The Wayward Girls by Amanda Mason
The Wayward Girls
When you call, they will answer...
With the blurb claiming The Wayward Girls is like The Girls and The Little Stranger, I was absolutely desperate to read it. I love a book about an old house, I love a dual narrative, I love piecing together a story taking place in the past and the present. I love a writer who can harness language to create a haunting and disturbing atmosphere where much is suggested and hinted at until there is no way I can sleep with the light off! I loved The Wayward Girls!
The Wayward Girls has all the ingredients for a chilling and ghostly tale. There is an old house which seems to have an agenda and personality of it's own, there are inquisitive minds and people trying to unearth secrets which have been buried deep under the floorboards - or behind the walls in this case. There is a family with a past, siblings with complicated dynamics, a tragedy and ghosts. There is a mother and a daughter who are at odds and in conflict about the best way to resolve the questions they are presented with as a group of young students begin an investigation to the supernatural goings on at their old family home.
At the beginning of the novel I found the supernatural investigations at the house engaging, although remained fairly sceptical. I'm not a huge supernatural fan but Mason's writing is full of conviction and her ability to create atmosphere, suspense and fear is impressive - before I knew it, I was completely drawn in and totally hooked. The dual narrative between 'Then' and 'Now' is effective in keeping the reader guessing, adding more details, hints, clues, shocks and twists, creating a jigsaw of clues for the reader to try and make sense of. This is perfectly executed throughout the entire novel, ensuring an intriguing yet deeply satisfying and enjoyable read. I really enjoyed the proof of supernatural happenings at the old house versus the families past and the secrets they refuse to admit or share. The conflict between the evidence and the history are cleverly managed and add deep mystery and chills to every single page.
I loved how the two threads from the past and present came together. The pace and dramatic tension is well controlled and from 70% onwards I was completely and utterly hooked. The characters are flawed, secretive and scared ensuring the reader has a complicated relationship with them all and often tricked into a certain response towards them or finding themselves needing to reassess their thoughts. Just like the noises in the house, the truth and perspective in this novel is constantly shifting and the reader is never sure who or what to believe.
This is a disturbing, clever and sinister read, deliciously dark and creepy, which lingers with you for days after you've finished reading.
Do you dare to knock?