ARC Book Review: The Girl from Rawblood by Catriona Ward


ashley| I have a confession; I’m a big fan of the idea of Gothic literature, but anytime I try to read something of that genre, I never end up enjoying it as much as I know I ought to. This is what happened with The Girl from Rawblood by Catriona Ward. By all definitions, this is a near-perfect Gothic story. It’s won awards! And Ward’s love of classic literature and this genre is evident; it weaves in haunting, chilling storylines with family curses linked to falling in love, takes place in an eerie home called Rawblood and touches upon a number of atrocious deaths that span generations. 

So why did I have such a hard time getting through it? It started off strong; I really liked the childhood narration of Iris. I enjoyed Iris’s voice and the way she saw the world, and I especially loved her doomed friendship with Tom. But as soon as I was settling into this, the narration changed to a medical diary of Charles Danforth, taking place sometime in the past. 

The voice was obviously much different, very technical and structured and a bit too precise. It kind of counter acted the magic of Iris and it wasn`t until we flipped back to Iris`s narration did I find my footing again. This happens quite often through the book with a number of other view points and new characters. Though there is reason to this madness, I found it all quite distracting and at times hard to follow, not to mention somewhat lagging. It took me way too long to get through this book than it should have and I think I got lost somewhere in Iris’s past as we were taken through the generations of her family. I started having trouble telling which character was which, the timelines got all jumbled up and I just sort of lost interest in discovering this family secret. 

It’s not often I lack an opinion about a book, but I feel as though I can’t offer anything this time around. I didn’t enjoy reading this, but that isn’t to say I thought this was a bad book. It’s creepy and haunting, I liked Ward’s writing, I think anyone who is accustomed to this kind of Gothic feel would really love and appreciate this, but I didn’t. As such, I don’t think it’s fair to give this a rating, but encourage anyone who is curious to give this a chance and see for themselves. 

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march 7, 2017

copy provided for honest review by