By Cynthia Ayala
Haunted by visions and trapped by her need to be at her lighthouse, Hope struggles to find normalcy in her life, but when she meets Clooney and the visions continue to grow, Hope and Clooney embark on a mission to solve the visions and discover whatever happened at the lighthouse and to Adelia.
What an unprecedented delight. The House that Adelia Built it not only a fast-paced read, it’s also an eerie one, one that is simply delightful and creepy. Part of what makes this novel so good is the atmosphere it holds is so eerie. Taking place in a lighthouse above the bluffs creates an isolated atmosphere that is reminiscent of Stephen King. It has this tone that makes it eerie without adding much to it. O’Malley lets the story speak for itself, she lets the description build upon itself and create the mystique that lures the reader into the mystery of it all It’s captivating how the story functions in that way, to focus on the use of language to captivate the reader. O’Malley knows how to show and not tell, and she does it so well.
On top of that, there is the 200-year gap that goes into the storytelling. The story shifts from the 1800s to 2017 to focus on two separate women in who both live in the lighthouse. Hope from the year 2017 is having visions of something terrible happening at the lighthouse, except she’s having trouble with it, reconciling these visions with her life. Hope has never tried to make sense of her visions or the pull the lighthouse has on her, but once she meets Clooney, everything becomes stronger for her, making it harder for her to live day by day. It’s interesting how the story goes, how it creates Hope and makes her persona and narrative so different from Adelia. These are two very distinct voices that drive the story, and what’s more, the flashbacks, the way they build the history also serve to build the mystery.
The novel goes back and forth effortlessly between the two narratives, keeping the reader from losing interest and losing their place. The story is clearly written and uses misdirection so well. It’s unpredictable how these two characters relate to one another, leading to a mind-blowing resolution. That’s what makes it so good. Yes, the narratives maintain their own tone and distinctions, but the fact that the tension and pace enthralled the reader, keeping the reader on their toes it what makes the piece as a whole so accomplished. As a ghost story, a paranormal story, it keeps the reader at the edge, it maintains the mystique. That’s what’s so powerful about this novel and why it’s so good.
The story flows, it has an enthralling setting and captivating characters and this air about it that makes the reader just want to curl up and read. The pace keeps it moving, keeps the edge on the tension so that builds just so perfectly. Honestly a great read. (★★★★☆ | B+)