Chingle Hall

Chingle Hall by Zowie Swan
Published 2021 by Safety Pin Publishing, UK

I don’t want to do anything that will spoil this superb story, so this review will be relatively short!

Living in Australia, (it’s almost Christmas and midsummer here) I’m always looking for books especially that transport me to other places and times and I love horror in all its forms best of all. This story spans generations and is told from the point of view of various women who live in the titular manor house across the years. It came as no surprise to me when researching for this review, that Chingle Hall is a real place and considered one of the most haunted places in the UK. Swan has given her characters tremendous depth and a believability that transcends the tonal shifts in narration.

Chingle Hall is a very well written supernatural thriller that gripped me from start to finish. It has a bittersweet edge that has stayed with me since I finished reading and I particularly appreciated the beautifully drawn and relatable female characters.

I was offered an E-Book by Safety Pin Publishing in return for an honest review and once again, they’ve come up with the goods. Highly recommended!

The Fylde Witch

The Fylde Witch by Chris Newton.
Published 2021 by Safety Pin Publishing, UK

This is the story of Meg Shelton, something of a legendary figure in Lancastrian folklore and Newton has woven a sometimes spooky, often sad but always entertaining story of one woman’s life. It is set in a time when to be different or outspoken was hard enough as a man but almost impossible as a woman. So, while Meg’s hardships are many, her triumphs are delicious!

While I live in Australia and haven’t any first hand knowledge of Lancashire, I have spent time in Cornwall, where some of my forbears were reputedly “cunning folk” and it isn’t difficult to see the level of research Newton has engaged to create this story.

It’s a well written book (the pacing is particularly good) and while not as scary or explicitly horror-laden as it could be, it is definitely Gothic and explores horror themes. While I as an adult thoroughly enjoyed it, it would be suitable for a YA audience too.

I was offered a E-Book by Safety Pin Publishing in return for an honest review, and if The Fylde Witch is indicative of the titles in their catalogue then they should become a very successful small publisher.

All in all, it’s a cracking read – well worth seeking out!