Three generations of women must face the darkness from their past at Christmastime.
Candace goes home to her mother, Marian, and grandmother, Anne, for Christmas. Their pleasant holiday takes a dangerous turn when she unwittingly unleashes a dark spirit connected to a rusty bell. As death and dismemberment assaults the women, Candace realizes that there is another side to her family that she hasn’t seen before.
I love the premise for this story. Three generations of women, each with a history that isn’t as rosy as they’d like to make out. Lots of hints point to the fact that appearances may be deceiving.
Unfortunately, most of those hints don’t lead to anything. Despite a promising set up, the narrative falls into the cliche of vengeful ghost. It’s not a trope I like. It strikes me as the ultimate victim shaming. The guilty party was right to treat the ghost horribly, because as soon as they got a bit of preternatural power, they came back and tortured their tormentors.
Leaving aside the fact that I prefer justice to revenge, the ghost was much too powerful. There didn’t seem to be any rules about what she could or couldn’t do, and by the time she was crawling on the ceiling I was rolling my eyes.
The second half of the book devolves into a rather hackneyed horror movie, with lots of blood, screaming and not much sense. The thoughts of the characters are described in detail, but they aren’t thinking anything interesting. By the time the three endings rolled around, I wasn’t sure what I was reading any more.
Great idea, solid start and a second half that lost the plot. I award The Christmas Bell…
The Christmas Bell is available for $4.02 ebook and $12.99 print book on Amazon.