"Something has been let loose..."

In Edwardian Suffolk, a manor house stands alone in a lost corner of the Fens: a glinting wilderness of water whose whispering reeds guard ancient secrets. Maud is a lonely child growing up without a mother, ruled by her repressive father.

When he finds a painted medieval devil in a graveyard, unhallowed forces are awakened.

Maud's battle has begun. She must survive a world haunted by witchcraft, the age-old legends of her beloved fen – and the even more nightmarish demons of her father's past.

Spanning five centuries, Wakenhyrst is a darkly gothic thriller about murderous obsession and one girl's longing to fly free

Our Review

Wakenhyrst is the first book I have read by Michelle Paver but from the outset I had an inkling that I would enjoy her style of writing.

Wakenhyrst begins with an article in a magazine which begins as follows:

“Like a witch’s lair in a fairytale the ancient manor house crouches in its tangled garden. I can’t take my eyes off the ivy choked window above the front door. It was from that window in 1913 that 16-year old Maud Sterne watched her father set off down the steps with an ice-pick, a geological hammer – and murder in his heart.”

The article then goes on to suggest that there may have been more than meets the eye to this crime and implies that Maud was involved in witchcraft and that she was the one who committed the murders.

This introduction to our protagonist immediately sows the seeds of doubt surrounding the trustworthiness of our narrator.

Maud grew up in a manor house called Wakes End in a little hamlet called Wakenhyrst. The house is surrounded by the gloomy Guthlaf’s Fen. Her father’s crimes were largely forgotten until some paintings he made in an asylum surfaced and became popular.

The description of the fen adds to the atmosphere of the book and makes the potential for something supernatural to be going on seem much more likely and the belief in its possibility much more understandable.

“The watery wilderness that guards Wakes End is the last real fen: the last stretch of the ancient marshes that once drowned the whole of East Anglia. It’s said to be the oldest rottenest fen ever. Here lived the dreaded ‘fen tigers’: savage folks who doctored their ‘ague’ with home-brewed opium and feared nothing but the spirits that haven’t the means.”

At the time the article was published Maud was 69 and looking back on the events of her childhood because Wakes End is in bad need of repairs and she needs the money.

Was a demon lurking in the fen or was her father mad?

Wakenhyrst was a fast read and I throughly enjoyed it, I am definitely looking forward to reading more from this author. 

Our Final Rating...

Our Rating

  • Currently 4/5

Read & Shared 22 Times.

I hope you enjoyed this book review, please consider sharing it with others.

Get In Touch

Please feel free to leave a comment to this book review below. Or even leave your own review if you like.
If you run a blog and/or have posted a review to this book, a Q & A or general author interview online you can always add a trackback to it here and following moderation we'll add a link to it below.