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Sunday, 27 October 2019

#StarveAcre #AndrewMichaelHurley @JohnMurray

About Starve Acre

The worst thing possible has happened. Richard and Juliette Willoughby's son, Ewan, has died suddenly at the age of five. Starve Acre, their house by the moors, was to be full of life, but is now a haunted place.

Juliette, convinced Ewan still lives there in some form, seeks the help of the Beacons, a seemingly benevolent group of occultists. Richard, to try and keep the boy out of his mind, has turned his attention to the field opposite the house, where he patiently digs the barren dirt in search of a legendary oak tree.

Starve Acre is a devastating new novel by the author of the prize-winning bestseller The Loney. It is a novel about the way in which grief splits the world in two and how, in searching for hope, we can so easily unearth horror.

My review of Starve Acre

I'll just start by highlighting the stunning artwork of this hardback copy. The image of an old tree that has a rope tied into a loose noose hanging from one of its branches sets the tone even before you read the first sentence. This is a story about grief, about a family ripped apart, of words unsaid , all of which are played out upon the bleak backdrop of Starve Acre. It's a haunting, beautiful and deeply disturbing read. It's a story that I won't forget any time soon, as it seeped into my bones. 

Starve Acre is an unsettling, honest and haunting read about how a couple deal with the death of a child. I could feel their grief, even taste it. 

Richard and Juliette moved to Starve Acre, the home where Richard's mother and father had lived, from their home in inner city Leeds to build a new life for themselves, a safe haven in the countryside to raise a family. When they have Ewan,  they allow him to play in the field of Starve Acre. He enjoys being outdoors, in the soil, with nature, but as we read about past events, as we make our way through the movel, strange things happen, and not everything is as it seems.

Starve Acre is a story about how a married couple struggle to come to terms with the death of their son. Richard divided his time between focusing on his research, hiding away in the study, and digging in the field of Starve Acre. Unearthing soil in his quest to find evidence of the old oak tree. We then have Juliette, who believes that swan is in the house, that he talks to her. We watch a young woman unravelling, and it's both uncomfortable and heartbreaking.

We read a story rooted in reality that then slowly reveals itself to be something totally unexpected. It's eerie, it's haunting and shocking. It's a compulsive read that draws you in with characters that are believable and who you begin to care about deeply. And I know that I will never forget that final page. 

With thanks to the publisher and Readers First for the advanced hardback copy. 

Starve Acre is published on 31st October by John Murray.

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