From the start, this gothic style short story feels atmospheric and eerie. There is a feeling of unease from Chapter 1 when Iris is caring for her father. Nothing certain is said but there is a disturbing feeling. After her father’s death, Iris travels by boat to a Scottish island to take up a new position with Mrs McInnes, overseeing the re-decoration of Dorchadas House and afterwards to deal with the guests of the newly furbished house.
There is a tense yet curious atmosphere with wary locals and the strange newcomer to the house and island, but it doesn’t take long for Iris to meet and become physical with Mrs McInnes’s two sons, Eachainn and Neas. The two brothers are quite frightening characters, brusque and mocking, yet Iris has strong feelings of lust for having both brothers. And then there’s the old Laird, upstairs sick in bed, never seen but Iris hears strange noises, footsteps in the corridor at night and strange wailing like a baby.
There is more than a hint of fairytale/folklore with a smooth, flat topped stone with a hole large enough to crawl through, at the centre of a maze in the garden. A hint that entering and passing through the stone circle is a kind of fertility ring.
The attention to detail and the use of language gives this book depth of time and place. The writing and editing is impeccable and the story telling exquisite. By the end you will want to visit one of these ancient Scottish islands for yourself!
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