Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The Gothic Fiction Bucket

The Secrets of Cromwell Crossing
First published: 1965

Mansion on the Mountain - 1.jpg

An oddly inviting gaze from the eyes of a mystical mistress on the cover of a time-worn book compelled me to pick up an apparent antique . I am normally picky about what I choose; but it being Books-by-Weight, I could dare to be adventurous.
A struggling model, Robin turns con-woman as a meeting with a frustrated scion, Jamie, of the affluent Cromwell family witnesses an agreement that could change her life forever. Jamie convinces her to play his wife so that he could demand his share from his aged father’s wealth and property under the guise of settling in life,  thus monetarily benefitting both of them. But their visit to Cromwell Crossing, where the family mansion is located sees accidents happening to Robin, which makes her realise that someone in the beautiful, sad house wanted her out of the way -- or dead.
Coincidences occur, including the sudden appearance of suspicious characters, and while she begins to unravel the secrets that the family at Cromwell Crossing held, but she is shushed. Utterly alone and with no-one to confide in, she is terrified. The slew of unfortunate events which follow tests her mental resilience, commitment to her job owing to visions of a brighter future, and stark realisations about love and family values.

The characterisation of the story is done quite well. Throughout the story, we get to see the many facets of different characters, notably those of Robin. Just a tad more implicitness, and you’d be sure you’re reading a fine thriller novel.  The book also brings up the macabre side to people with troubled childhood, and most of the characters in the book oddly have some darkness to them.
The author’s description skills are worth applause, a notable mention being vivid imagery. Pour example -- the portrayal of the location of the house shown as meddling with the mind. Her sublime diction --which I felt to be one of the biggest positives of the book -- is something which greatly adds to the reading experience. She just has the perfect words for everything, without sounding extravagant at all.
The flow of the story is moderate, yet there are scenes which pack a punch strewn throughout the book. Thus it is perfect in the sense that you never get bored. Overall, the story is intriguing, to say the least. For this summer, I would say this a nice little book to gobble up whenever you’re bored.

-Kireeti Akkunuri