A curse, betrayal, grief, secrets and ghosts: The Haunting of Lindy Pennyworth by S.M. Pope #bookreview #LindyPennyworth

I am writing this in an old notebook that I found in the common room. Every word is true. I can speak to the dead. And they can speak to me…
Nobody believes Lindy when she says she doesn’t pull her hair out on purpose. Nobody believes Lindy when she says she hears voices in the night. Nobody believes Lindy when she says that her dead ancestors are haunting her dreams. Nobody believes Lindy.After the death of her father, Lindy falls headlong into a state of grief and no longer understands her place in the world. Through paranormal rituals, Ouija boards and spiritualist churches, Lindy attempts to speak to her father beyond the grave – but to no avail. That is until she receives a ‘visit’ from Esme, her Victorian ancestor, who reveals that her family is under a curse that separates them in the afterlife.Determined to break it, Lindy sacrifices her grip on reality. But not everyone wants her to succeed. There are still secrets that fight to remain buried…

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Hi and welcome to my review of The Haunting of Lindy Pennyworth!

The Haunting of Lindy Pennyworth is a recent addition to a score of fabulous YA horror / thriller stories from UCLAN Publishing, earlier I had a great time with Mina and the Undead by Amy McCaw and Raising Hell by Bryony Pearce.

The Haunting of Lindy Pennyworth kicks off with Lindy frantically writing in a diary. She has just been committed for psychiatric assessment and she wants to get her story on paper before she has to take medication that will make her forget all about everything that’s happened to her.

Lindy’s story starts with her dad dying in a car accident. The last words she spoke to him were to tell him she hated him, which makes his death even harder to process, her massive guilt preventing her from even trying to move on. Desperately, she tries to contact him through Ouija boards and paranormal rituals, if only she could speak to him just one last time, if only she were able to make things right. However, when she does manage to make contact, it’s not with her dad but with a seventeen-year-old girl named Esmerelda, who tells her she’s Lindy’s ancestor and sets her on a path to break the curse that was cast over the Pennyworth family. Outwardly, Lindy is behaving stranger and stranger. Why is she rooting around graveyards, why is hurting herself? Her mum and her friends are worried sick.

The Haunting of Lindy Pennyworth starts out a ghost story. I started reading it late at night, and it freaked me out so much I knew I had to put it down if I ever wanted to sleep again. It had a The Haunting of Hill House effect on me, with me peering into the shadows to make sure nothing moved. However, as the story progresses, it also becomes an adventure story, a mystery and even a drama, with Lindy trying to figure out what happened to her ancestors while also unravelling her dad’s secrets. It’s a nice genre mash-up for readers who like their thrills and chills in moderation.

Inextricably woven into the story are themes of grief, mental health and self-harm, which I thought were tackled in a respectful and sensitive manner. I really love it when a story has a paranormal angle and you’re never really sure what’s real and what’s not while you’re reading it. Lindy’s story seems real enough, but if she’s suffering from psychosis then of course it would seem real to her, and by extension to us, the reader, as we are seeing the events unroll from her perspective. S.M. Pope successfully makes us wait for it until the very last chapter.

I had a great time with The Haunting of Lindy Pennyworth. I think it’s a great fit for actual young adults and since I am not a young adult and have not been for a while now I can tell you it’s very enjoyable for an older more mature audience as well.

The Haunting of Lindy Pennyworth is out now in eBook and will be out in paperback on 7 October.

Thanks to Graeme Williams and UCLAN Publishing for the eARC. All opinions are my own.

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