Echoes of Home is an intriguing Ghost Story about an abandoned cottage and the secrets it keeps. Les Wills has just finished burying his mother when his brother Jonathan arrives, late, and bearing the gift of a new start for Les at Elphin Cottage, a home in the Scottish Highlands. When Les finally travels to this out of the way place, strange things begin to happen, and he sets out to solve their mystery.
This captivating story is set mainly in the Scottish Highlands, although Les, the main character, doesn’t arrive there until about 20% into the book. There were times when I felt the pace was slow in the first half of the book, but after reading the story in its entirety, everything fit together and made perfect sense, and the pace itself was just right.
I am not a fan of horror and do not review it, and I would categorize this as paranormal, but not horror. It is also historical fiction, as the Great Famine of 1845- 1849 and the Highland Famine of 1846 – 1856 were very real and greatly impacted this story. Another theme in this book is solitude, and the story drips with palpable solitude, including Les’s solitude, ghostly solitude, and that of Clais Cottage and its surroundings. This is very well done by M.L. Rayner. The impact that class differences had on the poor leaves no doubt as to the evil that comes from thinking oneself above others. The character Michael Coull serves as an ending to some of the solitude in this story. He is also a connection to the land and the teller of its stories.
As I am descended from Appalachian settlers arriving in America from Scotland, Ireland, England, and Wales, this type of tale reminds me of mountain stories I’ve heard, told in almost musical fashion, of ghosts or mythical creatures who haunt the Smokies. I can definitely feel a musical rhythm in this Scottish tale.
I would highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good ghost story as well as fans of historical fiction and Scottish history. I downloaded a copy of this book on Kindle Unlimited, where subscribers can read it for free.
I have rated this 4.5 stars, rounded up to five on sites that do not have a half-star option.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Born and bred in the county of Staffordshire. Matt is a keen reader of classical, horror and fantasy literature and enjoys writing in the style of traditional ghost stories. During his working life, Matt joined the ambulance service in 2009, transporting critically ill patients all over the UK. After writing his first novel, Matt was welcomed into the family of Question Mark Press publishing and now dedicates his time on future releases. His hobbies include genealogy and hiking, and he enjoys spending time with his wife, Emma, his children, and his family.
CONTACT M.L. RAYNER
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2 thoughts on “#Book Review: Echoes of Home: A Ghost Story”
Nice review. I like how you categorize this as Paranormal and not horror. This is and important distinction for people like me who don’t mind ghosts and paranormal, but don’t want to be traumatized! Thanks
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Yep that’s exactly how I feel. I may write a post at some point about paranormal vs. magical realism vs. supernatural vs. horror. To me, horror is bloody, bone-chilling, or nightmare inducing. Paranormal is not.
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