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Long Lankinby Lindsey Barraclough
Synopses & Reviews
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 aunts 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 its 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.
"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)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Barraclough evokes setting and atmosphere with earthy richness, detailing smells, sounds, blossoms, family life, and decaying architecture with the same attention she gives her portrait of postwar British village culture...the book gives readers shivers enough as Long Lankin, pungent and fetid, emerges to test the heroism of the three protagonists." The Horn Book
"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
"This is a story to get lost in: the gloomy, rain-soaked atmosphere recalls Wilkie Collins' The Woman in White....Those who appreciate old-fashioned chillers will be rewarded by incident after unsettling incident: witchcraft, exorcisms, fire, plagues, and a blood-drinking murderer who walks on all fours." Booklist
"This title is a winner for young horror aficionados." VOYA
"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)
"Long Lankin is an intense journey that is carefully paced and wonderfully dark." Shelf Awareness for Readers
"Like all the best scary stories, this will haunt readers well after the tale has been told, leaving teens who have long thought themselves too old for the bogeyman double-checking the locks on their doors." Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (starred review)
"Genuinely suspenseful and eerie, Long Lankin is a stunning debut by an author with a wonderful feel for things that go bump in the night, and the courage it takes to shine a light on them." Virginian-Pilot
About 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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