blackfield, Charlotte Markham, the recently hired governess, steps in to take over their care. During an outing in the forest, they find themselves crossing over into The Ending, "the place for the Things Above Death," where Lily Darrow, the late mother of the children, has been waiting. She invites them into the House of Darkling, a wondrous place filled with enchantment, mystery, and strange creatures that appear to be, but are not quite, human.

However, everything comes with a price, and as Charlotte begins to understand the unspeakable bargain Mrs. Darrow has made for a second chance at motherhood, she uncovers a connection to the sinister occurrences in Blackfield and enters into a deadly game with the master of Darkling—one whose outcome will determine the fate of not just the Darrows but the world itself.

Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling is a Victorian Gothic tale about family ties, the realm beyond the living, and the price you pay to save those you love.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Debut author Boccacino bowls the reader over with his note-perfect rendition of a spooky Victorian atmosphere. Widower Henry Darrow employs governess Charlotte Markham, a young widow, to tutor his sons, James and Paul. Following a sinister murder in the village and housekeeper Mrs. Norman's lurid forebodings, Paul dreams of his mother in parallel to Charlotte's own eerie dreams of the dead, including her dead mother. Paul's vision leads to a reunion and to an implied struggle between the two women for control of the children. Many of the characters also encounter other beings, some with malevolent designs that echo past terrors from Charlotte's life. The complex reverberations of mirror images, dramatic parallels among those who are "bound by our grief," and vicarly exhortations on the nature of the supernatural lead Charlotte to acknowledge her attraction to Darrow and realize her role as a bridge between two worlds—a role that necessitates a terrible final choice. Boccacino's deft handling of this delicately supernatural period piece makes it a sterling genre selection. Agent: Sandy Lu, L. Perkins Agency. (Aug.)
Katherine Webb
“A lyrical and visceral adventure into a realm beyond time and death.”
Jonathan Maberry
“Thanks to Michael Boccacino the Gothic is reborn! Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling is an elegant, intelligent, and compelling debut novel. Bravo!”
Christopher Ransom
“Michael Boccacino has delivered a studied, enchanting, and most welcome contribution to the Gothic literary landscape rolling back to Brontë and du Maurier. . . . This is not one to miss.”
Susie Moloney
“With Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling, Boccacino has created a new vision of the Afterlife, at one moment stunningly beautiful and full of wonder, the next, darkly sinister and without pity. A remarkable book. Michael Boccacino is a writer to watch.”
Booklist
“Fantasy and fact blur as Boccacino excels in twisting and turning the plot in increasingly unexpected directions. Perfect reading for a dark and stormy night.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062122612
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 7/24/2012
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 1,377,885
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Boccacino's poetry has been published in the St. Petersburg Times. He currently works and lives in New York City. This is his first novel.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
Rating Distribution

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(2)

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 24, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    This is not your Disney water color fairy tale, but something mu

    This is not your Disney water color fairy tale, but something much darker along the lines of the Grimm fairy tales when you open the cover of Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling by Michael Boccacino. You are immediately taken back to the Victorian age and the writing is unremarkable and polished as the writer takes you back to a sinister event, the piercing scream of a women in the dark of night. Charlotte Markham has awakened from a bizarre dream with her dead parents and a Christmas ball, not knowing if the scream she has heard is real or not. As she begins investigating the house at night, she is called downstairs by the staff and learns that Nanny Prum has been violently murdered in the forest. When they question the Constable Brickner's findings he truly believes no man is capable of this act and resolves the answer to an animal killing her. However, Charlotte's friend Suzanna witnessed a man in black hovering over the body and believes he is the one who committed the murder.

    It seems that Charlotte has a bit of history with the man in black who appears whenever death has been near, first with her father, then with her late husband Jonathan and now the sighting of him near Nanny Prum's body. Hired as a governess to work for Mr. Darrow, who has also lost his wife, Lily, Charlotte now assumes the role of carrying for the young children, Paul and James since Nanny Prum's death. Charlotte is warned by the housekeeper, Mrs. Norman that she tried to warn Nanny Prum of her fate and now warns her that she must be watchful and keep her eyes open as well, but offers no explanation as to why. It seems that death is watching over the house of Everton and with it keeping those inside bound to a half life, one between the living and mourning over the loss of those who have died.


    One afternoon during a worrisome day of teaching, Charlotte invites to boys to take to drawing or writing prose about one of their dreams which provides her an insight she never truly imagined before. James, the youngest, draws a picture of the Spider Queen whom he tells Charlotte, lives under his bed eating goblins that would seek to torment him. When she inquires that that should be a good thing, he replies, that she gets mad at him. When she pushes even further, he tells her that he is gathering parts of her silver strands of web to save his mother.

    Paul, the oldest, explains that his drawing is of a map showing the forest at the edge of their property. Beyond that lies an orchard and a house with he believes his mother waits for them. Charlotte realizes that both of these boys are still dealing with the death of their mother in remarkably different ways and when challenged by James to follow the map, she doesn't see any harm in showing them that dreams don't bring back the dead. Until as they begin to follow the map beyond the forest, where a misty fog lies that blocks out the sun, an orchard and The House of Darkling await them all.

    I received Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling by Michael Boccacino compliments of William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins Publishers for my honest review. This is a dark fictional book where the worlds of life and death literally lay buried in the fog and where the middle ground between the two world lies ripe for a war for human souls. I love the writing style of Michael Boccacino who has used his own experiences with the death of his mother and the way he dealt with the grief as his inspiration for the writing of this novel. I rate this one a 4 out of 5 stars and can't wait to read more books from him in the near future.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 24, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Otherworldly Characters & Oddities Intrigue

    I’m not quite sure about calling this a Victorian gothic tale as I can’t quite place the time period through the language, clothing, and social aspects used within – it seems to be more a of mish-mash of time periods – which is OK if you go into knowing that and not expecting a purely Victorian time period.

    It is a gothic tale though and the world that the Darrow boys and Charlotte cross over into is mesmerizing. While I am not one to do comparisons, I can’t help saying that those portions felt like Tim Burton and Neil Gaiman had a love child that decided to create an alternate reality. It’s kind of like that and I kind of loved it.

    What I didn’t get was the fact that Charlotte is playing a “game” with the master of Darkling, whom Mrs. Darrow is indebted to. I felt lost as I never saw what moves he was actually making, because it wasn’t from his point of view. And it just didn’t feel sinister enough to me – not like it should have for what was on the line.

    I did enjoy the characters that were otherworldly as they were creatures, some that pretended to be human and some that clearly couldn’t care less. The oddities that came with those characters were inventive and intriguing and if we would have stayed with them the entire time I wouldn’t have minded one bit.

    ARC reviewed by Jessica for Book Sake.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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