WINTER, 1954. In a dilapidated apartment in Brooklyn, Sam Cooper realises that she has nothing left. Her mother is dead, she has no prospects and she cannot afford the rent. But as she goes through her mother’s things, Sam finds a stack of hidden letters that reveal a family and an inheritance she never knew she had, three thousand miles away in Yorkshire.
Begars Abbey is a crumbling pile, inhabited only by Sam’s ailing grandmother Lady Cooper and a handful of servants. Sam cannot understand why her mother kept its very existence a secret, but her diaries offer a glimpse of a young girl growing increasingly terrified. As is Sam herself.
Built on the foundations of an old convent, Begars moves and sings with the biting wind, and a shadowy woman moves along the corridors at night. There are dark places in the hidden tunnels beneath Begars. And they will not give up their secrets easily…
Thank you so much to the fabulous team at Viper Books for reaching out to me via Instagram and gifting me this beautiful hardback copy of Begars Abbey.
A sinister tale for fans of gothic horror, Sam travels across the Atlantic to Yorkshire, to her deceased mother’s home, her roots, of which she knew nothing. Living in poverty with her mother in Brooklyn, Sam is confused to learn after her mother’s death, that she came from money. She heads to Begars Abbey accompanied by the family solicitor, who unknown to Sam had been in annual contact with her mother about the family pile. But there are mysteries aplenty here, starting from the moment Sam steps off the ship onto English soil. Hostile, stormy weather complete the bleak and menacing scenario as Sam arrives at the destitute location.
Begars Abbey is a strange place, dilapidated now, the money is gone, with few staff remaining and her Grandmother; Lady Cooper incapacitated due to several strokes, Sam seeks to uncover the mystery of her mother’s childhood, why she left Yorkshire and why she failed to mention her past.
The location is creepy and the staff are strange – together this created a gloriously chilling story, dark and creepy it kept me guessing. More than that, I was convinced of one thing, but, without any spoilers this turned out to be something different altogether.
A great work of fiction, a strong plot and storyline, a strong protagonist in Sam and enough creepy supporting characters to give me goosebumps!
Fans of Gothic Horror – you will love this book, which is available to buy now,
About the Author
V.L Valentine is a senior science editor at National Public Radio in Washington D.C, where she has led award winning coverage of global disease outbreaks including Covid-19, Ebola and the Zika virus. She has a master’s degree in the history of medicine from University College London and her non-fiction work has been published by NPR, The New York Times, the Smithsonian Channel and Science Magazine. Begars Abbey is her second novel; her first, The Plague Letters, was published by Viper in 2021.