Long Lankin

( 10 )

Overview

In an exquisitely chilling debut novel, four children unravel the mystery of a family curse ? and a ghostly creature known in folklore as Long Lankin.

When Cora and her younger sister, Mimi, are sent to stay with their elderly aunt in the isolated village of Byers Guerdon, they receive a less-than-warm welcome. Auntie Ida is eccentric and rigid, and the girls are desperate to go back to London. But what they don?t know is that their aunt?s life was devastated the last time two ...

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Long Lankin

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Overview

In an exquisitely chilling debut novel, four children unravel the mystery of a family curse — and a ghostly creature known in folklore as Long Lankin.

When Cora and her younger sister, Mimi, are sent to stay with their elderly aunt in the isolated village of Byers Guerdon, they receive a less-than-warm welcome. Auntie Ida is eccentric and rigid, and the girls are desperate to go back to London. But what they don’t know is that their aunt’s life was devastated the last time two young sisters were at Guerdon Hall, and she is determined to protect her nieces from an evil that has lain hidden for years. Along with Roger and Peter, two village boys, Cora must uncover the horrifying truth that has held Bryers Guerdon in its dark grip for centuries — before it’s too late for little Mimi. Riveting and intensely atmospheric, this stunning debut will hold readers in its spell long after the last page is turned.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
This atmospheric, pulse-pounding debut makes the most of its rural, post–World War II setting, a time and place where folklore uneasily informs reality. Barraclough controls her narrative with authority, shifting voices and tenses to provide both perspective and the occasional welcome respite from tension. . .A good, old-fashioned literary horror tale for sophisticated readers.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

This debut horror story set in Britain during the late 1940s starts slowly but weaves a chilling spell that will immerse readers in this world and hold them through to the breathless conclusion. . . .A spine-tingling selection.
—School Library Journal

Publishers Weekly
Something's wrong with Cora and Mimi's mother, so their father sends them to live with their Aunt Ida, and she is none too happy when they arrive. Guerdon Hall, the sisters' temporary home, is immense, dark, and terrifying, both to them and to Aunt Ida. First published in the U.K., Barraclough's debut, which is based on a centuries-old British ballad, is a ghost story through and through, chock-full of mysterious apparitions, strange voices, cryptic warnings, and townsfolk who chorus beware, all of which frighten Cora and her new friend, a local boy named Roger, and compel them to uncover the mystery hovering over Guerdon Hall. Told in alternating first-person narratives belonging to Cora, Roger, and Aunt Ida, Barraclough's prose is often poetic; while beautiful, it also makes this strange story dense and initially difficult to access. Readers will likely get a sense of where the story is headed early on, but uncovering the complicated, sad history of Ida's life and the ways in which Cora and Mimi have become tangled in its legacy will compel them to its finish. Ages 12–up. (July)
Children's Literature - Jody Little
When Cora and her little sister, Mimi, arrive at their Aunt's Ida's home in the remote village of Bryers Guerdon, they have no idea what frightening mysteries await them. Aunt Ida is strangely nervous about the girls being in her home, and she contacts their father to pick them up immediately. Cora finds a creepy picture on the wall and she hears a voice chanting a song. When the girls befriend some neighbors, Roger and Pete, they begin to explore the nearby church and graveyard, even though they have been forbidden to be there. As more dark and eerie things begin to happen, Cora and Roger realize that Aunt Ida is hiding secrets from them, secrets of past happenings in the village. They set out to find answers about the ghost-like children in the graveyard, the sign that reads "Cave Bestiam" and the cursed spirit known as Long Lankin, who is said to straddle the plane between the living and dead, feasting on small children. The story's climax is frightening and disturbing as multiple characters come together to free Bryers Guerdon from the evil Long Lankin. Inspired by a haunting folk tale about murder, and written in multiple points of view, this novel is dark and complex. Some readers may struggle to understand the back story and interwoven pasts of the characters. Reviewer: Jody Little
VOYA - Donna Miller
Two sisters, one of them quite young; two curious village boys; an elderly aunt forced to foster the sisters despite her objections; an isolated, English village; and an unspeakable evil force, lurking in an ancient graveyard, waiting to devour its next, young victim—these plot elements meld into a dark, suspenseful debut novel that will captivate fans of the macabre. The town of Bryers Guerdon lies in a kind of suspended animation until a new female child awakens the creature and his (Long Lankin's) insatiable thirst for human life. When Lily and her little sister, Cora, are sent by their father to live with Auntie Ida, an age-old curse comes back to life. Not only is Ida's creepy family home haunted with a previous victim's spirit but the entire village is under the grip of Long Lankin, an evil force so powerful that no one has been able to destroy him, despite numerous attempts. Cora will shortly become the next victim unless someone can break the grip of this evil force and return the village and its inhabitants to a safe, peaceful existence. As Lily, accompanied by Roger and Peter, attempts to uncover the secrets of the past in an effort to protect Cora, Ida continues to keep the girls secluded, not realizing that this makes them more vulnerable than ever to this horrible creature. Although Briticisms may be off-putting for some, this title is a winner for young horror aficionados. Reviewer: Donna Miller
School Library Journal
Gr 5–10—Children have gone missing for centuries in Byers Guerdon, and rumors of a dark curse and a ravenous evil haunt those who choose to remain there. When 12-year-old Cora and her little sister, Mimi, are sent to live with their elderly aunt in Guerdon Hall, their only wish is to go home and have nothing more to do with creepy old houses and secretive adults. Then, they meet two of the village boys and explore places best left alone, awakening a monster and resurrecting the nightmare once more. Can Cora save her sister from the clutches of Long Lankin and end the curse once and for all? This debut horror story set in Britain during the late 1940s starts slowly but weaves a chilling spell that will immerse readers in this world and hold them through to the breathless conclusion. With densely packed writing and a heavy dose of historical slang and colloquialisms unfamiliar to North American readers, this is a story for sophisticated readers who enjoy a good scare. Fans of Clare B. Dunkle's atmospheric horror stories such as By These Ten Bones (2005) and House of Dead Maids (2010, both Holt) are likely to enjoy this spine-tingling selection.—Stephanie Whelan, New York Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
A thoroughly terrifying, centuries-old monster stalks two children sent from London to stay with their great-aunt in the country. Cora and little sister Mimi's Auntie Ida could hardly be less welcoming when they show up at her door, sent by their father while their Mum, always prone to "funny moods," is away--again. They must keep the windows and doors locked, even though the crumbling old house is steaming in the summer heat. They mustn't explore in the house, or go down to the marshes, or--especially--go down to the old church. Roger and his brother Pete, local boys, are also forbidden to go there, but when the four children fall in together, down to the church they go--and wake up Long Lankin. He likes them young. This atmospheric, pulse-pounding debut makes the most of its rural, post–World War II setting, a time and place where folklore uneasily informs reality. Barraclough controls her narrative with authority, shifting voices and tenses to provide both perspective and the occasional welcome respite from tension. The actual threat remains mostly unknown for almost the first half of the book, evident mostly in the long scratches by the door, the fetid stench of the church, the secretiveness of the villagers and, overwhelmingly, Auntie Ida's frank terror. If some of the historical exposition comes very conveniently, readers won't care--they will be too busy flipping the pages as Long Lankin closes in. A good, old-fashioned literary horror tale for sophisticated readers. (Historical fantasy. 10-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763669379
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 7/8/2014
  • Pages: 464
  • Sales rank: 586,654
  • Age range: 12 - 18 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Lindsey Barraclough was born in Essex, England, and has worked as a music teacher. Long Lankin is her first novel. She lives in London.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 10 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 27, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    A great scary story for a late night

    Long Lankin
    Lindsey Barraclough
    YA Thirller
    Rating: PG-13 (for potentially scary content for some readers)
    Coffee Beans: 5/5
    Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for this honest review.

    Publisher’s Summary
    A chilling, beautiful debut novel inspired by a haunting folk song about murder, witchcraft and revenge. Beware of Long Lankin, that lives in the moss ...When Cora and her little sister Mimi are sent to stay with their elderly aunt in the isolated village of Bryers Guerdon, they receive a less than warm welcome, and are desperate to go back to London. But Auntie Ida's life was devastated the last time two young girls were at Guerdon Hall, and now her nieces' arrival has reawoken an evil that has lain waiting for years. A haunting voice in an empty room ...A strange, scarred man lurking in the graveyard ...A mysterious warning, scrawled on the walls of the abandoned church ...Along with Roger and Peter, two young village boys, Cora must uncover the horrifying truth that has held Bryers Guerdon in its dark grip for centuries - before it is too late for Mimi. Intensely atmospheric and truly compelling, this is a stunning debut.
    My Review
    I’m never waiting this long to write a review for a book I love again. It was so good I thought I’d always remember about its detailed awesomeness, but I was wrong. Life intervened and I forgot most of what made this book great except for the blinding fact that it is great.
    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I hardly ever get scared reading books. I’m more of a visual person when it comes to being scared. But Long Lankin broke that curse. I can’t even tell you how many times that book gave me goose bumps and just that all over creepy feeling. This is one of those books that I will recommend to everyone I come in contact with and it’s one that will be added to The Shelf.
    The story is told from the point of view of three different people: Cora, Roger, and Aunt Ida. Each adding different pieces of the puzzle to the eerie tale of Long Lankin and the old church in the Marshes. The point of view is mostly from Cora, with Roger coming up as a close second. Aunt Ida’s voice only makes an appearance when some especially creepy revelation needs to be made. But with all of these characters, even the ones whose voices we don’t hear, the reader is given a good, round sense of who they are and what they’re like as people.
    The setting is also what makes this story. 1940’s English countryside in a small town filled with small-minded people. A haunted church that’s half sunk into the marshes, ghostly children, a scary painting, doors and windows sealed shut (let me tell you, while I was reading this, all the doors and windows in our house were shut tight), a crazy aunt, witches…the list goes on.
    Be prepared for this, though: It’s a long book, and a heavy book. At 450 pages, don’t expect to just breeze through it. There’s a lot of history, names, events, etc that need to be kept track of. Half the time I felt like I needed to be taking notes to keep everything straight and to make sure I got the full impact of the storytelling.
    But it was worth it. I will for sure be reading this again.
    Happy Reading!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 12, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Chapter by Chapter's review of Long Lankin

    Creepy! That pretty much sums up this book for me. Those tales that your parents used to tell you to scare you into being good…what if they were real? What if they weren’t tales at all, and were in fact true, and just waiting for the right moment to present itself again?

    A story set in England, Long Langkin follows sisters, Cora and Mimi, as they journey to their Auntie Ida’s home to live while their father gets his life on track, and a mother who is not able to take proper care of them. Auntie Ida is not at all happy to see them show up on her doorstep, and does what she can to persuade their father to collect them and get them as far away from Guerdon Hall as possible.

    During their stay at Auntie Ida’s, Cora and Mimi are befriended by brothers Roger and Peter. Always looking for an adventure and as curious as children are, Roger and Peter take Cora and Mimi to a church that Auntie Ida has warned them not to set foot on. It is after their first visit to this church that things start becoming eerie. Something has stirred and is now craves what he has been waiting for, for decades…Mimi. Long Langkin is awake…and he’s hungry…

    I had pretty much reserved reading this book for late night thrills. Although it did seem to take a bit for the story to start to progress, there were points, even in the beginning, that gave me the heebie jeebies. The descriptions of the surroundings, of the noises that could be heard, the feelings of being watched, the fear, the worry…everything combined is what wrapped this story into an unforgettable package.

    The characters themselves were wonderfully written. Author, Lindsey Barraclough, really did a fantastic job writing in the point of view of multiple characters, of different age groups. Long Langkin is told through the eyes of mainly Cora, Roger, and Auntie Ida. Due to old letters that are found in the home, we are also treated to the POV of characters in the past, which helped in building more of the storyline. The Chapters are separated with dates, and the span of the story is pretty much 22 days. The point of view changes various times in the chapters, which allows the reader to see what is happening from different aspects. You would think that it would be quite confusing with the jumping around of POV’s but it was done seamlessly, efficiently titled as to whose POV we are reading.

    When the truly scary parts started to happen, I was in a trance. I couldn’t tear myself away from the pages! The descriptions of the hunter vs. the hunted was done so well. I was able to picture every little detail of what was happening! I was terrified for this group of characters! I was literally yelling at my book, telling them what to do, where to go…to hide, to run! Suffice to say, they did not heed my warnings. Long Langkin is definitely a nightmare come to life. The writing found within the pages of this book is incredible, and well worth the read.

    I also loved reading the sisterly love aspect of this book. Although it did annoy me to no end how mean Cora was to her little sister Mimi, when push comes to shove, your sister is your sister and you would do whatever it takes to save her.

    I recommend Long Langkin to fans of scary reads, and are definitely in need of some creep factor. If you want something that will have you start to question the sounds in the middle of the night, you definitely want to pick up this book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 25, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Creeptastic!

    Wow, this book was creepy! I didn't think it'd be that scary since it's a YA novel, but it was. I feel like bricking up all of my windows, just to be safe. Do not read this book alone at night, whatever you do. Trust me. You will be sorry. Barraclough will trick you into thinking you're safe when you're really not. She does this repeatedly throughout the novel, yet somehow, you never learn. Don't say I didn't warn you.


    Long Lankin is one of those novels that gets into your head, and while you're reading it, the outside world disappears. I really enjoyed getting to know all of the characters, and every single character was well-developed. Aunt Ida was a bit unsettling, to say the least, but most of the characters were quite enjoyable. Cora was a very intriguing and brave character. It was clear that she'd do anything for her little sister, Mimi. She never backed down, and she was willing to do what it took to save Mimi. Roger served as the comic relief, of sorts. I'm glad that someone was there to lighten the mood, or the book may have been to intense for me. Roger was a sweet kid, though, and I really enjoyed his and Cora's interactions.


    The plot was compelling, intriguing, and horrifying. This is one of those books that you can't put down, and even though some parts are scary, so you sit there making horrified faces at the book while you read, and hold the book as far away from your face as you can in order to "protect yourself" from it, you still can't put it down. That's the mark of a good horror story, if you ask me. I'm pretty sure my cat thought I was having some sort of facial muscle spasms/nervous twitches while I was reading this book. At least I read it during daylight hours.


    The pacing for this book was pretty spot on, but the ending did feel rushed. I felt like the entire ending could have been explained more and slowed down a bit. Overall, though, the pacing worked for me. I never felt like the story was dragging, and it only moved too quickly at the very end. The information was woven gracefully into the narrative, and I didn't feel like there weren't any massive info dumps to break up the flow of the story.


    Overall, I really enjoyed this book, even if it did creep me out. Barraclough is obviously a master of suspense, and she did a terrific job of alternating back and forth between giving the reader a false sense of security and scaring them. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good scary story!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2013

    You will not be disapointed with this book. It is definitely wor

    You will not be disapointed with this book. It is definitely worth your time and money! Lindsey Barracloughs' first novel, Long Lankin, is a very iantriguing, suspensfull, horror book. The characters and the setting work beuitifully together allong with an old folk song that implies r murder, deception, and a haunting ghostly witch craft. It's scary, eerie, and all around interesting! I could picture almost the whole story like a movie in my head. Strangely, the book had a somewhat warm and cozy feeling to it that made me want to keep reading!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2014

    This book had so much promise, but it began to fall apart about

    This book had so much promise, but it began to fall apart about halfway through. What began as a truly creepy, nail-biting story quickly turned into one so ridiculous and inane, I could barely bring myself to finish it. I'm only glad I borrowed it from the library and didn't waste any money in the process.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2013

    Worth reading

    I don't usually rate or review books online but this book is good! A little sad and definitely creepy. There aren't any crazy plot twists that you won't see coming, but the story moves nice and will keep you interested. My only issue was the author's heavy use of "British" vocabulary. I had to look a few words up to make sure I understood what was being said. Still, this is definitely worth reading!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2013

    A suspenseful and eerie tale rich with detail and imagery. Delig

    A suspenseful and eerie tale rich with detail and imagery. Delightfully different. Audiobook is very well done.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2012

    Loved this book. It was such a page turner. Excellent writing st

    Loved this book. It was such a page turner. Excellent writing style, made you really feel like you were there. Go out and buy this book!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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