Welcome to the very first discussion post for The You’ll Read Too Bookclub! In October, we read The Carrow Haunt by Darcy Coates. The very first Live show on Instagram was so much fun. Thank you to everybody that joined and shared their thoughts. If you wish to participate in future Live shows or even co-host, please follow the official page here for all of the latest updates/information. Spoilers ahead!
Quick Reminder: This month we are reading Harrow Lake by Kat Ellis.
Today I’m going to discuss the book in the same way I did the Live show. I’ll give a quick plot summary plus my overall star/scare-factor ratings. Then I will share the discussion topics and trivia questions. Please, please share all of your answers and opinions down below. I want to know exactly what you thought. I’ll also leave the answers to the trivia questions at the very bottom of the post so if you want to guess without being spoiled, don’t scroll to the end until you’re ready. Without further ado, let’s get into it!
THE CARROW HAUNT by DARCY COATES – OCTOBER 2020
This story follows Remy, a tour-guide for the notoriously haunted Carrow House. When she’s asked to host seven guests for a week-long stay to research the supposed phenomena within, Remy hopes to finally witness something spooky. Pretty soon, things start to go horribly wrong. A guest winds up dead, doors open on their own, red liquid seeps behind the wallpaper and a spirit medium wanders the halls at night in a trance. These mysterious circumstances force Remy to consider the possibility that the ghost of the house’s original owner (a twisted serial killer) is behind it all…
OVERALL STAR RATING
I gave this book a 5/5 stars. It was everything I wanted in a haunted house story. Spooky, fast-paced, well-developed and extremely interesting. The protagonist, Remy, was a stand-out for me. She was reliable, knowledgeable and multi-faceted. The rest of the characters balanced one another out; diverse enough to create some controversy within Carrow. I was most impressed with the setting. At the very beginning – when Remy takes the tour – I felt like the house was a real place. I could picture all of the rooms and grounds. Darcy is so talented at world-building and creating a creepy atmosphere with simple descriptions. The twist ending -with Edgar being behind all of the demonic activity under the possession of Marjorie – was very satisfying. I was hoping that he was the culprit. Overall, everything wrapped up perfectly. It definitely put Darcy Coates on my radar as a stand-out female horror writer.
OVERALL SCARE-FACTOR RATING
I found this book to have a scare-factor of 4/5. It genuinely terrified me in certain parts. One bookclub member told me she had difficulty sleeping after being tuned in to all the creaks and groans in her own home. I could relate!
1.) Forget about Carrow House for a moment. You’ve been invited to stay in a random haunted house for two weeks. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and like Remy, you’re allowed to bring whomever you wish. However, your safety will not be guaranteed – mentally or physically. Do you do it? Why, why not?
I wouldn’t because with my senses on overdrive, I literally wouldn’t be able to sleep. I’d be on such high-alert, nothing about the experience would be enjoyable for me. I scare way too easily.
2.) Which part of the novel creeped you out the most? Why?
The third seance where Edgar starts violently attacking the guests and manipulating objects/lights in the house. I could just picture it all so vividly and it freaked me out. It was a sign that his powers were growing stronger and the characters were less safe. If I had been there, I would’ve been weeping in terror!
3.) Before Edgar was revealed to be behind everything (under the possession of Marjorie) what theories did you have to explain the ‘deaths’ and paranormal activity?
My biggest theory was that April’s parents were behind everything – with the help of Lucille – to scare her into selling Carrow House. I thought they were trying to move her away from her ghost obsession. However, when Lucille showed up dead, I ditched that idea pretty quickly.
4.) What did you think of the role of Bernard? Besides helping Marjorie and preparing the food, what purpose do you think he served among the other distinct characters? Did he serve a purpose at all?
I have to admit I struggled to understand what purpose Bernard served, aside from the points mentioned above. However, at the end when Mark is incapacitated and Remy is about to be marked by Edgar, Bernard shows up just in time to save her. He’s not overly likable and barely present but when he does make an appearance, it counts for something.
5.) Throughout the novel, there is a debate between Marjorie and Taj about the best way to communicate with spirits. Marjorie follows a more empathic/sensory path whereas Taj believes in using modern technology to record paranormal activity. Who do you agree with more? Why?
I feel that both are useful if done respectfully. Marjorie and Taj serve a significant purpose during their time at Carrow Haunt. By the end of the book, we see them come together as a team; understanding that their methods are equally valuable. If I had to pick however, I would adopt more of a Marjorie approach as we are dealing with former human beings.
EASY – What is the first name and surname of Carrow House’s serial killer?
MEDIUM – What number room does Remy stay in?
HARD – What is the name of the guest that disappeared with her maid in the room with the cracked mirror?
I hope you enjoyed the very first book club discussion on this blog. Honestly, this has been such a huge dream come true for me. I am absolutely loving this and I cannot believe how many online friends I’ve made just by starting this endeavor. I love each and every one of you. As mentioned above, share all of your thoughts in the comments below! If you have any feedback/suggestions to improve the bookclub, please let me know. I look forward to talking to you all next month! Thanks for reading!
Peace & Love xoxo
TRIVIA ANSWERS: Easy: Edgar Porter. Medium: Room 7. Hard: Louise Small