Thursday 13 January 2022

WHEN DARKNESS LOVES US by Elizabeth Engstrom


When Darkness Loves UsWhen Darkness Loves Us by Elizabeth Engstrom
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After reading Paperbacks from Hell, I was very interested in checking out some of the many intriguing and bizarre books Grady Hendrix featured in that lovely book. And this is one of them.

This book consists of two novellas.

WHEN DARKNESS LOVES US is such a creepy and twisted tale about a young girl who gets trapped inside some underground tunnels. She lives a lonely and blind life while knowing every second of the day that her husband and family are getting on with their lives above. And none of them know she's there, right beneath their feet. Not that it changes anything once they do.

Yikes! 😳

Sally Ann Hixson starts out as a frail teenager pining after her husband and eventually becomes someone—something—very different. It was fascinating to watch what happens to her as the years move along. And totally terrifying when the story takes a turn for the very unexpected. It's actually quite sickening and gross, but considering everything that happened, that ugly ending made total sense.

BEAUTY IS... turned out to be such an amazing novella! AMAZING. It's sad and wonderful, creepy and inspiring. It's also dark and horrendous. Martha is such a great character. A grown woman with a learning disability and a facial deformity that keeps her at a distance from a town full of people willing to help her because of her mother's legacy. Well, most of them. And her mother Fern is a great and strong woman with an otherworldly ability she ultimately couldn't use on her own daughter. 😞

I absolutely LOVED the incredible pacing of this story. Everything unfolds in the alternating POVs of Martha and Fern, leading us down two different timelines that perfectly complement each other. All the pieces of the puzzle fit together so well and eventually reveal the most awful secret.

Like the first novella, this has a soul-crushing ending that made every moment spent with these struggling women so worth it.

The true monsters in both of these tales are the cruel humans who selfishly destroy everyone who gets in their way or doesn't fit into their idea of what is owed to them.

Elizabeth Engstrom has a beautiful and macabre way of telling stories that I found very appealing. I will definitely have to read more of her books. Definitely.

Oh, and one last thing. I love this cover because creepy dolls are my thing, but didn't realise exactly how perfect it is until I was reading Martha's lonely story.

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