Epeolatry Book Review: Posthaste Manor by Jolie Toomajan & Carson Winter
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Title: Posthaste Manor
Author: Jolie Toomajan & Carson Winter
Genre: Ghost Fiction; Dark Fantasy
Publisher: Tenebrous Press
Release Date: 18th October, 2023
Synopsis: NEVER TRUST A HOUSE WITH A NAME
Everyone has a story about Posthaste Manor.
None of the stories end well, but that doesn’t stop the hopeful from hoping and the desperate from trying.
This composite novel stands as both history and eulogy of one very haunted house, as recounted by artists, real estate agents, and beloved family pets; by the debauched, the dead and the dying, and anyone looking for one last chance.
Raise a glass in celebration. Just don’t linger within its walls for long.
Can you name a haunted house? 112 Ocean Avenue. Overlook Hotel. Eel Marsh House. Most often the name of a haunted house is forgotten or overpowered by the horror novels in which they are featured. The Amityville Horror. The Shining. The Woman in Black. Of course, there are exceptions like The Haunting of Hill House, and I declare that Posthaste Manor by Jolie Toomajan and Carson Winter is another unforgettable entity. After all, Toomajan and Winter warn readers straight away- Never trust a house with a name.
Toomajan and Winter’s Posthaste Manor stands as both history and eulogy of one very haunted house. Everyone knows about the manor and everyone has a story to tell. There are those who will tempt fate, hopeful that they can survive, while there are those who are so desperate they will ignore the strange and the danger for as long as possible. The cover art for Posthaste Manor gives little away with its bold colours while threatening the reader with the awaiting darkness inside.
Intriguingly, Posthaste Manor is split into two sections; Section One: This House is a Furious Body, and Section two: A House with a Name. Section One follows the timelines of two people, Otho and Adira, each chapter bouncing between the two as they live at the manor and try to understand its nature. Section Two collects different tales of many diverse people who have interacted or had a relationship with the manor. In Section Two, different stories of people interacting with the house are collected as if the house itself has collected those souls inside its walls. The weird accounts deal with darker and more horrific elements of the house. It would have been interesting to read Posthaste Manor starting with Section Two. If you do, I highly suggest reading the content warnings first.
In Section One, Otho and Adira both begin living at the manor, but each has entirely different reasons. Otho has been obsessed by the house since he first heard stories told by a childhood friend, and thus he fulfils his long-time dream of owning it. Adira buys the manor in order to flee from someone, hoping that the house’s petrifying history and terrifying rumours will keep her safe from a man who scares her more than the house. Otho’s and Adira’s stories entwine like a duet, but there’s no overlapping of the unspeakable horrors that befalls them.
Adira’s personality quickly connected with me. She is a strong warrior trying her hardest to survive, which is reflected on how long she suffers the manor’s torment. At first, I wasn’t sure I could connect with Otho’s obsession with the house—he is willing to sacrifice his work, any friendships with the local neighbourhood, and his life. He develops a sort of madness that the house feeds upon, and he allows it to do so. But once I knew more about his background, I understood him better.
I was in the mood to read a haunted house trope, and Posthaste Manor delivered this and more! Posthaste Manor expands the trope, commonly seen in the gothic, to an actual devouring beast. The Manor never rests. It is never sedated. It hungers. Throughout Posthaste Manor, the house’s violence and gore lurks round every corner. There’s no denying that the house is pure evil, and Toomajan and Winter excel in their collaborative. Their combined effort brings a weird, smart, lyrical novella with dark humour. It does not stop or pause its flow. As you dive underneath the floorboards, between the walls, behind the chimney, and below into the basement, I hope you can find your way back.
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Corinne Pollard is a new disabled horror writer from West Yorkshire, UK with published works in Sirens Call eZine and Trembling with Fear. With a degree in English Lit and Creative Writing, Corinne has always enjoyed the world of dark fantasy. Aside from writing, Corinne enjoys metal music, visits to graveyards and shopping for books to read.