Day 690: Wylding Hall

Cover for Wylding HallElizabeth Hand’s earlier novel Mortal Love showed she was interested in a connection between inspiration and folklore. Wylding Hall is also an unusual exploration of this theme.

The novel is told as a series of possible interviews, maybe for a documentary, about a 70’s folk group called Windhollow Faire. The group released two albums, but a mystery surrounds the second one, which 20 years later has been re-released as a smashing success.

The novel is narrated by the band members, their manager, and a couple of other people who visited the band during the fateful summer the album was recorded. The band’s manager Tom Haring sets off the action of the novel by renting an old Tudor mansion in a remote rural area for the band to live and work in during the summer. Part of the house has been restored but the rest of it is a rambling wreck. The band works but in a party atmosphere of drugs and booze.

The novel builds up some suspense with the hints of something unusual happening that summer involving Julian Blake, the band’s lead singer and songwriter. He is the only member of the band who is not heard from in the novel. The house is described in a way that is both beautiful and creepy, featuring an old library that cannot always be located and is full of feathers. The local inn also features some folklore and is named after an old song about killing wrens on St. Stephen’s Day.

link to NetgalleyThe locals warn the band members away from the woods around the house, and their superstitious comments add to the hints of darkness in the book. For a short novel in which little actually happens, it creates quite a mood of creepiness.

My only criticism is that most of the band members blurred together for me, because I couldn’t keep them straight. A couple stand out, but most of them are too undefined to be successful characters.

Related Posts

Mortal Love

The Lace Reader

The Night Strangers

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.