The Residence by Andrew Pyper
Do you enjoy atmospheric ghost stories with a literary bent to them? Then you will not want to miss The Residence by Andrew Pyper’s. Many of the reviews have said this is up to par for the author by this is my first read by him. I am thankful to NetGalley that this book was put on my raider. I have been doing readathons to try and get my self out of my reading slump and finished this at 1am. Even though my review is delayed with the publication I loved the spooky factor. I felt like this could be part of an episode of Supernatural and considering it is one of my favorites shows I am here for it for sure. The Residence is historical fiction, a fact I did not realize when I picked it up, and I thought the setting gave it a wonderful, Gothic sensibility. I requested this book on an impulse because I loved the concept and the cover. But this story is not only creepy and terrifying in places, but it is also quite sad. I loved this combination of terror and emotion when you add the lyrical writing style it is magical.
The story takes place in 1853 and follows the 14th President of the United States, Franklin Pierce and his wife Jane, and their terrifying experiences in the residence of the White House. The story opens with a personal tragedy. Right before the inauguration, Franklin, Jane, and their eleven-year-old son Bennie are traveling by train when the train goes off the rails and Bennie is instantly killed. Jane is destroyed, having already lost two other sons to disease and complications with childbirth, and she refuses to participate in her duties as First Lady. Instead of doing her duties she urges Franklin to get someone to fill in for her at the important events. Instead of trying to function and try to get better Jane spends her time in a room across the hall that was suppose to be Bennies room where she spends her time writing letters to her dead son.
She is so at a loss that she invites the Fox sisters to do a séance in order to communicate with Bennie. She gets so much more then she bargained for when the séance brings forth a demon who has been attached to her since childhood and is hell bent on bringing destruction to everyone it comes across. This was so creepy that it had me jumping at my own shadow. It has elements of the obvious ghosts as in Bennie, but it also has moving dolls that gave me Chuckie vibes. Both Franklin and Jane see ghosts of their dads and that adds to the sadness because Jane feels responsible for her father’s death because of the close relationship with the demon she calls Sir.
The creepy atmosphere the sad circumstances that led to everything taking place makes this one of those reads that can really scare you. This is a very short book that packs a very big punch. I know I mentioned that this is a historical fiction and out side of a few mentions of Franklins leadership skills and democratic choices this is more of a spooky story meant to chill you to the bone. Not only do I recommend this to everyone who loves a good scare I recommend going back and reading more books by this author like I plan to. 4.5 stars a solid spooky read.
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