Friday 5 November 2021

Book Review | The House of Dust by Noah Broyles | prettylittlewriter

Thank you so much to Noah for sending me a copy of your novel to review! 


Deep in the of rural Tennessee, sits the forgotten town of Three Summers. Mere miles away, on an overgrown river island, stands the house that once presided over the grand plantation of Angel’s Landing,

Failing crime writer Bradley Ellison and former prostitute Missy Holiday are drawn to this place, fleeing a world turned against them. For Brad, it is work—he must find a compelling story before the true-crime magazine he writes for judges him expendable. For Missy, it is recuperation—four years at "the club" have left her drained.

But the price of peace is high, and soon Brad and Missy discover that something hides behind the quiet. Something moves in the night. Something that manifests itself in bizarre symbols and disturbing funeral rites. Something that twists back through time and clings in the dust of the ancient house. A presence they must uncover before their own past catches up with them.’

It took me a while to realise that Brad and Missy’s timelines are different; Missy Holiday is years before Brad, and their timelines do meet at the very beginning when Brad first shows up in Three Summers, but it is not apparent until later on that they are different (a little bit of a spoiler, but may help you understand the book more if you read this review before you read the novel!).

At the very beginning of the novel, Brad is running from his problems and has made the decision to kill himself, which is why he ends up in Three Summers, looking for water to take some pills with. This was a shocking start to the book, with my intrigue piqued to find out what has happened for him to make this decision.  When a grey-haired woman knocks on his car window and asks if he’s the doctor, he finds himself saying yes, and being taken to the house at Angel’s Landing, for a woman in apparent need of a doctor.

I found the writing style very dark, gothic and with plenty of metaphors. Noah’s descriptive writing of the town, the house and the land around it was so intense and incredibly compelling.

The skipping between the different timelines was a little confusing at times, especially at the beginning when I didn’t realise that Missy was not Brad’s fiancĂ©e. We also get a first person narrative as Brad writes for his magazine at the beginning of each chapter, Southern Gothic, and then it switches to third person for the actual story.

Both our main characters of Brad and Missy were likeable, especially Missy, who is very damaged but a delicate and caring soul, who gives sympathy to those who don’t even necessarily deserve it (A boy called Roy who hurts a cat so bad it goes brain dead, ends up needing her help later on).

The small town with all its inhabitants feels very much like a cult, with bizarre rituals and beliefs that seem to cause absolute chaos at times.

Overall, I did enjoy the novel, and I was rooting for the characters to have a happy ending (more-so Missy as she’s had such a terrible life and I wanted her to have some happiness), but I did find myself putting off reading it as I found it quite a difficult at times due to the disjointed writing style. I would definitely recommend to anyone that loves a true gothic novel, with some frightening scenes and a rural southern setting.

4/5 stars

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