Book Review: The Nursery by Bill Thompson

I acquired this book for free in exchange for a review via NetGalley and Ascendente Books, which is part of Smith Publicity.

The Nursery is the third instalment of Bill Thompson’s Bayou Hauntings series about two reporters, Callie Pilantro and Landry Drake, as they explore alleged haunted houses for their TV show.

The Nursery is about a house which has been empty for 50 years, until Jordan Blanchard moved in with his twin daughters. The girls are delighted to find the house equipped with a nursery full of toys and games. It was as if the house was waiting for them to arrive. However, Jordan realises there may be something else – something sinister – waiting for them in the house too.

I like the idea of a haunted nursery full of old toys and creepy dolls with unsettling, glazed stares  had hoped The Nursery would be a dark and Gothic haunted house story. Unfortunately, there were limited descriptions of the house itself, as the book jumps straight into the story. I think this was a missed opportunity for some wonderfully vivid, Gothic descriptions.

The most puzzling part of The Nursery is the depiction of ghosts themselves. Jordan’s daughters encounter the ghost of a woman who desperately wanted to become a mother, but was unable to before she died. Initially, I thought this was going to be terrifying, expecting the ghost to gradually take control of the girls and claim them as her own. However, to the reader, the ghost is presented in quite a friendly way; she talks to the girls cheerfully – who fondly call her “Cherry” – and plays games with them.

It would be much scarier if the reader was never introduced to “Cherry” and merely observed the girls playing, talking, or laughing with thin air.  This means the reader cannot fully sympathise with Jordan – who cannot see “Cherry” and fears he is going crazy. This makes it seem as if everyone, including the reader, are sharing a private joke at Jordan’s expense.

Having said that, the tension does increase once it becomes clear that there is not only spiritual activity in the house but human criminal activity.

Overall, The Nursery isn’t really what I expected; I had hoped it would be a scary ghost story. Unfortunately, it is more similar in genre to a supernatural or crime thriller with elements of the ghostly added in.

The Nursery was published in December 2018. It is available to buy as a paperback or e-book from Amazon.

Star Rating: 2.5/5 Stars

– Judith

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