Book Review: The Carrefour Curse

From the publisher:

The Addams Family meets The Westing Game in this exhilarating mystery about a modern magical dynasty trapped in the ruins of their once-grand, now-crumbling ancestral home.
Twelve-year-old Garnet regrets that she doesn’t know her family. Her mother has done her best to keep it that way, living far from the rest of the magical Carrefour clan and their dark, dangerous mansion known as Crossroad House. But when Garnet finally gets summoned to the estate, it isn’t quite what she hoped for. Her relatives are strange and quarrelsome, each room in Crossroad House is more dilapidated than the last, and she can’t keep straight which dusty hallways and cobwebbed corners are forbidden. Then Garnet learns the family secret: their dying patriarch fights to retain his life by stealing power from others. Every accident that isn’t an accident, every unexpected illness and unexplained disappearance grants Jasper Carrefour a little more time. While the Carrefours squabbles over who will inherit his role when (if) he dies, Garnet encounters evidence of an even deeper curse. Was she brought to Crossroad House as part of the curse . . . or is she meant to break it? Written with loads of creepy atmosphere and an edge-of-your-seat magical mystery, this thrilling story reads like The Haunting of Hill House for preteens. Perfect for late-night reading under the covers.

I really enjoyed reading this horror-mystery. It ticks a lot a boxes in the horror genre- a creepy old house, a sinister (and I suggest evil) family patriarch (Garnet’s great-grandfather), mysterious disappearances, cursed ruins, visions, a premonition…plus a bunch of squabbling relatives and some family magic. The story flows well and I read it quickly, keen to find out what was going on. Apart from one minor point (no spoilers), I found the ending satisfying. This could have been a terrifying story but the tone is creepy and intriguing rather than frightening, so it is fine for middle grade (though I would say older middle grade) as well as teens.

The story features Garnet’s extended family, with first cousins, second cousins, cousins once or twice removed, uncles, aunts, great-uncle’s and great-aunts… I really liked this element of the book. It’s unusual to have so many pertinent and related characters in a story, in my experience anyway, and the family interaction was credible. The downside was that I found keeping track of the characters relationships very difficult and confusing. My eARC had a family tree (I think) but it didn’t display properly. It’s needed, because after the first introduction, we’re not given any reminders of who’s who (well done, Garnet, for remembering them all!) so while I knew who belonged to Garnet’s generation, I was less clear on the adults.

I like Garnet, who is kind, curious, persistent and brave. We’re told Garnet is twelve years old. However she seems far too mature in her reactions and reflections to be twelve. I had a few ‘a twelve-year old would think this?‘ moments throughout the story. I would have put her at fourteen or fifteen.

Overall this book has a good story, interesting characters and a satisfying ending. Recommended to those middle grade readers (of all ages) who enjoy horror.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers Holiday House for the eARC. The Carrefour Curse will be published on the 31st January – check it out!

12 thoughts on “Book Review: The Carrefour Curse

    1. I’d have loved it so much too!! I scared easily of course (I still do!) but I guess that’s the fun of books like this 🙂 Thanks for reading! Sorry I missed your comment – I’ve been in editing mode the last couple of weeks!


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