An isolated convent, a supernatural presence, a dark secret…
I love reading spooky, supernatural thrillers in the dead of winters, huddled up inside a blanket. And this novella by Zoe Kahlo sounded like it would be right up my alley.
17-year-old Paloma only wanted to hold a séance to contact her dead father. She never thought she would be kicked out of school and end up in an isolated convent. Now, all she wants is to be left alone. But slowly, she develops a bond with a group of girls: kind-hearted Maria, insolent Silvy, pathological liar Adelita, and their charismatic leader Rubia.
And what a character Rubia is – self confident bordering on cocky, spouting Latin phrases and quoting philosophers like Plato. She’s the darling of most of the nuns – even the really nasty, mean ones, but her hold over her gang of girls seems to be built on fear rather than respect. Constantly looking for the next source of excitement and intellectual stimulation, she goads Paloma into hosting a séance in the store room at the convent.
When, yet again, Paloma holds a séance in the hope of contacting her father, she awakens an entity that has been dormant for years. And then, the body count begins. Someone doesn’t want the secret out…
Are the ghost and Paloma’s suspicions real—or only part of her growing paranoia and delusions?
The build up and execution of this novella are flawless. Unlike her previous novella Two Graves, you don’t feel like there are bits of the back story missing on this one. Paloma is a beautifully sketched and unreliable central character, which makes the whole story even more interesting. Add in Adelita and her lies and the quiet menace around Silvy; the old convent graveyard and the spooky forest and waterfall beyond, and the setting is perfect for a deliciously scary read.
This one gets a big thumbs up from me! If you enjoy scary stories, I suggest you add this one to your reading list!