BOOK TOUR REVIEW: Starter House by Sonja Condit
by Sonja Condit
Lacey Miszlak grew up homeless; her crazy mother dragged her from one terrible living situation to the next. But now she thinks the pieces of her life have finally come together. She’s pregnant with her first child and she and her husband Eric have moved into the home of their dreams. She knows soon its beautiful sunlit rooms will be filled with the joy of the new family she will build there.
But there’s a strange darkness on the stairway and an odd little boy who won’t leave Lacey alone and soon she’s forced to realize that a danger she never suspected is lurking in the hallways of her beautiful new home. She’s going to have to solve a decades-old mystery to save her family from an evil that has lingered in wait for them for years.
MY THOUGHTS: 4 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS
It doesn’t take long after the Miszlaks move in for the pregnant Lacey to begin feeling something is wrong in the house. But she is stubborn; after a childhood filled with memories of living in motels and even in their car, Lacey has finally found the perfect house to call a home and she’s not giving it up very easily. Not even when a high-tempered boy named Drew begins appearing to her and only her.
Lacey’s husband, Eric, is lost in his own world of trying to spend as many hours as possible working so he can afford the house and necessities for the baby. So Lacey is determined to find out about the house’s past on her own, and as she gets closer to the truth, the malevolent spirit in the house becomes more and more enraged.
I think the best supernatural stories are those that don’t beat you over the head with obvious pointers as to what the ghost is. This novel succeeded in that respect. We know something is wrong with the way Drew appears and disappears, but Lacey treats it so almost nonchalantly that we can’t help but feel for him. Although Lacey is bound and determined to keep her house, I think she let things go on a bit too long…I myself would have bolted out the door and never returned if I saw so much as a stray shadow!
The relationships in this book are truly dynamic. The reader thinks they have a good sense of who each character is, then you learn a secret that turns your opinion upside down. Lacey’s always had a grudge against her mother for taking her away for the stability of her grandfather’s house as a child, but it’s revealed why later in the novel, and I have to say I didn’t see it coming at all.
The end twist was also very unpredictable, and quite a unique direction as far as ghost stories go. I felt happy, sad, relieved, and a bevy of other emotions when I finished the book, because not everything ended perfectly for everybody.
I could easily see this book as a movie, and I highly recommend Starter House to anyone who wants a change from the usual haunted house genre.
About the Author
Sonja Condit received her MFA from Converse College, where she studied with Robert Olmstead, Leslie Pietrzyk, R. T. Smith, and Marlin Barton. Her short fiction has appeared in Shenandoahmagazine, among other publications. She plays principal bassoon in the Hendersonville Symphony Orchestra and the Greater Anderson Musical Arts Consortium. She teaches at the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities.
Visit Sonja at her website.
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