It was fast paced. It was chilling. It was vividly real. It was atmospheric.

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It was fast paced. It was chilling. It was vividly real. It was atmospheric. It was scary. It inexorably, unrelentingly pulls the reader to its final conclusion and that conclusion is stunning. Here it is. They want to getaway. When they get to the address in the ad, they find a huge rundown mansion. Ben is convinced that the house is out of reach and wants to leave but Marian is already in love.

They meet the owners, the Allerdyces, who are weirdos. Ben wants to leave but Marian wants to stay, so they compromise and stay. There are some rapey moments from Ben and Mirian becomes obsessed with cleaning and tending to Mrs Allerdyce.

Soon their behaviour escalates and the Rolfes become increasingly distant from each other. The house is clearly influencing their behaviour and casting darkness over their relaxing summer.

This is a SLOW burn of a haunted house novel. The is minimal characterisation and there are moments that feel pivotal but they are never mentioned again. Despite the slow build towards the climax, the ending itself felt rushed.

I can forgive a lot of faults in a book like this, it was written in the early 70s and many things that I find cliche now was groundbreaking then. Stephen King lists this book as a main influence in The Shining and I can see that.

Overall, I enjoyed this book but cannot see myself wanting to revisit this one but it definitely deserves to be read. I recommend this one to anyone that is a fan of a classic haunted house story. Also a clear influence on Stephen King a good number of elements are duplicated in The Shining. The writing is really wonderful, and as fans of Robert Marasco have said time and time again - if it had been written a decade later, he would have been in demand as a horror author.

Even considered ditching it over this disappointment. Ultimately prefer the more subtle and atmospheric "The House Next Door". A very chilling and suspenseful tale. Pulled me in from the beginning until the very end. Anyone who likes The Shining might enjoy this one. Watch the windows. And then drive home with the dome light on, and check that back seat as often as you can.

Four-five years ago, we visited some friends in their new house, in a quaint seaside village, relatively close to Athens. The house was beautifully decorated, in an old-fashioned but nostalgic and inspired way, the family has been friends of ours for years, so no worries there. Yet, not long after we had comfortably placed ourselves in the lovely living room, I wanted to leave. Just like that. And the weird thing is that my parents felt it as well.

It seemed to drain out every bit of energy in us… In this exquisite thriller by Robert Marasco, the vast mansion becomes a summer refuge for the Rolfe family.

At least, this is what Marian wants it to be. Fed up with their noisy New York apartment and the draining city life, she convinces Ben to spend two months in an estate beyond her wildest dream. You may have watched the film version. It made my heart pounding as I was approaching the conclusion, I was appalled and fascinated and under the grip of the tense influence of watching everything falling apart.

The descriptions are razor sharp, building the story and the feeling of a foreboding darkness grows page by page. The dialogue could want for more, but let us not forget that the novel was written in the 70s, a decade that was fascinating and exciting but with colloquations that make us cringe now.

And it seemed to me that the main theme was obsession. The craving for a different life, for what we perceive as mirrors of our identity and how far can we go in order to satisfy it.

What if we have to make the most impossible choice? Would we succumb to an obsession or rise up against it? It all comes down to choices or at least, the illusion that we have a choice and this is exactly what attracted me to this finely woven plot. Marian is highly unsympathetic. Self-centered, manipulative, an all-around bad mother. I never felt sorry for her. Not even for a moment Ben starts out as a bit indifferent, verging on irritating but I found that he was quite complex as the story progressed and in truth?

He was the only one who had a passable percentage of common sense and logical thinking in his mind. Aunt Elizabeth was sympathetic enough, quirky and compassionate. This is a psychological, paranormal thriller that does absolute justice to the genre that is being relentlessly tortured in our current times. There are no gore, no ghosts or jumpscares.

But there is something far more frightening than any of these. Human obsession. The root for most evils in our lives. The way we choose to blind ourselves to sustain our illusions, the price we sometimes have to pay for not listening to our instinct and run…..


Burnt Offerings

Marian Rolfe, devoted homemaker, lives for her apartment — its subtle yet elegant decoration, acquisition of antique pieces and obsessive sessions of polishing and placing meant to drive her husband and young son to distraction. What better place, then, could she possibly spend the summer than at the Allardyce Mansion with all of its elaborate rooms, carved doors, spiraling staircases, glittering chandeliers, and extensive grounds? Allardyce aka Mother , remains hidden in her chamber, requiring solitude and three meals on trays a day. Ben Rolfe is no match for the crazed enthusiasm of his wife who sees the work of restoration as a passion and the summer as an elaborate treasure hunt with antiques coming to glowing life beneath her adept fingers. The atmosphere is crafted to evoke the ostentatious grandeur of old places and the beauty of bygone things, something antique lovers like myself immediately feel compelled to embrace, yet Marasco embeds an undercurrent of paranoia.


Robert Marasco

Burnt Offerings by Robert Marasco Hello everyone. I hope you are having a good week. During the last blog post I took a trip down memory lane, a little blast to the past, and talked about reading the novel Hell House and watching the movie The Legend of Hell House. Another movie we used to watch was Burnt Offerings.


Burnt Offerings

Posted on November 30, by skullsinthestars For many years, I marveled at what appeared to be a genuine dearth of quality haunted house novels. Burnt Offerings has made me rethink and add to the classification. A house which is simply hostile to anyone who tries to live inside of it, and inevitably chases out those who are within. The Amityville Horror and The Elementals are stories like this. In the end, the secret is revealed — which may or may not end the evil.

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