The Haunting of Lamb House

ebook / ISBN-13: 9781399603423

Price: £7.99

ON SALE: 10th November 2022

Genre: Fiction & Related Items

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“LAMB HOUSE is in Rye, an ancient town of East Sussex, England. It is very much a real place, even a famous one, yet The Haunting of Lamb House is as elusive to review as it must have been to write. It is safe to say that no one but Joan Aiken could have written it, not only because she was born in Rye and has the town in her bones as it were, but also because she has the power — shown in her other books — of evoking strange, often eerie events of the past and making other times, places and people vividly alive. This book goes further: She has taken the real history of Lamb House and interwoven happenings that are purely imaginary, working so skillfully that even those who have lived there can hardly tell which is which!”

So wrote novelist Rumer Godden, who also lived in Lamb House. She went on:

“For those who do not sense such things, The Haunting of Lamb House is a most skillful and intriguing interweaving of fact and fiction; to those who do, it is a memorable evocation. In either case it is a little masterpiece.”

Lamb House in Joan Aiken’s birth town of Rye in Sussex is said to be haunted. This is her story of what might have happened to cause the haunting: using the imagined diary of an earlier Mayor of Rye, Toby Lamb, whose father built the handsome Georgian house, and later episodes that might have occurred during the occupancy of two of its famous literary tenants – Henry James and E.F. Benson.

Joan Aiken was born in another haunted house owned by her father Conrad Aiken: Jeake’s House, just around the corner in Mermaid Street, Rye, which she also wrote about in Return to Harken House.

“Joan Aiken has written a clever book, kindling a whole world of feeling out of small macabre details, presenting to the senses a series of apprehensions of reality which seem to touch a completeness beyond themselves. An impressive achievement; I shivered as I admired” Robert Nye, The Guardian

“Joan Aiken’s artful web of truth and fancy is divided into three histories of haunting – the first employs Aiken’s considerable skill in a vivid evocative rendering of the old town of Rye when the house was built…followed by the twenty years of Henry James’ residence. The end is worth waiting for…where E.F.Benson encounters hideous apparitions and even an exorcism in the last enthralling twenty pages” Miranda Seymour, T.L.S.

“Aiken has conjured up a deliciously scary ghost story…her mastery of style serves her well in the creation of three separate voices. Those familiar with Henry James’s writing especially The Turn of The Screwwill derive special enjoyment from this novel, but there are shivers enough for any reader willing to acknowledge the possibility of ghosts and the reality of evil” U.S. Library Journal

“In three interlocking ghost stories this veteran British novelist places a fictional haunting within the history of a real house, and displays a masterly way with several contrasting narrative styles, sympathetically evoking some ghostly presences…the wayward spirit of the house and the growing number of literary presences which gradually take possession” Publisher’s Weekly

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