Saturday, March 31, 2018

Book Review: 'The Haunting of Aaron House' by Joyce Zeller


Some ghosts are kind and friendly. Others, not so much.
The setting was deliciously frightening. I was especially fascinated by the narrator’s description of the house Samantha and Paul rented. I’ve seen houses with similar designs in real life, and they’ve always made me shiver. There’s something inherently creepy to me about squishing more than one architectural style into the same building, especially when so little care is taken to blend them together in any coherent manner. It seems to give a house more than one personality, and those personalities don’t always mesh well with each other.
There were far more reasons for these characters to abandon the old farm house than there were for them to stay there.The warning signs popped up so early in the plot that I had a hard time understanding why Paul and Samantha didn’t decide to find a different place to live, especially since they were accompanied by their young son. It’s certainly what I would have done if the place I was planning to stay made me as afraid of it as they were on their first visit!
Not every afterlife is a pleasant experience. One of the things I relished the most about this tale was how it explored what the afterlife was like for the ghosts that were connected to the farmhouse. Their backstories were explained early enough for me to understand why they behaved in certain ways but also late enough for me to build anticipation about what their lives might have been like when they were alive.
I would have liked to have more information about Samantha and Paul’s marriage. The communication between them left quite a bit to be desired. There were times when I wondered how they’d stayed together for so long because they seemed to have so many problems telling each other what they were really thinking and feeling. It might have made sense for a brand new couple, but it felt odd for two people who are raising a child and who have been together for many years to struggle so much in this area.
The secondary characters were lively and colorful. Seeing how they interacted with the main characters as well as with one another was a highlight of this story for me. Their occasional eccentricities made perfect sense given the culture of Lancaster, the town where this all takes place. I wouldn’t have expected anything else from this community.
The Haunting of Aaron House is a good choice for anyone who is in the mood for something romantic and paranormal.

Editor's note: This article was originally published at Long and Short ReviewsIt has been republished with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.