And No Birds Shall Sing by E.A.Clark #BookReview #BlogTour

Not all spirits rest in peace… 
Following a personal tragedy, a recovering Grace Clements relocates with her husband and daughter to an old cottage in idyllic rural Oxfordshire. As the family integrate into the seemingly benign local community, they learn unsettling facts about the cottage’s dark past. Grace quickly becomes uncomfortably aware of a menacing presence within their new home.
Stumbling upon a neglected cemetery, Grace and her daughter discover the graves of the house’s previous inhabitants, including those of nine babies. Dismayed to find herself pregnant, Grace suspects she has awoken something truly evil in her new residence. She develops a creeping sense of unease as she unravels the disturbing truth about the history of the cottage and the fate of its occupants.
Who is the sinister boy watching Grace and her family? Are there malevolent forces at work? Or is the mentally fragile Grace heading for another breakdown?
A spellbinding paranormal thriller from the best-selling author of Lay Me To Rest. You may want to keep the lights on…

I'm so thrilled to be hosting the blog tour for And No Birds Shall Sing by E.A. Clark today. Many thanks to the author, Crooked Cat Books and Rachel Gilbey  from Rachel's Random Resources for inviting and for my digital copy of the novel.

I thoroughly enjoyed E.A. Clark's previous book, Lay Me To Rest and with Halloween drawing near, I was really looking forward to her new novel which is again concerned with the paranormal. And No Birds Shall Sing is mostly set in the present day but readers are first taken back to two separate events in rural Oxfordshire. The prologue opens in 1715 as a new mother sits in the parlour of her cottage with her newborn son. Harriet Partlowe has endured one devastating tragedy after another but hopes the birth of baby Emmett will herald the start of a bright future, not just for her and her son but also for her husband, Jacob and her teenage stepdaughter, Martha. In 1953, a young man, Tommy is hoping to spend some time alone with a girl. He takes her to a cottage in the woods but far from the romantic hideaway she envisaged, the building is abandoned and derelict. Tommy tries to convince her that a fire will banish the chills she is feeling but soon she has far more to fear than insects and mildew...
In the present day, Grace Clements, her husband, Sam and their daughter, Cassie desperately need a fresh start. Just like Harriet, Grace has experienced terrible losses but hopes their move to the cottage Sam has been renovating will help heal the family's wounds as they look to their future. It doesn't take a genius to work out that this is the same cottage where Harriet nursed Emmett and where Tommy attempted to court Joan. It's also not surprising that the Clements' new abode isn't going to be the home sweet home they dreamed of but knowing that the family are headed into unseen dangers is perfect for a spine-tingling ghost story where the reader knows to expect trouble before the protagonists realise it.
The Clements are a likeable family and despite the unexplained occurrences, they mostly receive a warm welcome in the village although they can't help suspecting the residents are holding something back. However, they are interested in the history of the area, particularly their new house, so try to involve themselves in the community. Grace wants to discover the truth about their home's past but becomes increasingly paranoid by events as the book progresses. Her fragility means the more pragmatic Sam tries to find rational explanations for the things she believes she encounters which is understandable but definitely increases the fear factor as the reader just knows that things can't be explained as simply as he thinks. Unlike Grace who is shocked by the cottage's past, Cassie is fascinated and is enthusiastic to learn more. Her parents want to encourage her love of history but can't help becoming concerned by some of the things she tells them especially as she is registered blind and has a guide dog, Jet so experiences some things a little differently than they do. I thought this element of the story was handled really well; Cassie's disability is an integral part of who she is and how she is affected by the supernatural forces at play in the story but it doesn't define her.  She is a bright and confident girl thanks to her (and her parents') determination that her blindness should never be allowed to hold her back.
The pacing of the book is excellent as the tension is allowed to build steadily, with the sense of unease gradually increasing with each disturbing scene. E.A. Clark knows exactly how to tap into people's fears with sinister warnings, malevolent faces and creepy music all contributing to the ominous feeling that something is very wrong with the cottage. The tragic events of the past and their neighbours' reticence to fully express their fears strongly suggests that the family are in terrible danger. Turning the pages, waiting for the worst to occur really set my pulse racing and raised the hairs on my arms and there were parts of this spooky and unsettling book I almost had to read from behind my fingers. It all leads to a terrifying finale which wasn't what I expected but I loved it. And No Birds Shall Sing is actually rather a poignant tale but it does make for a terrifically absorbing read. This chilling ghost story is perfect for Halloween. I highly recommend it.

And No Birds Shall Sing is published by Crooked Cat Books and can be purchased from Amazon UKAmazon US and Crooked Cat Books.

Don't forget to follow the rest of the blog tour, details are below.

About the Author
Elizabeth Clark was born and raised in the Midlands, where she continues to live with her husband and son, plus an assortment of pets. Much of her formative existence was spent with her head in a book, and from an early age, she grew to relish the sheer escapism afforded by both reading and writing fiction. Putting things on hold for a time to raise her three children, she has resumed her fervent scribbling.
She has a love of antiquity and a penchant for visiting old graveyards, often speculating on the demise of those entombed beneath. Whilst she has written short stories and poetry for many years, a lifelong fascination with all things paranormal culminated in her first novel for adults, ‘Lay Me to Rest’, published in September 2017 by HQ Digital.
‘And No Birds Shall Sing’, to be published by Crooked Cat in October 2018, is her second foray into the realms of the supernatural.
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