When Shilly is taken to the hiring fair at All Drunkard and signed away by her father, she never expects to find love, but once she meets Charlotte Dymond she knows they have a special bond. Hired together by the gruff Mrs. Peter, they travel to Penhale Farm, where Shilly follows besotted in Charlotte’s footsteps as Charlotte teaches her about magic and superstition. Charlotte seems to attract attention wherever she goes and has a number of admirers in the locality, so Shilly can’t be sure who is the lucky recipient of Charlotte’s affection, but when Charlotte is found dead in suspicious circumstances, the locals have only one suspect in mind: Matthew Weeks, another hired hand on the farm. Shilly, however is not convinced and along with a newspaperman from London, a Mr. Williams, she is determined to find answers. It seems that at every turn they are met by lies and deception in this windswept lonely corner of Cornwall, and everyone has secrets including Mr. Williams and Shilly herself.
This is a masterful, mesmerising and haunting mystery full of gothic atmosphere and hints of the strange and supernatural. Based on a real murder mystery from the mid-19th century, Falling Creatures is a clever, heartfelt and very well-written story with a powerful narrative voice ideal for anyone who enjoyed Sophia Tobin’s The Vanishing, Andrew Hughes The Coroner’s Daughter and Anna Mazzola’s The Unseeing.
This review originally published in HNR Issue 81 (August 2017) see it online HERE