book review, horror, Priscilla Bettis, women in horror

The Hay Bale by Priscilla Bettis

After a series of miscarriages and the end of her marriage, Claire rents a rural property to reconnect with herself.

This is a fun story. Claire was a great character and it was easy to sympathize with her. Traumatized by multiple miscarriages and the dissolution of her marriage, I hoped that things would improve for her, even as she appeared to be entering dangerous territory.

Creepy rural communities are fertile ground for horror. I loved the folk horror feel to this setting, reminiscent of The Wicker Man.

Bettis’s writing is beautiful and evocative, effortlessly setting the scene and conjuring a world that I could see, touch and smell. I felt the heat of the hay field. I loved the description of flowers hanging near the house as girl’s braids, and little details like the names of the nail polish colours that Claire used really made the story for me.

I saw where the plot was headed from the start, but Bettis led me with such an assured hand that I found the journey absorbing and satisfying. I can’t wait to read more of her work.

I award The Hay Bale

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