Book Review: The Curse of Malenfer Manor, Iain McChesney

Curse of Malenfer Manor

 

This review is posted on behalf of the publisher as requested from NetGalley

Description from Amazon.com

“Those in line to the Malenfer estate are succumbing to terrible ends – is a supernatural legacy at work, or something entirely more human?

Young Irish mercenary Dermot Ward retreats to Paris at the close of World War I where he drinks to forget his experiences, especially the death of his comrade, Arthur Malenfer. But Arthur has not forgotten Dermot. Dead but not departed, Arthur has unfinished business and needs the help of the living.

Upon his arrival at Malenfer Manor, Dermot finds himself embroiled in a mystery of murder, succession, and ambition. Dermot falls in love with the youngest Malenfer, the beautiful fey Simonne, but in his way are Simonne’s mismatched fiancé, her own connections to the spirit world, Dermot’s guilt over the circumstances of Arthur’s death… and the curse.”

Do curses exist? Can they truly affect a person, a family as a whole? Anyone who has seen the movie Practical Magic will know that a curse can sometimes affect just one part of a family, in the case of the movie the men who marry any one of the Owens Women, it takes Sherriff Hallet to put an end to the curse when at the end of the movie he states “Curses only work when you believe in them” I have to agree in this case; however for the Malenfer’s the situation is slightly different, in that the curse was cast upon them by a young teen the family had hung for crimes against the town, where in Practical Magic it was an ancestor who cast the curse on her family.  The Malenfer’s accused a neighbor child of Witchcraft, who while still breathing at the end of the noose cast a curse that stated the Malenfer line would see its end.  And to that end every male heir in the line has met an early and untimely death.

The book gives the reader a lot of personal history about each of the main characters, pulling in their nuances, strengths and weaknesses as needed to build the story and outlay how the curse affects each one individually.  From our Matriarch, Madame, who has buried each of her male children and her husband before their time, to Simmone her Granddaughter who by some strange happenstance has the ability to speak with and see the dead – it is the witch who cast the curse that informs Simmone of the impending doom of each relative before they pass, to Dermot Ward, the Irlandais, who comes to Malenfer manor to share Arthur’s secrets and possibly unlock the curse.  I found as a reader going back and forth through time to relive events tended to get a tad drawn and boring.  The author does a wonderful job of developing the world of Post WWI Paris, the outlying countryside and the political climate surrounding our characters, the reader can almost close their eyes and see and feel everything our characters do.  However, those same descriptions tend to slow the story down and leave the reader wondering if the characters are going to come back to the forefront.

Personally, I had a hard time getting into this novel, the action does not even pick up truly until the very last three chapters of the book and I found that while the curse was mentioned and the reader told about its origins, it was not the cause of the bigger issues within the book; I’d say it was more one of the seven deadly sins that was the main issue, Greed.  When I picked up this novel I had very high hopes there would be more about the curse, and witch interacting with the Malenfer’s and the evil surrounding the family/curse – however, I found that simply was not the case, I found it was more of a political game vs. something super natural that was at play.  Simply put this book is not something I will be re-reading and recommending.

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One thought on “Book Review: The Curse of Malenfer Manor, Iain McChesney

  1. Pingback: Iain McChesney: Recovering Bagpiper, Duran Duran & The Green Fairy

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