By Bryony Allen
Published: October 11, 2012
eBook, 186 pages
The ghosts of The Assembly Room have been waiting for someone to unlock their secrets, and Merryn Stearne has arrived.
For 14 year old Merryn, the future should have been perfect – a new home in the idyllic Suffolk countryside and romance with the gorgeous boy next door, Jamie. If only the past would stop interfering with the present. Dreams of medieval witchcraft trials become terrifyingly real and Merryn realises there is a mystery to be solved. With Jamie's help, she uncovers the truth about her ancestor's role in the Suffolk witch hunts of 1645.
But can they stop the curse that threatens to ruin the Stearne family once again, or are the forces of the past too strong?--Goodreads
What would you usually get when you move into a crummy old house? The Assembly Room of course, which comes with a package of dark, gory mystery neatly wrapped in a beautifully written story.
We start off with Merryn's family moving into the disgustingly rotting house that Merryn's father inherited from an insane late uncle. Right off the bat, we know that we're in for a disturbing past because really, all horror stories begin with someone doing something stupid in the past like 300 years ago. In this case, Merryn is reliving all of these moments in the past that are haunting the future, her present.
Watching the present and the past intertwine to create a spellbinding tale just caused me to love this book. Although I am usually not a big fan of horror, The Assembly Room possesses something that lurks beneath the pages that drew me. Bryony Allen excels in seamlessly splitting the story between the present and the past. The witch trials provide a vindictive history behind the haunting events in the book. Let's just say that Bryony Allen has an extraordinary gift with storytelling.
My only concern with The Assembly Room was the point of view. Most books have a consistent narration from first-person and third-person. However, this book had an interesting characteristic of incorporating the thoughts of all of the characters present in scene in the same chapter. Like, Merynne would be talking about how embarrassed she felt about her feelings for Jamie, while in the next paragraph, Jamie would be thinking the same thing. I didn't really dislike it, but it just felt a little out of place.
The Assembly Room is a amazingly written story of the past and present intermingling. The depth of many of the characters that face terrible luck due to the past is realistic and perfectly portrayed. This book is definitely one of my favorite surprises of this year. I totally did not expect to enjoy The Assembly Room as much as I did. The Assembly Room is a must read for all horror readers because honestly, it's an story that packs a punch and tantalizes one's reading palette.
Bryony Allen has graciously offered up a Print and an eBook copy up for giveaway!