counter create hit Such Pretty Things - Download Free eBook
Hot Best Seller

Such Pretty Things

Availability: Ready to download

A terrifying story of ghosts and grief, perfect for fans of Shirley Jackon's The Haunting of Hill House and Henry James's The Turn of the Screw, in award-winning author Lisa Heathfield's first adult novel. Clara and her younger brother Stephen are taken by their father to stay with their aunt and uncle in a remote house in the hills as their mother recovers from an accident A terrifying story of ghosts and grief, perfect for fans of Shirley Jackon's The Haunting of Hill House and Henry James's The Turn of the Screw, in award-winning author Lisa Heathfield's first adult novel. Clara and her younger brother Stephen are taken by their father to stay with their aunt and uncle in a remote house in the hills as their mother recovers from an accident. At first, they see it as a summer to explore. There's the train set in the basement, the walled garden with its secret graves and beyond it all the silent loch, steady and waiting. Auntie has wanted them for so long—real children with hair to brush and arms to slip into the clothes made just for them. All those hours washing, polishing, preparing beds and pickling fruit and now Clara and Stephen are here, like a miracle, on her doorstep. But the reality of two children—their noise, their mess, their casual cruelties–begins to overwhelm Auntie. The children begin to uncover things Auntie had thought left buried, and Clara can feel her brother slipping away from her. This hastily created new family finds itself falling apart, with terrifying consequences for them all. Such Pretty Things is a deeply chilling and haunting story about the slow shattering nature of grief, displacement, jealousy and an overwhelming desire to love and be loved.


Compare

A terrifying story of ghosts and grief, perfect for fans of Shirley Jackon's The Haunting of Hill House and Henry James's The Turn of the Screw, in award-winning author Lisa Heathfield's first adult novel. Clara and her younger brother Stephen are taken by their father to stay with their aunt and uncle in a remote house in the hills as their mother recovers from an accident A terrifying story of ghosts and grief, perfect for fans of Shirley Jackon's The Haunting of Hill House and Henry James's The Turn of the Screw, in award-winning author Lisa Heathfield's first adult novel. Clara and her younger brother Stephen are taken by their father to stay with their aunt and uncle in a remote house in the hills as their mother recovers from an accident. At first, they see it as a summer to explore. There's the train set in the basement, the walled garden with its secret graves and beyond it all the silent loch, steady and waiting. Auntie has wanted them for so long—real children with hair to brush and arms to slip into the clothes made just for them. All those hours washing, polishing, preparing beds and pickling fruit and now Clara and Stephen are here, like a miracle, on her doorstep. But the reality of two children—their noise, their mess, their casual cruelties–begins to overwhelm Auntie. The children begin to uncover things Auntie had thought left buried, and Clara can feel her brother slipping away from her. This hastily created new family finds itself falling apart, with terrifying consequences for them all. Such Pretty Things is a deeply chilling and haunting story about the slow shattering nature of grief, displacement, jealousy and an overwhelming desire to love and be loved.

51 review for Such Pretty Things

  1. 5 out of 5

    Dannii Elle

    Lisa Heathfield is an author I have previously read from and adored. Her previous publications resided in the YA contemporary genre, which isn't my usual go to and yet I was completely engaged with her emotional creations. This is, I believe, the author's first foray into both the horror genre and the sphere of adult writing. I found it a brilliantly complex and inventive novel and was pleased to find the same emotional intensity present here, as well. Part of this emotion was brought to the read Lisa Heathfield is an author I have previously read from and adored. Her previous publications resided in the YA contemporary genre, which isn't my usual go to and yet I was completely engaged with her emotional creations. This is, I believe, the author's first foray into both the horror genre and the sphere of adult writing. I found it a brilliantly complex and inventive novel and was pleased to find the same emotional intensity present here, as well. Part of this emotion was brought to the reader through the storyline but mostly it was evoked through Heathfield's writing. Her characters, including how they moved and what they felt, were authentically summoned for the reader through turns of phrase and descriptions that really brought this book to life. For example, when describing fear, Heathfield depicts her characters as so: "Clara tastes the strength of her heartbeat pressing into her throat, her tongue. Stephen is circle-eyed in the gloom." My only desire for this novel is for the plot to have continued to mirror the early gloomy atmosphere. I found it a sinister read throughout but wanted more tension present in the scenes, to keep me reading at the edge of my seat. I wanted more shifting shadows, more bumps in the night, and more half-glimpsed at movements. Basically, I longed for the usual horrifying spectacles to occur, alongside the more nuanced psychological ones happening concurrently. The novel also seemed to end a little abruptly for me and I wanted a further exploration for the calamitous events, in the concluding quarter. Despite this, I still enjoyed myself in this clever, little novel and still find this an author one I long to return to, whenever she has anything new to offer her eager readers. I recieved a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the author, Lisa Heathfield, and the publisher, Titan Books, for this opportunity.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Oxana Tomova

    Such Pretty Things is a thriller of human drama with a weird tie-in horror elements that unfortunately fit awkwardly as they are only introduced into this mess without ever bearing fruit. I really do like the premise of the book. The description provided by the publisher is of an enticing human drama. Unfortunately, the author fails to build upon it. The beginning is so slow it continues up to about 60% into the book. None of the characters are relatable, not in their grief, nor sadness, lonelines Such Pretty Things is a thriller of human drama with a weird tie-in horror elements that unfortunately fit awkwardly as they are only introduced into this mess without ever bearing fruit. I really do like the premise of the book. The description provided by the publisher is of an enticing human drama. Unfortunately, the author fails to build upon it. The beginning is so slow it continues up to about 60% into the book. None of the characters are relatable, not in their grief, nor sadness, loneliness, etc. They all act weirdly to the point of conversations making little to no sense, and the overall thought process of the main character Clara, whose point of view presents most of the book, read like a chat bot - tends to forget how she felt three sentences ago while still following the "same" train of thought and jumps into extraordinarily weird conclusions. Then we get some kinda supernatural things thrown in, but not really, but kinda yes. It's infuriating, as the book swerves between "is it ghosts", "is it mental health", as it tries to prove both before it drives itself into a wall. And then comes the conclusion, of one chapter which goes through more twists and turns than the whole book, running into the same issues all over again. And then we get the most confusing and overall bad ending of bad books I've had the stomach to finish, which sounded like the last 50 or so (given the length of ~179) pages were lost and rewritten into 5-10. There's no reward at the end, there's not one thing uncovered in the end, all the "mysteries" stay a mystery and it feels like the author has no idea what happened in her own story. Don't get me wrong - a vague ending can be so good, if done well - for example, I wouldn't say any of Murakami's fiction books ever end with anything but vagueness, but the style is different and they are at least though provoking. Overall, I would just not recommend this book at all. I really think the author should try again and actually work trough the story - the concept is so promising it's sad to see it wasted. *Thanks to NetGalley and Titan Books for providing me with an ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review.*

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lynn Williams

    3 of 5 stars https://lynns-books.com/2021/04/13/su... My Five Word TL:DR Review : Dark Depiction of Overwhelming Grief Such Pretty Things is a slowly unfolding horror story that speaks more of dealing with grief and the dark thoughts that haunt a person after suffering loss than the actual physical manifestation of ghosts. As the story begins, two children, Clara and Stephen, are being taken to their aunt and uncle’s house to be cared for. Their mother has suffered a terrible accident and their fat 3 of 5 stars https://lynns-books.com/2021/04/13/su... My Five Word TL:DR Review : Dark Depiction of Overwhelming Grief Such Pretty Things is a slowly unfolding horror story that speaks more of dealing with grief and the dark thoughts that haunt a person after suffering loss than the actual physical manifestation of ghosts. As the story begins, two children, Clara and Stephen, are being taken to their aunt and uncle’s house to be cared for. Their mother has suffered a terrible accident and their father is unable to cope with work and all the other responsibilities and so has asked the family to step in for a short while. The children are dropped off and, after their father almost breaks his neck rushing to get out of the place, the strangeness of the situation really starts to set in. The children have never met their aunt and uncle before. They live in a large remote house, the family home in fact, kept in absolutely pristine condition by their aunt who seems a little obsessive about rules and cleanliness. The two share a bedroom that has been set up like something from a fairytale with ribbons on the curtains and freshly sewn clothes hanging in the wardrobes. It’s a little too perfect and the children are unsure how to behave. Their aunt has many rules and although they don’t meet their uncle it’s clear that he is unhappy with the arrangement and his disapproval seems to hang over them all causing a feeling of dread. Slowly but surely things begin to unravel. Their aunt may long to hear the patter of tiny feet but her daydreams bear little resemblance to the reality of actual looking after children. Particularly two children who are themselves coming to terms with the fact their mother may not survive. The two misbehave, they break things and cause a mess, they don’t eat properly, their manners leave something to be desired and they can be unintentionally cruel. The strain between the three is quite intense in the first few chapters. The children frequently sneak out, unsupervised, to explore the grounds and their aunt’s dwindling grip on control is stretched to breaking point. Then things begin to shift. Clara is a teenager and openly rebels against her aunt, refusing to wear plaits in her hair and pretty dresses with frills, as the two embark on a strange contest of wills Stephen’s loyalty begins to shift towards his aunt. He’s much younger than Clara and wants to feel the familiar embrace of adult care. His gradual shift only adds to the tension, Clara is jealous of his affection and their aunt feels empowered by the turn of events, inflicting more punishments on Clara until eventually the two siblings are split up on an almost continuous basis. There really is a lot to like about this book. The writing and descriptions are fantastic. Heathfield’s ability to create a densely oppressive atmosphere and ever growing sense of dread is simply superb. I thought all the characters came across well and the setting with the large house and gardens really played into the sense of isolation lending credibility to the way of life depicted. However, in spite of their being so much to love here, the large house and estate with plenty of secrets waiting to be discovered, the superb atmosphere that is almost suffocatingly tense and the clear unravelling of the aunt’s mental stability I found myself not as enamoured with the latter half of the book as the first and I’d love to pin down why that is. I think in a nutshell there’s a slight over ambition taking place here or perhaps a cluttering of too many ideas. The start is just brilliant. It’s really well set up. You can feel the aunt slowly becoming more and more unstable and there are also a few indicators here and there about one of the children (though I won’t point out which one). But then, I felt like the plot became too convoluted. One of the aspects I’d already guessed at but for the final few chapters it felt like there was a bombardment of ideas taking place and, although I was still absolutely gripped, some of the reveals felt unnecessary, like the set up and the mental health issues that were clearly escalating out of control, were enough by themselves. I have to confess, although I didn’t particularly like the ending, I think it veered into too much horror for my liking, I admit that I couldn’t drag my eyes away. It was perfectly horrible. I certainly didn’t dislike Such Pretty Things but I think it reminded me less of Shirley Jackson’s Haunting of Hill House and more of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline. The aunt undoubtedly put me in mind of ‘the other mother’ and gave off a sinister vibe, at first sugar coated with perfection but slowly revealing a dreadful instability that pushed her to dark extremes. I certainly wouldn’t discourage others from reading this, it’s very easy to read and I will undoubtedly look out for more work by this author. I think it was maybe a little too much ‘horror’ for me and I didn’t love all the eventual reveals but that could very easily be an ‘it’s me not you’ type of occurence. I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks. The above is my own opinion.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Karen Barber

    After an accident involving their mother, Cara and her brother Stephen are sent to live with their aunt and uncle. They’ve never met, and yet are thrust into the bosom of their mother’s childhood home. Things are different, and though each looks forward to the experience it soon becomes clear that things will not go as either side hoped. A rather languid start sets up the oppressive atmosphere in the new home. Cara and Stephen are expected to follow their aunt’s rules. Though she desperately want After an accident involving their mother, Cara and her brother Stephen are sent to live with their aunt and uncle. They’ve never met, and yet are thrust into the bosom of their mother’s childhood home. Things are different, and though each looks forward to the experience it soon becomes clear that things will not go as either side hoped. A rather languid start sets up the oppressive atmosphere in the new home. Cara and Stephen are expected to follow their aunt’s rules. Though she desperately wants them, nothing prepares her for the reality of children. The noise, the capriciousness and the conflict from someone trying to assert their own will on a situation. They never meet their uncle, but his presence is felt through the rules enforced. Cara fights their new reality. She becomes increasingly upset. Stephen, desperate for a mother’s love, is more willing to adapt his behaviour. As the children adjust to their new home we are given details that indicate that their aunt is struggling with her mental health after suffering miscarriages/deaths of her five pregnancies. After what seems like a long time, we start to see things unravel in spectacular fashion. Genuinely creepy at this point, and it would have been great to have seen this element introduced earlier/perhaps offering a little more background to their lives. By the time we’re privy to what’s happening, it’s too late to do anything other than look on in horror and wonder how such a thing could happen without anyone being alerted to the oddness of the situation. Thanks to NetGalley for granting me access to this prior to publication.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Aina

    3.5 stars. Such Pretty Things is a dark, devastating horror with such lovely writing that I’m almost tempted to overlook its flaws. The gloomy house is the perfect setting for this story. There’s a looming sense of dread in the air and the tension is palpable. Why is there a graveyard in the garden? What are the creepy dolls in the house? Where is their uncle? Clara’s protectiveness towards Stephen clashes with Auntie’s desire for them to follow her rules. I loved the siblings’ relationship and 3.5 stars. Such Pretty Things is a dark, devastating horror with such lovely writing that I’m almost tempted to overlook its flaws. The gloomy house is the perfect setting for this story. There’s a looming sense of dread in the air and the tension is palpable. Why is there a graveyard in the garden? What are the creepy dolls in the house? Where is their uncle? Clara’s protectiveness towards Stephen clashes with Auntie’s desire for them to follow her rules. I loved the siblings’ relationship and I just wanted them to be okay! This isn’t an easy book to read as it deals with child abuse and traumatic losses. It’s an exploration of how grief manifests and a study of a woman’s descend into madness. Unfortunately, the plot unravels towards the end where the line between what’s real and what’s supernatural becomes blurry. The odd things we’ve seen are not explained. I don’t mind vague endings but after the characters have gone through so much, I wish there’s a sense of closure. Don’t read this if you’re in a sad mood! CW: child abuse, animal deaths, miscarriages Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for a review copy. book blog | twitter | instagram

  6. 4 out of 5

    Runalong

    Gothic houses, weird relatives and general spookiness usually works well for me but this tale ran out of speed too quickly and doesn’t really work as a novel for me Full review - https://www.runalongtheshelves.net/bl... Gothic houses, weird relatives and general spookiness usually works well for me but this tale ran out of speed too quickly and doesn’t really work as a novel for me Full review - https://www.runalongtheshelves.net/bl...

  7. 5 out of 5

    Juliet Bryant

    Just finished this book and I loved it. I must admit I am a fan of Lisa Heathfield’s books. They are always beautifully written and tackle painful and deeply emotional issues with great sensitivity. So I was excited to read her first adult book. This is a brilliantly creepy story with a suffocating sense of building horror. The characters are strange and unnerving and the tension grows as the relationships unravel. Creepy at its best. I couldn’t put it down.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Amy Walker - Trans-Scribe Reviews

    Such Pretty Things tells the story of two siblings, Clara and Stephen, who are taken to stay in a remote house with their aunt and uncle after their mother becomes hospitalised. Unable to juggle the responsibilities of a sick wife, work, and two children, their father decides that it's best for the two children to spend a few weeks in the country, even though they've never met their mothers sister before. Straight away there's a sense that there's something wrong in the house as soon as they get Such Pretty Things tells the story of two siblings, Clara and Stephen, who are taken to stay in a remote house with their aunt and uncle after their mother becomes hospitalised. Unable to juggle the responsibilities of a sick wife, work, and two children, their father decides that it's best for the two children to spend a few weeks in the country, even though they've never met their mothers sister before. Straight away there's a sense that there's something wrong in the house as soon as they get there, though this seems to be down to the fact that their aunt is a woman that whilst clearly very loving is very much set in her ways, and doesn't know how to interact with children. And this becomes the primary focus of the book, Clara and Stephen butting heads with their aunt repeatedly. The blurb for the book book describes it as a story about ghosts, and whilst I don't want to spoil too much about the book I have to tell people that it's not; or at least not in the way that I was expecting. I was waiting for things to start going bump in the night, for strange presences to make themselves known, and otherworldly visions to appear. The book has none of these, and there's never really any involvement with the supernatural in this book at all. Instead, the ghosts of the blurb are definitely referring to the ghosts of the aunt's past, and how her own experiences are haunting her. The book isn't dealing with spirits or spectres, but is instead a character study about a lonely and troubled woman and the madness that lies within her, caused by years of grief and loss. I would say that the book shows her descent into madness, but looking back at everything it's quite clear that the aunt was never fully sane, and the small 'eccentricities' from the first time we meet her were hinting at bigger things to come. The horror of Such Pretty Things comes from people, it's horror that takes a look at the evil that people are capable of, even when they think that they're acting in a place of love. The book has some heavy themes of abuse and childhood trauma, and readers who have lived through an abusive childhood may find some of the events of the book upsetting; especially as the aunt unravels more and more over the course of events. There are things that happen in Such Pretty Things that really put me on edge, and I found myself worried about the children more than once; and I kept urging Clara to try and do something, anything, to get out of the place. I wanted her to strike out, to physically fight back because I just somehow knew that things would get worse for them the longer they went on. I got really invested in these characters, and desperately wanted them to okay by the end. I've not read any of Lisa Heathfield's other books before, but I'm aware that she normally writes in the Young Adult field, and that Such Pretty Things is her first foray into adult literature, and horror. For a first time writing in this field it's an impressively subtle horror. It's a book that doesn't rely on scares or the spooky to get under your skin, but instead relies on complex human characters to drive the horror. Such Pretty Things is a book that creeped me out a lot, one that made me uncomfortable in a lot of ways, and that kept me on the edge of my seat. A very subtle and complex horror story.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Alyson Rhodes

    Loved this novel with its Gothic vibe, claustrophobic boundaries (Auntie's large house and gardens) and two engaging protagonists - the two children, one a young teen, Clara, and her younger brother, Stevie. After a horrific family tragedy they are packed off to stay with their unknown and unfamiliar Auntie. It's set in 1950's England - so no TV, no internet, no smartphones - children had to entertain themselves and play outside or with proper toys. or read or draw. This makes the children's iso Loved this novel with its Gothic vibe, claustrophobic boundaries (Auntie's large house and gardens) and two engaging protagonists - the two children, one a young teen, Clara, and her younger brother, Stevie. After a horrific family tragedy they are packed off to stay with their unknown and unfamiliar Auntie. It's set in 1950's England - so no TV, no internet, no smartphones - children had to entertain themselves and play outside or with proper toys. or read or draw. This makes the children's isolation more powerful and scary. It's a novel with a tiny cast of characters, which works well, and is told from Clara's immature but heart-rending point of view as she struggles to deal with her mum's accident, her father's departure, Auntie's growing strangeness and controlling nature, their uncle's absence, and all the time she is trying to protect her little brother -but increasingly you start to wonder, perhaps it is kind, determined and loyal Clara who needs protecting - from forces inside and outside the house? The story raises questions such as how can you love too much? How much grief can eat away at a person, what is family (birth or adoption), can you make someone love you? and do you put yourself first or save your sibling? In the face of madness there are no easy answers and the ending is so painful I nearly cried.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sasha Brown

    I am such a fan of Lisa Heathfield I have loved all her YA books and have read all of them in one sitting, I think she's such an amazing author. This is her first adult novel and I thought it was really great! It's a horror and it definitely is creepy at points and there is just a lot of eeriness about this book that I just loved. I think it had a bit of a slow start so took me a while to properly get into it and I felt there were some things that were never really fully explained or tied up at th I am such a fan of Lisa Heathfield I have loved all her YA books and have read all of them in one sitting, I think she's such an amazing author. This is her first adult novel and I thought it was really great! It's a horror and it definitely is creepy at points and there is just a lot of eeriness about this book that I just loved. I think it had a bit of a slow start so took me a while to properly get into it and I felt there were some things that were never really fully explained or tied up at the end so that's why this only a 4 star review, but other than that I thought it was a really good modern gothic horror and I would definitely recommend!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Annie

    Another masterpiece by one of my favourite authors, Lisa Heathfield. Heathfield is beyond talented, she is an extaordinary writer. She has managed to produced yet another gripping book, telling the story of Clara and her brother Stephen, who find themselves in the care of their aunt. Dark yet intriguing, this is the first book I have ever read that I have finished, and straight away started again. Brilliance at it's best. Another masterpiece by one of my favourite authors, Lisa Heathfield. Heathfield is beyond talented, she is an extaordinary writer. She has managed to produced yet another gripping book, telling the story of Clara and her brother Stephen, who find themselves in the care of their aunt. Dark yet intriguing, this is the first book I have ever read that I have finished, and straight away started again. Brilliance at it's best.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Nikki Sheehan

    A perfectly chilling read from this masterful storyteller. HeAthfield’s characters are fascinating; they’re whole and credible, yet slippery, keeping the reader guessing. It reminded me of The Little Stranger, with so much happening below the surface and the house as a character. Beautifully written and compelling. Already predict this will be my top read for 2021.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sue Wallace

    Such pretty things by Lisa Heathfield. This was a very good read. Little slow but I read it. I did think auntie was mad. I wasn't sure about the ending. 4*. Such pretty things by Lisa Heathfield. This was a very good read. Little slow but I read it. I did think auntie was mad. I wasn't sure about the ending. 4*.

  14. 4 out of 5

    George

  15. 5 out of 5

    Nicole Sweeney

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jo

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  18. 5 out of 5

    RitaSkeeter

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sam

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Van Damme

  21. 5 out of 5

    Mahi Kola

  22. 4 out of 5

    Lira

  23. 5 out of 5

    Danielle

  24. 4 out of 5

    nora

  25. 5 out of 5

    noemi [dogeatsreads]

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kelly B

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kirsty Hall

  29. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

  30. 5 out of 5

    AN R

  31. 5 out of 5

    Samantha

  32. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany Lynn Kramer

  33. 4 out of 5

    Emily Corliss

  34. 4 out of 5

    Carolina Barberis Diaz

  35. 5 out of 5

    Kai

  36. 4 out of 5

    Keisha L

  37. 4 out of 5

    Margin of Terror

  38. 5 out of 5

    Zahraa

  39. 4 out of 5

    Ruby

  40. 4 out of 5

    Ceci

  41. 5 out of 5

    Willow

  42. 4 out of 5

    Susanna Shortt

  43. 4 out of 5

    Laura

  44. 5 out of 5

    Tez

  45. 5 out of 5

    Kit Rose

  46. 5 out of 5

    Jess at TeamAsthers.co.uk

  47. 5 out of 5

    Horace Derwent

  48. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

  49. 4 out of 5

    Shayney Hardcastle

  50. 4 out of 5

    Khanyi

  51. 4 out of 5

    Raelyn Torngren

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.