The Haunting of Brynn Wilder by Wendy Webb is hard to pin down in terms of genre, while it’s billed as a gothic horror but I felt that the horror elements were a little too light for it to be a true one. I think that the best way would be to describe it as a creepy, gothic romance as the romance elements were stronger and the supernatural and horror elements were secondary.
Healing from a recent loss Brynn Wilder heads to Wharton on Lake Superior at the suggestion of her friend Kate who runs a local hotel. She checks herself into an old boardinghouse for the summer, there she discovers that save for one room that is boarded up for the season, it’s a full house. The other guests at first seem to be friendly but as she gets to know them maybe not everything is as it seems. There is a couple who are spending their summer taking care of a frail woman named Alice; LuAnn, the eccentric owner of the inn; and the handsome tattooed Dominic.
As the days go by Brynn starts having disturbing dreams and experiencing things which she can’t explain with logic. To add to the creepy and not at all restful atmosphere, the frail, barely there Alice begins to haunt Brynn, and her chilling revelations about Brynn and the others in the boarding house, things she couldn’t possibly know, have Brynn on edge.
Her one point of stability through this is Dominic who she is magnetically drawn toward and the promise of a love like she never thought she would ever experience.
The Haunting of Brynn Wilder is a great read if you are looking for something creepy and that holds its tension well without being overtly scary or gory. While it is not the book that I thought it was going in, it was a good book which was enjoyable to read. For me, gothic horrors should be able to create and hold tension while bringing in truly scary horror elements, my favourite author for these is Michael McDowell. This book though did not actually commit to the horror requirement even though it did have paranormal elements. So if you are looking for a gothic-inspired romance with a big creepy factor then this is a solid choice.
Read this book if:
- You like creepy narratives, but not horror
- You like mysterious love interests
- You enjoy paranormal romances
Excerpt from The Haunting of Brynn Wilder by Wendy Webb
Everyone is haunted by something. A road not taken. A hurt, carried deep inside. Harsh words that echo long after the sting of them is carried away on the wind.
Some of us are haunted more literally. We’ve seen and felt and heard what simply cannot be, but is. A low moan coming from the corner of a darkened room. A glimpse of an ethereal shape. A tangible encounter with . . . something. A passer-through.
My haunting is like that—strange, magical, unexplainable—but at the same time, it’s real enough to touch and feel and wrap my whole self around. Real enough to inhabit my dreams and sit like a stone on my heart as I carry it with me day after day.
Memories of other parts of my life over the years—love, loss, the mundane minutiae of living—might be hazy around the edges, dreamlike, as I look back on them now. But when I think of him, the one who haunts me still, the images are crystal clear. Even after all these years, I can taste him on my lips. Hear his voice, low and deep, in my ear. I love him with every cell in my body, even now.
As I sit alone with my thoughts in this empty house, in the dark, a fire crackling in the fireplace and snow falling outside, it all comes back to me. And I’ll let it come. God help me, I will let it come.