Dana reviews The Haunting of Timber Manor (Memoirs of the Human Wraiths Book 1) by F.E. Feeley Jr (Published by Beaten Track Publishing, June 15, 2018, 2nd edition, 236 pages. Audiobook released August 6, 2018, 7 hrs 20 mins length. Narrated by Tony Stone.) An audiobook was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Why I listened to this book: It’s October. 🙂 A paranormal story sounded about right for this time of year.
While recovering from the recent loss of his parents, Daniel Donnelly receives a phone call from his estranged aunt, who turns over control of the family fortune and estate, Timber Manor. Though his father seemed guarded about the past, Daniel’s need for family and curiosity compels him to visit.
Located in a secluded area of the Northwest, Timber Manor has grown silent over the years. Her halls sit empty, and a thin layer of dust adorns the sheet-covered furniture. When Daniel arrives to begin repairs, strange things happen. Nightmares haunt his dreams. Memories not his own disturb his waking hours. Alive with the tragedies of the past, Timber Manor threatens to tear Daniel apart.
Sheriff Hale Davis grew up working on the manor grounds. Seeing Daniel struggle, he vows to protect the young man who captured his heart, help him solve the mystery behind the haunting, and confront the past – not only to save Daniel’s life, but to save his family, whose very souls hang in the balance.
The story – I usually shy away from ghost/horror stories; I really don’t do scary books or movies. I couldn’t even watch more than a few episodes of Supernatural before I knew that my yellow belly couldn’t take it. 😉 Hearing others talk about the book, though, made me want to read it. I had the ebook for some time waiting to work myself up to it, and when we were offered an audio code, I decided to jump in. I will admit that I had to stop listening at times, especially in the evenings. Overall, the story wasn’t so scary that I couldn’t finish it so I count that as a win for me. The author also won, I feel, because the story definitely has significant chills and thrills.
I want to shelve this story in the Gay Fiction genre even though there is a romance blooming in this book. It has it’s sweet and sexy moments, but with the switching pov’s from Daniel to Hale to Daniel’s Aunt Carol to Francine, a spirit woman, to It, the voice of evil, there is a lot more going on and the romance is secondary. I have a little complaint about the way the chapters are announced in the book, noting who’s viewpoint it is, and assigning a number to the amount of times they have talked. If you like switching from the audio to ebook, this might be a problem. Also, the story told is the first version so if you have the newer edition it will be difficult to follow along with the audio.
This is minor, though, in comparison to the storytelling. For years, Daniel’s family has been living in fear. His dad left home and never brought his wife or Daniel back to where he grew up. A malevolent ancestor in life and death, had it out for Daniel’s dad and now that Daniel has come to visit, the darkness has reawakened. Add to that, a group of timber wolves (who the manor are named for) stand guard outside the house. Spirits cannot rest and the living are having a difficult time, too. After a few “unexplained” deaths (murders) in the house, Daniel and Hale find themselves having to fight off the evil presence with the help of Francine and some other surprise characters. If they manage to win, there is also the matter that Daniel is only visiting, so there are some decisions that he and Hale will have to make in regards to their relationship also.
I already feel like I gave too much away, but hopefully, I didn’t. The story is really best read without too much other information. As far as the story goes, I would definitely recommend it.
The narration – As for voicing the characters, I think the narrator did a great job. There isn’t a lot of difference in the “voices” for Daniel and Hale, to be honest. I had to rely on context to figure out whose part I was listening to if I didn’t pay attention to the chapter heading. The tones and accents he used for Carol, Francine, and It, were excellent, though. I definitely could see myself listening to the narrator again.
The production has some problems, though. Lines were repeated frequently. I went to the ebook to see if it was a repeated thought and not an error and that is when I realized that the audio reflected the first edition. I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but I keep wondering why they didn’t use the second edition to narrate the book since it shares the same cover. Chapter 52 of the audiobook is also a repeat of Chapter 41. I thought my audible app had skipped back on me or that I somehow rewound my audio. The Chapter 52 from the book is missing completely. I don’t know if this error is fixed or if it’s being fixed, but my audio copy hasn’t changed.
There were some frustrations in listening to the book, and I felt I had to mention them. However, I really did enjoy the story. I’m not sure what percentage I’d use to recommend the audiobook. If you’re willing to read the missing chapter from the book, and you happen to have the first version to find out what is actually missing, then I’d say it’s just a bit of a hiccup. If you only have the newer edition of the book then it might be better if you just read it, because I think the author is a really good storyteller.
7/10 Pots of Gold (70% Recommended) – Compares to 3.5/5 Stars
F.E.Feeley Jr is a poet and the author of six published works – four full length novels, two short stories featured in anthologies, and a good deal of poetry.
Married to the love of his life, John, he came to the writing world about four years ago where he fell in love, again, with the written word.