The September House is an atmospheric, creepy, dark, and blood-chilling haunted house horror with family drama.
Table of Contents
The September House by Carissa Orlando
Publication Date : September 5, 2023
Publisher : Berkley
Read Date : December 15, 2023
Genre : Horror
Pages : 344
A woman is determined to stay in her dream home even after it becomes a haunted nightmare in this compulsively readable, twisty, and layered debut novel.
When Margaret and her husband Hal bought the large Victorian house on Hawthorn Street—for sale at a surprisingly reasonable price—they couldn’t believe they finally had a home of their own. Then they discovered the hauntings. Every September, the walls drip blood. The ghosts of former inhabitants appear, and all of them are terrified of something that lurks in the basement. Most people would flee.
Margaret is not most people.
Margaret is staying. It’s her house. But after four years Hal can’t take it anymore, and he leaves abruptly. Now, he’s not returning calls, and their daughter Katherine—who knows nothing about the hauntings—arrives, intent on looking for her missing father. To make things worse, September has just begun, and with every attempt Margaret and Katherine make at finding Hal, the hauntings grow more harrowing, because there are some secrets the house needs to keep.
The September House is an atmospheric and blood-chilling haunted house horror with family drama that follows Margaret who is determined to stay in her dream house that she and her husband, Hal, bought four years ago even after knowing it’s haunted and it gets horrible to live in every September. the house drips blood every September from top to bottom, it has ghosts for past 100 years who have grotesque features due to the way they died moans and creams all night, the most sinister ghost that lives in the basement who might crawl out if the door isn’t boarded…
It made me wonder why Margaret is still living there. I get her desperation of having her own house when they bought the house but still having that same drive after the nightmarish four years, even after knowing Hal left her or might be missing because of the house, I just don’t know what to think of her.
And then her daughter, Katherine, who didn’t know anything about this September House, is coming back after years to find her missing father. It’s again interesting to see Margret fretting over Katherine getting scared of all the paranormal activities happening in the house rather than over her missing husband.
I was curious to know more about the creature of the basement, all the ghosts, and especially how Margret was going to keep Katherine safe and away from all the paranormal activity and above all what happened to Hal.
The writing is atmospheric and steady-paced told from Margret’s perspective. The plot is creepy and tense that never let up the sense of dread till the end and the intermittent flashbacks from Margret’s past about her relationship with Hal, Katherine, and what they found about the house in the past four years kept it even more intriguing. The setting of the House was fabulous.
While I loved reading about the ghosts more than the characters, the flashbacks gave more insight and depth into the characters. As I read more I hated how Margret was stuck with Hal in the past. The layer of domestic violence is portrayed realistically. I felt sad and awful for Margret and it also made me question her mindset.
I was with Katherine in this matter, why would a person want to experience hell with a person like Hal and why it didn’t bother Margret? All her reasoning about how everything is survivable if you follow rules felt bullshit and she had the same reasons for the house and its ghosts as well. All her reasoning was getting tiring by the time i reached climax and at the same time.
However, she wasn’t the weak one in this horrible relationship. She was a pushover and compromised a lot her whole life but she was also a survivor, determined, and strong-willed. Her love for Katherine was something all mothers can relate to. She couldn’t stand up for herself but she would do anything and bear anything for Katherine which made her fight the monster no one dared to face before.
The climax was most exciting and also surprising. Everything revealed about the house and its ghosts, what happened in the past and what is happening now, I was dreading it wouldn’t end well, I was afraid for Margret. But the author succeeded in leading me in the wrong direction with both twists we get in this last 30% of the book. I loved how libe between mental health, psychological terror, and paranormal blurred at this point.
All the descriptions were gruesome and yet I felt excited with how things turned out. At some points the details also made me laugh or maybe it was Margret’s voice! I thought there might be some religious exorcism or something that might end the horror but the solution turned out quite simple and I don’t what to think about it but I was satisfied with the end.
Overall, The September House is an atmospheric, creepy, dark, and blood-chilling haunted house horror with family drama.
TW: domestic and physical abuse, alcoholism, mental health issues, violence and gore.
I recommend The September House if you like-
Haunted house setting
MC who can see ghosts
Atmospheric and creepy
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