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The Rolfes -- Ben, wife Marian, son David, and Aunt Elizabeth -- are a pleasant family from New York seeking to escape from the doldrums of a summer in their Queens apartment. They find a beautiful old country mansion on Long Island -- restful, secluded, with pool and private beach -- perfect, for the right people. But their "perfect" summer home hides terrors beyond their The Rolfes -- Ben, wife Marian, son David, and Aunt Elizabeth -- are a pleasant family from New York seeking to escape from the doldrums of a summer in their Queens apartment. They find a beautiful old country mansion on Long Island -- restful, secluded, with pool and private beach -- perfect, for the right people. But their "perfect" summer home hides terrors beyond their wildest imaginings. During that long summer the house becomes a nightmare from which there seems to be no escape.


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The Rolfes -- Ben, wife Marian, son David, and Aunt Elizabeth -- are a pleasant family from New York seeking to escape from the doldrums of a summer in their Queens apartment. They find a beautiful old country mansion on Long Island -- restful, secluded, with pool and private beach -- perfect, for the right people. But their "perfect" summer home hides terrors beyond their The Rolfes -- Ben, wife Marian, son David, and Aunt Elizabeth -- are a pleasant family from New York seeking to escape from the doldrums of a summer in their Queens apartment. They find a beautiful old country mansion on Long Island -- restful, secluded, with pool and private beach -- perfect, for the right people. But their "perfect" summer home hides terrors beyond their wildest imaginings. During that long summer the house becomes a nightmare from which there seems to be no escape.

30 review for Burnt Offerings

  1. 5 out of 5

    Amalia Gkavea

    ‘’Drive by the house you’re interested in at night, I say. Watch the windows. See if anybody’s watching for you there. And then drive home with the dome light on, and check that back seat as often as you can. It won’t be often enough.’’ Stephen Graham Jones I will readily admit that one of the things that bring me to the highest levels of anxiety is visiting a house I’ve never stepped foot into before. I’m 100% certain that I’ll sound like a superstitious ignorant, but bear with me:) Being ‘’Drive by the house you’re interested in at night, I say. Watch the windows. See if anybody’s watching for you there. And then drive home with the dome light on, and check that back seat as often as you can. It won’t be often enough.’’ Stephen Graham Jones I will readily admit that one of the things that bring me to the highest levels of anxiety is visiting a house I’ve never stepped foot into before. I’m 100% certain that I’ll sound like a superstitious ignorant, but bear with me:) Being quite the introvert type, it’s always a toil to find myself in ‘’unexplored’’ grounds but I wasn’t always such a lunatic over houses. Four-five years ago, we visited some friends in their new house, in a quaint seaside village, relatively close to Athens. The house was beautifully decorated, in an old-fashioned but nostalgic and inspired way, the family has been friends of ours for years, so no worries there. Yet, not long after we had comfortably placed ourselves in the lovely living room, I wanted to leave. I mean, an urgent open-the-door- or I’ll pass out kind of feeling. Just like that. I remember the headache and the feeling of heaviness as intensely as if I’m experiencing it right now. And the weird thing is that my parents felt it as well. There was nothing dark in the history of the house and the family still lives there happily and yet, I’ve never experienced such an unpleasant (to put it mildly) feeling in an indoors space since that day. It seemed to drain out every bit of energy in us… In this exquisite thriller by Robert Marasco, the vast mansion becomes a summer refuge for the Rolfe family. At least, this is what Marian wants it to be. Fed up with their noisy New York apartment and the draining city life, she convinces Ben to spend two months in an estate beyond her wildest dream. The elderly siblings, the owners of the house, ask for a miniscule price and the only obligation the family has is to prepare a tray for the ‘’darling’’ mother who lives in the remotest part of the local floor, unseen by all who have rented the estate throughout the years. ‘’What could be more perfect?’’ is the only thought in Marian’s empty head…. It’s possible that you know all about the heart of the plot of this brilliant thriller. You may have watched the film version. It won’t matter, I assure you, The way the book is s written will definitely absorb you. It made my heart pounding as I was approaching the conclusion, I was appalled and fascinated and under the grip of the tense influence of watching everything falling apart. The descriptions are razor sharp, building the story and the feeling of a foreboding darkness grows page by page. The dialogue could want for more, but let us not forget that the novel was written in the 70s, a decade that was fascinating and exciting but with colloquations that make us cringe now. And it seemed to me that the main theme was obsession. The craving for a different life, for what we perceive as mirrors of our identity and how far can we go in order to satisfy it. What if we have to make the most impossible choice? Would we succumb to an obsession or rise up against it? It all comes down to choices or at least, the illusion that we have a choice and this is exactly what attracted me to this finely woven plot. The characters are overshadowed by the House which is the undoubtable protagonist of Marasco’s novel. Marian is highly unsympathetic. Self-centered, manipulative, an all-around bad mother. I never felt sorry for her. Not even for a moment...Ben starts out as a bit indifferent, verging on irritating but I found that he was quite complex as the story progressed and in truth? He was the only one who had a passable percentage of common sense and logical thinking in his mind. Aunt Elizabeth was sympathetic enough, quirky and compassionate. But this isn’t the kind of story where the characters have to be complex and sympathetic and what not. It is the setting, the ambiance of the writing that matters and this is as exceptional as we’ll ever find in the genre. This is a psychological, paranormal thriller that does absolute justice to the genre that is being relentlessly tortured in our current times. There are no gore, no ghosts or jumpscares. But there is something far more frightening than any of these. Human obsession. The root for most evils in our lives. The way we choose to blind ourselves to sustain our illusions, the price we sometimes have to pay for not listening to our instinct and run….. My reviews can also be found on https://theopinionatedreaderblog.word...

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey Keeten

    ”The hum that drew her to the door at the end of the sitting room had become deeper and stronger, but almost imperceptibly so. It was the door itself that caught her attention now. It was white, and framed within the narrow, smooth border was an intricate pattern of lines and curves carved into the wood, so delicate in the room’s dim light that she hadn’t noticed the design until she came within a few feet. Swirls and garlands were cut into triangular panels that met in a small, raised pistil. S ”The hum that drew her to the door at the end of the sitting room had become deeper and stronger, but almost imperceptibly so. It was the door itself that caught her attention now. It was white, and framed within the narrow, smooth border was an intricate pattern of lines and curves carved into the wood, so delicate in the room’s dim light that she hadn’t noticed the design until she came within a few feet. Swirls and garlands were cut into triangular panels that met in a small, raised pistil. She moved closer and the design became more intricate and abstract and impenetrable: a globe, a web, a sunburst, a maze, a slab carved with ancient pictographs.” It all begins with an advertisement. UNIQUE SUMMER HOME Restful, secluded. Perfect for large families. Pool, private beach, dock. Long season. Very reasonable for the right people. Marian Rolfe likes fine things. She even takes temporary work occasionally to afford an extra fine desk or a lovely bureau. She also loves to clean, and more days than not when Ben returns from teaching, he is greeted by the aroma of lemons and polish. Ben believes she is a bit obsessive. Marian is determined to escape Brooklyn for the summer. With a thought to protecting their modest savings, Ben wants to stay in Brooklyn and venture out on a few trips to upstate New York when they need some relief from the oppressive heat of summer. Ben is overmatched, of course, with battling a splash of feminine wiles, a dash of not so subtle manipulations, and a smattering of outright deception. Once Marian sees the palatial, crumbling Allardyce mansion, she is in lust. The old adage if it is too good to be true is manifesting in Ben’s mind in neon colors and mile high letters. It doesn’t help that the brother and sister team of Arnold and Roz are not only odd, but are as creepy as a pair of zombie monkeys tethered to Pennywise the Dancing Clown. The house is full of all the wonderful things that Marian can only dream of every possessing. Ornate furniture, delicate vases, expensive dinnerware, and antique clocks are scattered throughout the house, all shrouded with dust and cobwebs. The walls and floors of this faded beauty are drab and dingy. All of this would give most anyone else pause, but Marian sees beyond the dreariness and knows with buckets of Lemon Pledge, warm water, elbow grease, and a pile of fresh rags she can make it gleam again. I was looking up Lemon Pledge (Marasco never does say exactly what Marian uses to make everything smell of lemons), and believe it or not, there is a “sexual act,” involving two usually elderly men, called Lemon Pledge. I won’t share what act that is, but it definitely falls under gross, moronic, and Never Doing That categories for me. This description, though, of Lemon Pledge made me laugh: “The purest most addictive artificial smell in the history of humankind. As its aroma ventures into your unworthy nostrils, it plants the seeds of ecstasy and euphoria into the womb of your mind.” Despite Ben’s misgivings, they take the house. After all, it is a bargain, and when would they ever get this opportunity again? Part of the stipulations is that Marian has to feed the matriarch of the family, Mrs. Allardyce, the glorious mother, three times a day by leaving a tray for her outside her ornately carved door. Marian never sees her and only occasionally gets a proof of life by noticing that some of the food on the plates she leaves... has been picked apart. So this novel is written with a slow burning fuse. There are sprinklings of foreshadowing that add to the unease of the reader. Things start out strange, but not too strange. It was interesting to see the acceptable level we have for the unusual before we start to feel alarmed. Clocks spring to life that refused to work. Weathered roof tiles fall to the ground revealing new tiles. Everything about the house starts to take on a healthy shine. The tendrils of gray hair that start to appear in Marian’s hair are just natural,...right? Ben starts to feel his personality change. He starts to know with more and more certainty that he needs to get away from this place, whether Marian wants to go or not. Things long buried are being pulled out of the recesses of his brain. ”It wasn’t there. He knew that. It didn’t exist, not outside those childish and unreasonably frightening nightmares. There was absolutely no way something could creep back from the distant past and be real; or out of the tiny, vulnerable part of his brain where the image had lodged itself. And be real and no more than ten feet from him.” And then there is the creepy chauffeur…*shudder*. He reminds me of Charles Manx from Joe Hill’s book NOS4A2. I wonder if Marasco’s chauffeur had some influence on Hill when he was creating Manx. Certainly, Joe’s father, Stephen King was influenced by this novel when he wrote The Shining, which came out four years after Burnt Offerings was published. This book makes the cut for most lists of Best Haunted House novels or even Best All-Time Horror Novels. It is certainly a classic of the genre. No slashing arcs of blood or piles of steaming gore, just good old fashioned psychological terror. I loved it! It was another perfect addition to my reading resume as part of my nostalgic tour through 1970’s horror. A movie was made in 1976 starring Karen Black, Oliver Reed, Bette Davis, and Burgess Meredith. I will definitely be cuing that up in the near future. If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit http://www.jeffreykeeten.com I also have a Facebook blogger page at:https://www.facebook.com/JeffreyKeeten

  3. 4 out of 5

    Char

    I can't say enough good things about this incredible haunted house story!   It was fast paced. It was chilling. It was vividly real. It was atmospheric. It was scary.It inexorably, unrelentingly pulls the reader to its final conclusion and that conclusion is stunning.   This is one of the best haunted house tales I've EVER read. Perhaps it's not as literary as The Haunting of Hill House, but it makes up for that with amazing imagery punctuated with scenes of such a chilling nature that my hands actu I can't say enough good things about this incredible haunted house story!   It was fast paced. It was chilling. It was vividly real. It was atmospheric. It was scary.It inexorably, unrelentingly pulls the reader to its final conclusion and that conclusion is stunning.   This is one of the best haunted house tales I've EVER read. Perhaps it's not as literary as The Haunting of Hill House, but it makes up for that with amazing imagery punctuated with scenes of such a chilling nature that my hands actually trembled while reading them. If you're looking for a haunted house tale with an ending that doesn't disappoint, this is THE book for you.   My HIGHEST recommendation!   *I received a free copy of this book from Valancourt Books in exchange for an honest review. Here it is.*

  4. 5 out of 5

    Dan Schwent

    When the Rolfe family finds a beach house for the summer for only $900, it seems too good to be true. And it is, for the house seems to be exerting its influence on Marian, Ben, and their son David. Will the Rolfe family head back to Brooklyn before it's too late? Chalk another one up to Paperbacks from Hell: The Twisted History of '70s and '80s Horror Fiction. This one caught my eye when I was perusing that sacred text one day and I eventually took the plunge. Burnt Offerings is a slow-burn haunt When the Rolfe family finds a beach house for the summer for only $900, it seems too good to be true. And it is, for the house seems to be exerting its influence on Marian, Ben, and their son David. Will the Rolfe family head back to Brooklyn before it's too late? Chalk another one up to Paperbacks from Hell: The Twisted History of '70s and '80s Horror Fiction. This one caught my eye when I was perusing that sacred text one day and I eventually took the plunge. Burnt Offerings is a slow-burn haunted house store, emphasis on the slow. The tortoise-like pace was a little frustrating for awhile. Also, it's very much rooted in the 1970s, from Marion being a mostly compliant house wife to some rapey moments from Ben, which seems to be a lot more commonplace in 70s fiction than it should be. It's one of Stephen King's inspirations for The Shining, and it shows. Most of the gripes I had with The Shining are here as well. Now that I have my gripes out of the way early, I wound up enjoying the book once the pace picked up. The creepy atmosphere is very well done, starting with subtle bits of weirdness and eventually going full tilt. Would you take a tray of food to an unseen ancient woman once a day to live in your dream house for a couple months? How far would you go for your dreams? These are the questions posed by Burnt Offerings. "If something looks too good to be true, it probably is" is probably the core message. I thought I knew which of the Rolfe's would go off the rails first but I was wrong. The last 25% was pretty fantastic. If the rest of the book had been up to that standard, it would have been an easy four stars. As it stands, it had to work pretty hard to earn three from me. As always, your mileage may vary. If The Shining was to your liking, you might like this more than I did.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Janie C.

    Hands down, the best dream-house turned nightmare chiller ever. A classic.

  6. 4 out of 5

    kohey

    The thing that I like about this novel is that it is not a hungry house itself but a certain family that goes crazy and freak out with nasty nudges from the monster mansion. How could small things lead us into destruction so easily (unfortunately with the help of an uncanny thing),just when we feel stressed out? This story doesn’t contain bloody scenes,but there is definitely something about it that chills me to the marrow every time I read. A superb psycho thriller with a bad aftertaste.

  7. 5 out of 5

    TPK

    Perhaps it's simply because it doesn't hold up to an unfair comparison, but Robert Marasco's Burnt Offerings, though not an awful read by any means, was not everything I imagined it would be. The premise isn't bad, as horror novels go: little urban family rents a beautiful, if sadly dilapidated, grand house in the country for summer vacation, and they slowly come to discover there's an evil presence in the house which automatically rejuvenates it under just the right conditions. The "evil house" Perhaps it's simply because it doesn't hold up to an unfair comparison, but Robert Marasco's Burnt Offerings, though not an awful read by any means, was not everything I imagined it would be. The premise isn't bad, as horror novels go: little urban family rents a beautiful, if sadly dilapidated, grand house in the country for summer vacation, and they slowly come to discover there's an evil presence in the house which automatically rejuvenates it under just the right conditions. The "evil house" concept has been used by more than one author to advantage, but that's not really the problem with this particular book. Here's the thing about writing psychological horror: if the terrifying conditions you've created are really going to dig into your readers' minds and make it impossible for them to put the book down, you must give them a compelling reason to care about the protagonists; your readers have to want desperately for the characters to make it out of the mess alive. And Marasco simply didn't take the time to make me care about anyone in the family. From the outset, one rarely gets the feeling that the husband and wife feel anything more than mild annoyance toward each other; Ben, the husband, is barely sketched out as a harried English teacher who may be on the verge of a nervous breakdown, and Marian, the wife, is teasing and shallow, obsessed with acquiring beautiful objects. The two tend to ignore their son -- who is largely a cipher -- when they aren't actively traumatizing him. Aunt Elizabeth, who could have been a sassy old broad in the right author's hands, is little more than a cigarette holder and a paintbox. I followed these people with a kind of dull curiosity, wondering merely which one would die first and how the rest would be dispatched. Then, too, there are a number of dead ends in this book -- cul-de-sac ideas that aren't properly followed up. Before finding the main house, the family comes upon a ruined summer cottage; the son swears he saw a tricycle covered in dried blood next to the place. At the house, the husband finds a set of broken glasses in the bottom of the pool; they don't belong to anyone in the family and the lenses are smashed in a way that suggests unusual violence. There's no spoiler in mentioning these plot points, because neither one has any follow-up in the story. I kept expecting the gory tricycle, in particular, to turn up again because the son has very little to do and is often bored; what would be more natural for him than to go exploring around the property, and maybe to find that tricycle again? But it never happens. Marasco wrote his thriller before a number of modern horror authors started their work, and perhaps his work was judged at the time of its publication based on a dearth of entries in the genre. But this book doesn't even compare to a number of quality titles that were completed a decade earlier -- including the one I was concurrently re-reading, We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson. (This review was previously published on my blog, Confessions of a Laundry Faerie.)

  8. 5 out of 5

    Beverly

    My enthusiasm for this book may be tempered by the fact of having read too many scary stories this October past and my dislike of domestic chores. Burnt Offerings left me bedraggled. It is well written, but maybe I just have a hard time believing that any woman in the past or anytime would have loved housework as much as Marian does in this book. Even before they move into the possessed house, she is a cleaning fiend in their tiny apartment in New York, waxing the floors obsessively, and making, My enthusiasm for this book may be tempered by the fact of having read too many scary stories this October past and my dislike of domestic chores. Burnt Offerings left me bedraggled. It is well written, but maybe I just have a hard time believing that any woman in the past or anytime would have loved housework as much as Marian does in this book. Even before they move into the possessed house, she is a cleaning fiend in their tiny apartment in New York, waxing the floors obsessively, and making, her son, David, hang up his school clothes properly which she then readjusted because he did it wrong. When they move into the grand house which is so surprisingly cheap for the whole summer, she begins attacking the dirt and grime with gusto. Ben, her husband and David and Aunt Elizabeth beg her to slow down and take some time with them, but she can't be bothered. Is the house taking control already or was she already coo coo for cocoa puffs? This book and it's sentient house was an influence on Stephen King for The Shining's Overlook Hotel apparently and I can see why.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Margitte

    I like psychological thrillers, but cannot say the same of this psychological horror thriller. This is one of those, in which the house takes the center stage for a young couple, Ben and Marian Rolfe, who desperately wanted to escape the stifling heat in their tiny Brooklyn apartment and need a place to go for the summer holiday. They found this beautiful old house out in the country, in upstate New York. Charming, with an ocean front, a boat, and a big swimming pool. Little did they know that i I like psychological thrillers, but cannot say the same of this psychological horror thriller. This is one of those, in which the house takes the center stage for a young couple, Ben and Marian Rolfe, who desperately wanted to escape the stifling heat in their tiny Brooklyn apartment and need a place to go for the summer holiday. They found this beautiful old house out in the country, in upstate New York. Charming, with an ocean front, a boat, and a big swimming pool. Little did they know that it would destroy the husband, possess the wife and terrify their child. Yes, it's that scary! Way too graphic for me, but for the right reader it will be perfect. I don't know why I feel like this about this book since I loved the Alfred Hitchcock books. It is similar in ambiance, but I think what disturbed me the most was the presence of the old lady and the young boy. I wanted them gone from there. But of course, the author knew that and made me suffer for it :-)) Oh and upstairs in one of the bedrooms, there was old Mrs. Allardyce for whom Marian had to prepare three meals a day. That was the catch for getting the house so cheap. How can I leave the vulnerable people behind and close the book, you know. Which reminds me, take a very....long.....intense.....look at the cover. I DID take notice of the introduction of the book in which , in 2014, Stephen Graham Jones forewarned the reader:Drive by the house you're interested in at night, I say. Watch the windows. See if anybody's waiting for you there. And then drive home with the dome light on, and check that back seat as often as you can. It won't be enough. And that's healthy, that's good, that's right... ...The central dilemma for us, for people, it's that as much as we might spook when our dog won't set foot in a room, we NEED that room. ...there's two kinds of haunted houses. There's the Stay Away kind, like we get The Amityville Horror or Poltergeist, where you are punished for your trespass, and then there's the Hungry House. Whereas Stay Away Houses just want to be left alone, Hungry Houses aren't complete without people to digest for reasons or decades or centuries. Hill House was Hungry. The Overlook Hotel was hungry. So is this pretty house Marasco give us in Burnt Offerings. Published in 1973, it was a few years before Stephen King hit the book stores with his own books for which the horror shelves had to be created. Look ahead just a decade in 1983, when the horror shelves were spilling over, when the fan base had gone locust, was chewing through pages as fast as the publishing houses could print them. Those shelves contained Robert McCammon, Clive Barker and Peter Straub, but Marasco did not share it. This was his only one. An oddball beautiful novel which became one of a kind. In the last paragraph of the foreword, Jones leaves us with this final warning before proceeding: The best haunted house novels, they grow their walls up around you, they give you a place to live, if you dare. Open this book, step in. We haven't left the light on for you. While plowing through the dark, sinister, amazingly beautiful interior of the house with this unfortunate family, I was reminded of those years in which pheromones, teenage oxytocin and the magic of endorphins, triggered by chocolates, created this magic hormonal concoction for teenagers enjoying a movie such as Burnt Offerings(1976). We could happily cling to our latest love interest, while sharing a mountain of popcorn, cuddles and kisses in the movie theater. This would have been the perfect movie for just that purpose! But now in an older period of my life, I knew what this author was doing, and I DID NOT connect with the book on the same level, but nevertheless could still not leave it alone and walk away! Nope, hubby was gone on a business trip, I was sleeping alone with the two Jack Russels and three cats on our bed, and I refused to switch off the lights. So at five (!!) this morning, when the first rooster crowed, I lit a candle, switched off the bed lamp and fell asleep. The book finally finished. I wrote a note for the staff to wake me up at 7.00, but they should open the curtains and windows before they do it. No darkness for me right now :-)) The rest of the morning I was in a super happy place in my mind. Life was just beautiful and worth living! I think the next author should try to write a novel in which the reader is pulled into the pages, get strangled in the captivating words, and then introduce that house of horrors to the unsuspecting mind. Come to think of it, this is exactly what happened here. My only salvation was that I refused to switch off the bed lamp - or so I thought. Honestly, I think it worked! :-)) I so much want to add some more thoughts, but I will refrain, sit on my hands. This is an excellent book, with a deeper dimension, leaving a moral message behind. It's more than just a scary experience. That's all you're gonna get out of me. Why I always choose these books for my alone-time is just beyond me. What can I do. I'm addicted. And I desperately need some sleep. Oh, and chocolates and a cuddle! RECOMMENDED! Read Jeffrey Keeten's superb review. https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

    Well, even after only a couple of years before reading this the first time, there were some scenes that I was delighted to re-discover! This stands among my top ten "haunted house" stories, easily--among others such as Hill House, The Elementals, and The Shining. The best part for myself in Robert Marasco's novel is the slowly building tension and atmospheric terror that I could get from just about every page! (view spoiler)[ I never thought that looking at something as innocent as a framed pictu Well, even after only a couple of years before reading this the first time, there were some scenes that I was delighted to re-discover! This stands among my top ten "haunted house" stories, easily--among others such as Hill House, The Elementals, and The Shining. The best part for myself in Robert Marasco's novel is the slowly building tension and atmospheric terror that I could get from just about every page! (view spoiler)[ I never thought that looking at something as innocent as a framed picture could give me actual goosebumps! (hide spoiler)] This story just kept on delivering the chills all the way through to the end. Yes, the movie version was great, but do yourself a favor and pick up the actual novel--there is so much more awaiting you behind those walls....

  11. 5 out of 5

    Bark | Ladies Of Horror Fiction

    I listened to this audio for the HA Audiobook Group Read Come and join us! Marian is a 70’s housewife and she is tired of city life and coerces her husband, Ben, into checking out a summer rental with a beach that is far from the sweltering heat, stink and noise of the city. He says it sounds too good to be true and whines, “but honey, we can’t afford it”. But he caves. Should’ve stood your ground, man! The rental turns out to be a giant estate on 200 acres. There are 30 rooms and all they have I listened to this audio for the HA Audiobook Group Read Come and join us! Marian is a 70’s housewife and she is tired of city life and coerces her husband, Ben, into checking out a summer rental with a beach that is far from the sweltering heat, stink and noise of the city. He says it sounds too good to be true and whines, “but honey, we can’t afford it”. But he caves. Should’ve stood your ground, man! The rental turns out to be a giant estate on 200 acres. There are 30 rooms and all they have to do is pay $900 for the summer and leave “Mother” sustenance three times a day. Ummm, what? Yes, Mother is staying! Apparently, Mother doesn’t leave her room and will be no trouble at all as long as you keep to the feeding schedule or so say the weird brother and sister who are renting the place and who skedaddle out of town leaving no contact information as soon as the couple agrees to rent the place. Marian immediately takes to the home as if it were her own, obsessively preparing meals for Mother and cleaning and fretting (which sounds like a vacation in Hell to me) while Ben, his aunt and their young son fritter away their days in the sun. But that doesn’t last long. Soon enough eerie events start to occur and Marian’s obsession with the house intensifies. They can try to escape but the house wants what it wants! This was an unnerving listen that allows the dread to slowly build. It is read expertly by R.C. Bray who is perfect for this kind of old-timey story. His voice is so serious and wizened just enough to set the scene and make the words even creepier. But, folks, it was written in the early 70’s and its 70’s roots are definitely showing in some of the dialogue. “I’ll do the talking. Just look pretty and keep your mouth shut.” Ben says this to Marian and she doesn’t punch him the face. At another point Marian says (out loud, mind you) to Ben, “You know I’m the dumb one.” He accepts this as fact and again does not get punched in the face and they move along with their day. Ahhh, the 70’s. I am so very glad I was too young to have to deal with this WTFery! If you like haunted houses and haven’t listened to this story on audio, what the heck are you waiting for?

  12. 4 out of 5

    Johann (jobis89)

    It was fine. Poor pacing, in my opinion! Full review to come.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Empress Reece (Hooked on Books)

    Obsession & Possession- 5 stars... This was one of the best haunted house stories I've ever read! I just loved it! It's about The Rolfes- Marian, Ben & their son David. They live in a noisy apartment building in Queens so in order to get some peace they rent a house in the country for two months for their summer vacation. The house turns out to be a huge mansion that has fallen in disrepair. They find the renters, Roz & Brother, to be very eccentric and in the back of their mind they know that so Obsession & Possession- 5 stars... This was one of the best haunted house stories I've ever read! I just loved it! It's about The Rolfes- Marian, Ben & their son David. They live in a noisy apartment building in Queens so in order to get some peace they rent a house in the country for two months for their summer vacation. The house turns out to be a huge mansion that has fallen in disrepair. They find the renters, Roz & Brother, to be very eccentric and in the back of their mind they know that something isn't quite right. They present them with an offer they can't refuse though so they move in and take possession of the house but they'll come to find out that the house has taken possession of them; and as Marian's obsession with the house intensifies and her will to choose her family over the house is slowly taken from her, the house comes back to life... Sometimes I find the endings to haunted house stories can be kind of hokey but I thought this one was very satisfying. The entire story was very atmospheric and I really enjoyed the sense of dark foreboding that overcast their stay. Seeing the house take possession of the family was very eerie and nicely written by the author. If I absolutely 'had' to pick something that I didn't care for, it would probably be Marian & Ben's lovey-dovey dialogue. It was kind of sweet at first, and to give the author credit where credit is due, it was pretty realistic but I really don't care to hear couples baby talk in real life so I definitely don't care to hear it in a book either. That's really just a personal preference though and it didn't bother me enough to sway my rating. On a side note, my 'obsession' with books 'possessed' me to buy a 1973 first edition of this but I'm so glad I did! It was totally worth it and I know I'll go back and reread it one day. For now though, it's going back in its Brodart and I'm going to find a copy of this movie that I'm dying to see!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Maciek

    I discovered Burnt Offerings through a recommendation by Stephen King, who described it as "disturbing tale, and one which comes highly recommended not just to fans of the genre but to the general reader", praising its "near brilliance" , which he considers to be second only to Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House . King deemed this book to be important enough to include in his recommended reading section of his work on horror fiction, Danse Macabre. I couldn't resist a book praised so h I discovered Burnt Offerings through a recommendation by Stephen King, who described it as "disturbing tale, and one which comes highly recommended not just to fans of the genre but to the general reader", praising its "near brilliance" , which he considers to be second only to Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House . King deemed this book to be important enough to include in his recommended reading section of his work on horror fiction, Danse Macabre. I couldn't resist a book praised so highly by one of my favorite authors, and I have to admit that I picked it up with a certain level of expectation. I wanted to experience something wonderful and memorable, which would keep me up at night. First published in 1973, the novel is almost entirely forgotten today - its lifespan was probably extended by the movie adaptation, but not quite enough to make it a classic on the level of Rosemary's Baby by my favorite Ira Levin, or Stephen King's own The Shining, both novels also immortalized by their respective film adaptations - in Levin's case extremely faithful, not so much in King's. After years of being out of print, the novel was re-released two years ago in a variety of formats - allowing us to finally experience it again. In Burnt Offerings, Marian Rolfe - wife of Ben and mother of David - tries desperately to get her family out of the overcrowded and unbearable borough of Queens in New York City, which she dearly hates. Much to her husbands' chagrin, she has been looking through ads in various papers and found an offer which is almost too good to be true - a home in the country available for the entire summer, available for "the right kind of people". Low on cash but high in spirit, Marian manages to get Ben to agree to go and see the place. When they arrive, they see not a regular home but a real, proper mansion - run down and neglected, but livable. The owners - Roz and Arnold Allardyce, a pair of siblings - offer it to Marian for just $900...for the entire summer, as they are going away and need someone to house sit. There's just a single catch: their elderly mother has to stay behind. But she's not any trouble at all, they say; she never leaves her room, and all that is required are three simple meals a day which are to be left in front of her door. Surely, this can't be that bad? Of course not - Marian packs her family up, along with their older aunt Elizabeth, and they set out to what should be the summer of their lives. As you can probably guess, it's not just that bad - it's worse. Soon it becomes apparent that taking care of Mrs Allardyce's meals is the least of Marian's worries - she begins to feel incredibly attracted to the house itself, spending most of her time cleaning, organizing and tending to it, at the same time feeling growing physical repulsion towards her husband; Ben is horrified at his own aggressive behavior towards his son, which turns an innocent game in the pool into a fight for life and death; aunt Elizabeth, the image of virility and humor at the beginning of the book discovers that she grows tired quicker and quicker, and becomes frailer with each passing day. Instead of feeling the joy of the summer, they begin to feel an increasing sense od dread - that something dark and terrible is happening to them. Like many popular novels, Burnt Offerings reflects the period in which it was written - the 1970's were a period of widespread urban decay in America. Work was leaving major American cities in the north - Detroit alone lots tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs as its auto industry contracted and struggled to survive - which was followed by all sorts of social problems: quickly growing poverty and unemployment led to a drastic increase in violent crime - overall murder rate rose by over 100%, while robberies rose more than 250%! Big cities in the north were no longer neighborhoods in which people wanted to live, and in which businesses wished to invest; political and economic power begin to shift towards the southern and southwestern states, as jobs, money and people began to move to these warmer regions. As big cities began to be considered dirty and dangerous, Americans fled the blight of the inner city by moving towards the suburbs, attracted by better housing opportunities, friendlier neighborhoods and other factors; even if they still had to work in the city itself, cars were widespread and easily available and made commuting relatively easy. Thriving development of suburbia only added to the trouble of cities, now even more deprived of desperately needed funding and investment. New York City was hit particularly hard in that era: the city struggled with a fiscal crisis for most of the decade, city workers often went on strike to protest the worsening conditions which only added to the miserable climate of the place at the time. As urban housing decayed and new housing was not built, more and more middle-class white Americans left the cities which began to be populated by more and more immigrants and minorities. Of all major cities New York City experienced the largest population loss of a single U.S. city for a 10 year period; from 1970 to 1980 824,000 people left the city towards greener pastures - roughly the population of San Francisco. Although novels should ideally be timeless, urban decline is at the heart of Burnt Offerings; it is not political or social commentary, but it's impossible to not see these things reflected in Marasco's depiction of Queens as loud, dirty, hot and just unbearable. Marian's desire to escape it was shared by most of New Yorkers at the time; she is attracted to a prospect of life in an enormous mansion in beautiful countryside, even if it's reclusive and neglected. Although Marasco doesn't outright explore the theme of class division in his novel, it is not difficult to see it in the story of a financially struggling family from a decaying city turning up to serve the rich, country aristocrats. Marian loves the material aspect of the house, its gold and silvers, spacious rooms and all that they represent. She can polish all of the silvers and dust all of the tables in their house, but it is not hers and it never will be - she can never belong to their world and inhabit it the way they do, and at the end she is there to serve the purpose that they have arranged for her and her family, and not fulfill her own desires and ambitions. By living in the mansion she can pretend to have climbed the social ladder, but in the end it is only an illusion; and one for which she will pay the highest price. She can pretend to own the house, but in the end it is the house that will own her. In an interview Marasco said that he initially wanted his book to be a comedy: "I thought it would be a black comedy", he said, "but it just came out black". This can be most clearly seen in the character of aunt Elizabeth - the bubbly, elderly woman who was probably meant to serve as comedic relief in his initial idea of the book. The end result isn't perfect - his characters are on the thin side when it comes to personality, especially the Rolfe's son, David, who is seemingly unfazed by his parents' descent into madness - but it's definitely not terrible, and not something I regret reading. I see it as an icon of popular culture of its time - something which paved the way for other and better things to come.

  15. 5 out of 5

    (shan) Littlebookcove

    Burnt offerings is a classic of a book from the same guy that wrote about a catholic boys school. This book of his "Burnt Offerings" is spooky haunted house read. The pace is set with a relaxed feel that soon evolves you into a suspenseful feel. Well written and very good char's I was very impressed to begin with. HOWEVER, the ending made me feel blah. I was expecting a better ending with the build up. And was sad when I didn't get it. But I loved how it left me with a Must know feeling at work Burnt offerings is a classic of a book from the same guy that wrote about a catholic boys school. This book of his "Burnt Offerings" is spooky haunted house read. The pace is set with a relaxed feel that soon evolves you into a suspenseful feel. Well written and very good char's I was very impressed to begin with. HOWEVER, the ending made me feel blah. I was expecting a better ending with the build up. And was sad when I didn't get it. But I loved how it left me with a Must know feeling at work I personally love book's like that. Reprinted by Valancourt books, this makes for a good Haunted house read.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Maxine Marsh

    Rounded up from 4.5* So I read this book in one day. I thought I'd read it over the next few days, along with some other reads, but pretty soon I was at 25% and then 50% and then I was huddling under the blanket last night to keep from waking up Mr. Marsh with my Kindle light and couldn't stop reading until it was done. A young family needs a break from the city and gets a great deal on a house in the country. The house is huge but run down, the wife is a little OCD and sees it as the project of h Rounded up from 4.5* So I read this book in one day. I thought I'd read it over the next few days, along with some other reads, but pretty soon I was at 25% and then 50% and then I was huddling under the blanket last night to keep from waking up Mr. Marsh with my Kindle light and couldn't stop reading until it was done. A young family needs a break from the city and gets a great deal on a house in the country. The house is huge but run down, the wife is a little OCD and sees it as the project of her life. THERE'S ONLY ONE CATCH, the brother sister owners tell them: they must feed the old lady living in the West wing 3 times daily, but don't worry, they won't see her, she never leaves her room. That's right! Grandma comes with the house! You can imagine what ensues from there. Great writing, a really interesting dynamic between the family members and a haunted house plot with a slow burn.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Grady Hendrix

    Not as good as you want it to be, but this is the most important haunted house book of the Seventies. Here's why. Not as good as you want it to be, but this is the most important haunted house book of the Seventies. Here's why.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Bandit

    This novel is basically a classic definition of insidious horror. It manages to unsettle, disturb and scare without relying on gore, violence or any other typical horror trappings. It's sort of in a class of its own, the mixture of a haunted house and a possession story that works so well in no small part due to the excellent writing. It's quite remarkably not all that dated (with exception of real estate rentals, of course) for a 40 year old book. Recommended. This novel is basically a classic definition of insidious horror. It manages to unsettle, disturb and scare without relying on gore, violence or any other typical horror trappings. It's sort of in a class of its own, the mixture of a haunted house and a possession story that works so well in no small part due to the excellent writing. It's quite remarkably not all that dated (with exception of real estate rentals, of course) for a 40 year old book. Recommended.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Bea

    Completely unsettling and disturbing! Ben (rather reluctantly), Marian, and their young child David go with Ben's Aunt Elizabeth to an old and sprawling mansion in upstate New York for the summer. The house, which belongs to a pair of adult siblings, The Allardyces, seems too good to be true: For an incredibly low price, the family can stay in the home for the entire summer. There's just one catch: the elderly mother of the Allardyces will remain in the home, although out of sight. Mother is to b Completely unsettling and disturbing! Ben (rather reluctantly), Marian, and their young child David go with Ben's Aunt Elizabeth to an old and sprawling mansion in upstate New York for the summer. The house, which belongs to a pair of adult siblings, The Allardyces, seems too good to be true: For an incredibly low price, the family can stay in the home for the entire summer. There's just one catch: the elderly mother of the Allardyces will remain in the home, although out of sight. Mother is to be fed three times a day by leaving a tray of food outside her bedroom. No one is to see her. At this point, any reasonable person would have said, no way. HARD PASS. But of course, this is a horror novel, and a supernatural horror novel at that - and here we begin to see the influence the house has over its guests. Once settled into the mansion, Marian becomes obsessed with it, and the rest of her family starts to suffer, and transform, under a mysterious malevolence. EDIT: Someone asked me how is the story disturbing and unsettling. I will paste my reply here. I don't think what I wrote spoils the story, so: But basically, with the exception of the child character, the major characters go through a transformation because of the house. The wife, Marian, is the one the house has targeted. She's the one who has to bring Mrs. Allardyce, the mother who stays in her room, the food 3x a day. Marian's obsession with this responsibility and her obsession with fixing up the house causes a rift between her and the rest of the family. Through her actions, the house is becoming "alive', and more powerful. Ben, her husband, is heading towards a mental breakdown. He does something that traumatizes the family and himself, and starts experiencing hallucinations. Aunt Elizabeth, who is 74 years old, begins the book as a lively and sociable woman, but is now deteriorating. Marian has these moments where she knows she should do the rational thing (leave the house with her family), but force of the house is very strong. So it's disturbing to see this family collapse because I felt helpless watching it all unfold. A must read for fans of haunted house stories.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Cody | CodysBookshelf

    What scares me most, as a horror reader, is not gore or on-screen frights; what gets under my skin is the unseen. The imagination is a helluva thing, and mine is good at creating terrors worse than what is usually on the page. Perhaps this is why horror from the 1960s and 1970s is my favorite: it isn’t gratuitous or in your face with blood and screams . . . instead, it relies on the reader using his or her own imagination to fill in the blanks. Burnt Offerings is one such novel. This is quiet ho What scares me most, as a horror reader, is not gore or on-screen frights; what gets under my skin is the unseen. The imagination is a helluva thing, and mine is good at creating terrors worse than what is usually on the page. Perhaps this is why horror from the 1960s and 1970s is my favorite: it isn’t gratuitous or in your face with blood and screams . . . instead, it relies on the reader using his or her own imagination to fill in the blanks. Burnt Offerings is one such novel. This is quiet horror at its finest. The Rolfes — Ben, Marian, and son David, as well as Ben’s aunt Elizabeth — rent a “unique” summer home for two months at a steal. The estate is two hundred acres of water-front property. The mansion has tons of rooms, endless hallways, a pool, the finest furniture and dishes. It is a marvelous place, especially compared to the Rolfes’ cramped Queens apartment. But, of course, some things are too good to be true . . . A rather unrelenting descent into obsession and insanity, this novel is a force to be reckoned with and should get more recognition. It seems to be largely forgotten these days. An obvious inspiration for stories like The Shining, this is an unnerving tale I won’t soon forget. Read for ‘Gothic’ in Halloween Bingo.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    3.5 stars. Solid family-is-haunted-possessed-by-eeeevil-house story, if not a little campy at times, especially with some of the dialogue. Probably could've been novella length instead of a novel, too. That said, solid characterization with some beautifully detailed passages and atmosphere. Glad I read it. Now I need to track down the Karen Black/Oliver Reed film. ASIDE: I bought a used copy and while I was reading a little note fell out of the book. Written in pen, quite old. At the top is a qui 3.5 stars. Solid family-is-haunted-possessed-by-eeeevil-house story, if not a little campy at times, especially with some of the dialogue. Probably could've been novella length instead of a novel, too. That said, solid characterization with some beautifully detailed passages and atmosphere. Glad I read it. Now I need to track down the Karen Black/Oliver Reed film. ASIDE: I bought a used copy and while I was reading a little note fell out of the book. Written in pen, quite old. At the top is a quick sketch of a jackolantern. The note: "Happy Halloween! This book is just right for the special day! I don't know if it's good for you to read a horror-type novel now. What do you think? Maybe your Dad can stop in at the library on your way home from the hairdresser's + get some light, "doctor"/"nurse" books! Have a nice day! I hope the weather turns brighter + warmer for you. Bon dejeuner! Love + kisses, Pat" I give the note 3.5 stars as well and it's pretty darn creepy too.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Marie

    Page turning suspense! I was expecting more then I received from this book as all the reviews I read before getting into it seemed to light up the "scare" tactic, but I wasn't scared at all. I guess it takes quite a bit to scare me, but it was still a good book as it had a lot of suspense, mystery, and there were some spooky moments, but not the "leave the light on" spooky. Ben and Marian Rolfe want to get out of their apartment and go somewhere far away for the Summer months. Marian sees an ad t Page turning suspense! I was expecting more then I received from this book as all the reviews I read before getting into it seemed to light up the "scare" tactic, but I wasn't scared at all. I guess it takes quite a bit to scare me, but it was still a good book as it had a lot of suspense, mystery, and there were some spooky moments, but not the "leave the light on" spooky. Ben and Marian Rolfe want to get out of their apartment and go somewhere far away for the Summer months. Marian sees an ad to rent a mansion for a price they can not believe. When Ben and Marian go to check out the mansion, they meet the owners who seem way beyond eccentric and they seem to really want the Rolfes to stay there. There is only one exception: the Rolfes will need to take care of their mother who lives in the house. Ben and Marion along with their son and Ben's Aunt decide to pay the price and stay there for the Summer. The owners in the meantime let it be known that they will be going away themselves and the Rolfes will have access to everything in the house plus all the buildings on the property. This is where that saying comes into play "if it sounds to good to be true, then it probably is" should have weighed down upon the Rolfes, but they ignored any kind of bad feelings about the place. Marian was all for staying there, but Ben had very mixed feelings and really didn't want to stay in the mansion. At that point on from when the owners left to the Rolfes exploring their newly acquired domain, little things start happening in the house. Marian takes it upon herself to see to the "mother", but the "mother" never makes an appearance as she stays behind a locked door and Marian has to leave food trays for the woman. The book starts off kind of slow as the author builds the storyline and nothing really gets going strong till about midway through the book. The book picks up more of a quickened pace as more things start happening in the book, but like I said before, I never really felt scared reading it. I wasn't really happy with the ending as there was an unexpected turn of events near the end of the book, but it doesn't deter me from giving it anything less than four stars.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Cathie

    One of THE best haunted house stories ever written! Burnt Offerings is a dated yet classic take on a haunted house, a hungry house. (Great Introduction by Stephen Jones.) Written in 1973, his novel was not widely known. The film adaptation however, established its cult following. And those who have a copy in their possession can attest its awesomeness! If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. We all want to get away, more so when summer approaches! Marian Rolfe can’t take it anymore One of THE best haunted house stories ever written! Burnt Offerings is a dated yet classic take on a haunted house, a hungry house. (Great Introduction by Stephen Jones.) Written in 1973, his novel was not widely known. The film adaptation however, established its cult following. And those who have a copy in their possession can attest its awesomeness! If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. We all want to get away, more so when summer approaches! Marian Rolfe can’t take it anymore in their Brooklyn apartment – the noise, the heat, everything!! As she peruses through the classified ads (back in the day, pre-Craigslist) to circle what interests her for a call and an appointment – there IT is! “Unique summer home. Restful, secluded. Perfect for large family. Pool, private deck, dock — “ [You know where this is heading…] So Ben (reluctantly) and Marian (excitedly) Rolfe finally decide this is the time. Along with their son David and Aunt Elizabeth, they spend a Saturday driving through upstate New York to check out this “unique summer home”. While at first they believe it is the dilapidated cottage off of the vast and overgrown estate, it is actually the house (or rather, mansion). There they are met by owners Roz and Brother (or Arnold) Allardyce. An eccentric pair, they quibble amongst themselves on the price and what they consider “unique”, and “perfect for a large family”. “Unique summer home. Restful, secluded. Perfect for large family. Pool, private deck, dock — “ at $900 for the entire summer! They begin to convince them – and are convinced – this is the perfect home for Marian, for them all, while sharing thoughts of nostalgia the grand mansion has been a part of throughout its years. And of course there’s a catch. And it is to leave their ninety-five year old “mother” Mrs. Allardyce in their care. Happy wife, happy life. Despite everything – and Marian’s wonton need for this – they move in July 1st. In the next three weeks, well….you’ll just have to order a copy and find out what happens. Its paranormal tension and lingering sense of danger abounds throughout. For what one may consider a simple haunted story, its atmospheric and insidious – that’s what makes this story so great!! Thank you Valancourt Books for returning this classic to print! This has been on my to-own booklist once I found out the movie was based on a novel.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Cindy Newton

    I listened to this on audio, and I thought the narrator really added a lot to the story. It's a slow burner, without any big bangs, but the suspense steadily builds. There are plenty of horrifying moments, and some heartbreaking ones, as well. I sympathize with Ben, the husband and dad. He's indulgent of his wife's fancies, but the seeds of her dissatisfaction with her own place in the economic food chain are sown at the beginning of the book. Their New York apartment, so despised by Marian as ho I listened to this on audio, and I thought the narrator really added a lot to the story. It's a slow burner, without any big bangs, but the suspense steadily builds. There are plenty of horrifying moments, and some heartbreaking ones, as well. I sympathize with Ben, the husband and dad. He's indulgent of his wife's fancies, but the seeds of her dissatisfaction with her own place in the economic food chain are sown at the beginning of the book. Their New York apartment, so despised by Marian as hot, smelly, and noisy, had been acquired to house Marian's growing collection of objets d'art. Reference is made to the costs of these items. Ben is a teacher--not the highest paying job in the world (as I well know)! Even Marian's desire for a country home to retire to for the summer is out of line for a family living on a teacher's salary. Ben, aware of their budget and skeptical, indulges her by going to look at some prospects. His skepticism only increases when her first choice is a literal mansion filled with costly antiques. Ben knows that if something looks too good to be true, it probably is, and someone renting a mansion like this for a pittance is just too good to be true. Marian, though, is dazzled by the house and its contents and ready to do ANYTHING to get her hands on it. Ben reluctantly gives way, and their fate is sealed. Each member of the family experiences the diabolical effects of the house, experiences the loss of the person they were when they left the city, but none so much as Marian. One of the most chilling aspects of the story is the slow but steady growth of her understanding of what the house is and what it wants from her, and even worse, her acceptance and embrace of it. Because in the end, she does accept and, finally, embrace it, even though she fights it at the moment it is happening. Her greed and ambition, such tiny seeds at the beginning of the story, grow inexorably in the nurturing environment of the house until they finally eclipse everything else in her life that matters. It is made clear, though, that the choice is hers. She has opportunities to turn her back on it, to walk away, but she cannot bring herself to turn her back on the luxury she has always dreamed of. A truly terrifying story on several levels--highly recommended!!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Andi Rawson

    Review of Burnt Offerings by Robert Marasco Burnt Offerings, by Robert Marasco, is far from your typical haunted house story. Ben and Marian Rolfe decide to get away from the city for the summer with their son David and aunt Elizabeth. When Marian finds an ad to rent a mansion in the country for the summer at a reasonable price, it seems too good to be true. Ben is suspicious but Marian, always the optimist, believes that the house is fate—that they are meant to have it, and Marian is unusually Review of Burnt Offerings by Robert Marasco Burnt Offerings, by Robert Marasco, is far from your typical haunted house story. Ben and Marian Rolfe decide to get away from the city for the summer with their son David and aunt Elizabeth. When Marian finds an ad to rent a mansion in the country for the summer at a reasonable price, it seems too good to be true. Ben is suspicious but Marian, always the optimist, believes that the house is fate—that they are meant to have it, and Marian is unusually insistent upon this. Ben reluctantly agrees to go look at this house they cannot possibly afford, if only to prove his point.   The house is everything Marian imagined and more. The Allardyces’, Roz and Brother, however, are beyond strange. And there’s a catch… The house is indeed reasonably priced but comes with the Allardyces’ elderly mother. Their mother who is said to never leave her room and who only needs three meals a day. It’s an odd request but one that Marian doesn’t think unreasonable for the use of such a lavish house to live in for the summer. For the use of a house that is everything she has ever wanted.   A classic, slow burning tale of the things that consume us and the things we are willing to sacrifice to have it all. Robert Marasco is a man who knew obsession. He is a man who understood a level of insanity that I sincerely hope never to attain. A well written story with an ending that won’t disappoint, I highly recommend this one.   I received this e-book from Valancourt Books in exchange for an honest review.   © 2015 by Andi Rawson of Andreya's Asylum

  26. 4 out of 5

    Bill

    There’s nothing more. Nothing. It’s all in order now. All the way it should be. And there’s nothing, nothing at all left. What an amazing deal on a great summer mansion. Can’t pass that up. One catch – need to feed the old lady behind the crazy carved doors three times a day. Not a problem. Until it becomes one. A little slow going at times, but genuinely creepy and unsettling throughout. Reads like it was written in the 70’s. Because it was. Duh. I don’t recall ever seeing the movie. Hmm. M There’s nothing more. Nothing. It’s all in order now. All the way it should be. And there’s nothing, nothing at all left. What an amazing deal on a great summer mansion. Can’t pass that up. One catch – need to feed the old lady behind the crazy carved doors three times a day. Not a problem. Until it becomes one. A little slow going at times, but genuinely creepy and unsettling throughout. Reads like it was written in the 70’s. Because it was. Duh. I don’t recall ever seeing the movie. Hmm. Maybe I’ll have to check it out.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tammy Walton Grant

    So here's another memory from childhood: my mom's friend Lorraine is over for coffee. I'm about 11 or 12yrs old, and pretending to be busy making a snack so I can eavesdrop on the adults' conversation. Lorraine is telling my mom about a movie she had seen the night before, and I caught lurid snatches of the tale she was spinning: "...and they were renting this creepy old mansion for the summer...and there was a lady in the attic that no one ever saw...and Bette Davis was in this one...and the fat So here's another memory from childhood: my mom's friend Lorraine is over for coffee. I'm about 11 or 12yrs old, and pretending to be busy making a snack so I can eavesdrop on the adults' conversation. Lorraine is telling my mom about a movie she had seen the night before, and I caught lurid snatches of the tale she was spinning: "...and they were renting this creepy old mansion for the summer...and there was a lady in the attic that no one ever saw...and Bette Davis was in this one...and the father tried to drown his kid in the pool...and it just gets creepier and creepier...and the house starts becoming brand new again...and then the kid is screaming and he's all covered with blood and then all of a sudden the chimney falls on him..." I was enthralled. Lorraine's recap ended with the comment that it had scared the "living shit" out of her. The movie, of course, was "Burnt Offerings". I'm not sure if mom ever saw the movie - it wasn't long afterward that "When a Stranger Calls" came out, and after she saw it (with said friend Lorraine, I might add) she was literally paralyzed with fear for most of the night, unable to tear her eyes from the closet door in her room - but a few years later I managed to catch Burnt Offerings on tv. Lorraine's synopsis was pretty accurate, right down to her review. It scared the living shit out of me too, and there are some scenes that are still as vivid in my mind as when I first saw the film. I didn't know it was based on a novel until Stephen King mentioned it in his book Danse Macabre, and I've been looking for it ever since. Fast forward 33 years or so, and I'm killing time at an SPCA used book sale while at my son's basketball tournament and VOILA! There it is, tucked away in the last row of a table of paperbacks. It was missing the dust cover and in fact, my head-bent-sideways scan of book titles almost didn't catch it; it was a quick thought, "wouldn't it be funny if I finally found Burnt Offerings" and right on the heels of that, there it was. I could barely wait to get home and read it. And after having done so? Here are some thoughts: 1. The book was virtually identical to my memory of the movie, with the exception of the ending. Although the shocking, gory ending of the film is what I remember most about it, the ending of the book is actually more frightening. I wasn't actually sure after reading it (view spoiler)[if Marian herself had killed Ben and David or not. (hide spoiler)] Incidentally, Oliver Reed, Karen Black, Bette Davis and Burgess Meredith were all almost perfectly cast. 2. The book was very subtle, with the reader being left to connect the dots themselves and draw their own conclusions about the house, the Allardyce family and what the fuck exactly is going on up in that room. This is not a book for a skimmer - and I am one of the worst examples of this you'll ever meet . To do that is to miss the nuance and allusions that are a key feature of Marasco's writing. I am ever looking around for the spoon the writer intends to feed me with, and there sure wasn't one with this book. 3. I've read reviews comparing Burnt Offerings to The Shining, but honestly, I don't really see it. Comparisons to Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House, Matheson's Hell House, Siddons The House Next Door or even Susie Moloney's The Dwelling? Those are all much more evident. Although the Overlook is a frigging scary place to be, The Shining was more overt horror than any of the others. Veni, vidi, vici, and I'm crossing it off the bucket list. 3 stars, but mostly because I'd already seen the movie. :) **Saw the movie when I was a kid and it scared the ever-lovin' CRAP out of me. Have always wanted to read the book.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Addy

    Wow. This book was pretty great. Its about a house, but its haunted in an unusual way. The beginning and end were very mysterious, but towards the end, it got a little slow and muddled. The end was quite abrupt. However, the ending was good and surprising. If there was a little more explanation about the house and the owners, it would have been a 5.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    I know the 1976 movie with Oliver Reed. What a scary read! You really get so absorbed by this book that you can't stop reading. Only thing is that many questions aren't solved in the novel. The old Lady and the horror in this house remain a mystery. Great novel and a great movie! I know the 1976 movie with Oliver Reed. What a scary read! You really get so absorbed by this book that you can't stop reading. Only thing is that many questions aren't solved in the novel. The old Lady and the horror in this house remain a mystery. Great novel and a great movie!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Bill

    Any time this movie comes up in conversation, online or otherwise, I can never resist comment on it. So here it is again: When I was 14 years old, my cousin and I went to see Burnt Offerings in the theater. It still stands and the most terrifying cinematic experience of my life. This was also the only movie to give me a bonefide nightmare: I was running along a field and tripped. When I looked up, there was a hearse and directly above me was the chauffeur with his sinister grin. When I woke, my h Any time this movie comes up in conversation, online or otherwise, I can never resist comment on it. So here it is again: When I was 14 years old, my cousin and I went to see Burnt Offerings in the theater. It still stands and the most terrifying cinematic experience of my life. This was also the only movie to give me a bonefide nightmare: I was running along a field and tripped. When I looked up, there was a hearse and directly above me was the chauffeur with his sinister grin. When I woke, my heart was about to burst through my chest. Almost 40 years have gone by and I still refuse to watch this movie alone. But, my fascination with the movie has stuck with me all this time. For something to have had such a profound effect on me that has lasted all but 14 years of my life is either a testament to its brilliance or my poor fragile mind. Whatever the reason, I've been obsessed with it and the novel has of course been on my to-read list ever since. For a couple of decades, I had searched for it in used bookstores as it had been out of print. No luck. Then, last month, I stumbled on the fact that it had been republished and was now available on Kindle. I downloaded it immediately and tried to rush through the book I was halfway through. Well, all that time of building anticipation did not lead to any sort of letdown. Turns out the movie was very much faithful to the book. In fact, I was pleasantly amazed that a lot of the dialogue in the novel made it verbatim to the screen ("Life sure as hell goes on, doesn't it Marion?")! There were also a few unexpected differences, one in particular was particularly awesome: (view spoiler)[ Marion seeing Aunt Elizabeth's photo in the sitting room (hide spoiler)] and (view spoiler)[ Marion, despite the hold the house had on her, still fought with the presence of mind that this was wrong, wasn't it? and the last vestiges of her mind were trying to maintain a hold on her family. (hide spoiler)] One thing I will never know is what sort of impact this novel would have had had I not seen the movie. Oh well, not a big deal. What's great is that my movie experience has now been fully fleshed out by the novel, and most particularly (view spoiler)[my understanding of Marion. (hide spoiler)] I now have closure and can happily move on.

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