Dear Vampire Horror Readers,
This week I’ve had the pleasure to review another new author’s book. I’ve enjoyed reading, The Breathing Ghosts, by author, Eleanor Keane.
This adult, vampire novel begins with a gripping prologue that takes place in Hartnell Village, Massachusetts, New England in 1692.
The seven year old, bright red haired, young girl, named Angelica, is being incarcerated, and tortured by the Puritan, Joshua Hartnell. She has been beaten and is bloody due to being detained brutally while awaiting the same fate that her mother and sister suffered – being drowned in the dunking chair and buried in a shallow grave.
As she sits in the chair, awaiting her murder, she hallucinates and thinks a young girl, with a brilliant blue, large sapphire, wearing a Puritan dress, is talking to her and bits her on the neck. The battered and bloody Angelica asks, “Are you the devil?”
As she hallucinates, she recalls digging up her mother and sister in their shallow graves only days ago and reburying them under an apple tree in their family garden. She watered the earth with her flood of tears as she performed the gruesome task of love.
Soon, she is forced to the dunking stool. She undergoes testing for the crime of witchcraft just like her mom and sister, while the villagers watched and clung to their bibles and crucifixes.
As Angelica is strapped in the drowning chair, her two puncture wounds in her neck from the little girl in the detritus are visible. “You are to endure the punishment of floating for the crime of witchcraft,” said the Puritan butcher, Joshua Hartnell.
As Angelica was falsely tested for witchcraft, like her mother and sister, she vowed as she was being wrongly drowned, “I will have my vengeance on you and your kindred!”
After suffering the barbaric, lethal test, like her mother and sister, the butcher removed the deceased Angelica from her drowning chair. The little girl appeared. She magically put a gold coin in the butcher’s throat which choked him. He died that moment.
The girl sat on the ground next to the drowned, Angelica.
She waited – and waited.
Suddenly, Angelica began to cough as she came to live.
The little girl is a magic vampire. She bit Angelica back in the detritus and turned Angelica into a vampire.
The story switches to London: Early September in a graveyard.
The novel’s protagonists, Rowan Oakwood is talking to her parents graves. Thomas William Oakwood and May Rose Oakwood both died together on August 30, 1994, when Rowan was an infant. Rowan is the only vampire hunter in existence.
The magical powers of a vampire hunter have been passed down through the Oakwood men to her. She has the magical mark on her forehead. It is a rough circle of dark gold. When she touches it, instantly she has great lethal powers against vampires.
Due to her parents sudden deaths when she was one year old, she lacks the training from them on how to use the power. This makes her vampire hunting even more dangerous.
As she talks to her parent’s graves, she informs them, “Mum-Dad, I’m gay.”
She was raised by her uncle, Gabriel Bruce, the Scotch loving, bookstore owner. Bruce Books, is sandwiched in between the post office and a Mexican restaurant. Bruce Books specializes in Gothic Literature, especially Vampyre Literature.
In her uncles store, she finds a book, Ye Olde Booke of Vampyres. In it she learns how vampyres are made and about the vampyre brothers, Virgil and Edgar Valvayne of London.
The vampire adventures begin as she meets these vampire brothers as well as their sister, Violet. She also meets a werewolf named Thora, who likes Led Zeppelin. This novel also has many other interesting characters.
Since I am a fan of vampire and werewolf horror, I have numerous favorite scenes in this novel. One large scene is at Valvayne Manor. I thought Percival, the Valvayne Manor butler was an interesting character. The manor reminded me of Collinwood in Dark Shadows except for the addition of a 1920’s figurines jazz band in the main foyer. The description was so explicit, I can picture Valvayne Manor in my mind.
I also liked the ending. There were several twists that were completely unexpected. One scene at the end of the book left me with my chin on the floor, asking, “Why!”
The Breathing Ghosts, by author, Eleanor Keane is a cleaver, well written vampire horror, adult novel. If you are a fan of vampire horror, like me, you will no doubt like this book.
In this vampire novel readers opinion, The Breathing Ghosts by author, Eleanor Keane belongs on the same book shelve as the works of Anne Rice and Stephenie Meyer.
It has been a pleasure to read her novel and write a review of it.
Until we talk again.
“May good fortune guide your path”
J. A. Ireland