Book Jacket

 

rank  Editors Pick
word count 117643
date submitted 18.04.2011
date updated 17.04.2014
genres: Fiction, Literary Fiction
classification: adult
incomplete

Where She Lies

Nick Goulding

Dark secrets haunt the old novelist as she strives to complete her final work before it is too late. Can she really re-write childhood?

 

She turned her body into stone. Stone cannot feel. Stone cannot bleed.

As Emma lies dying, she has one urgent request. Words must be spoken if she is to finally let go.

In Edwardian Dorset, four children running carefree through Heaventree Wood become entangled in threads of good and evil that have rippled and weaved since time beyond memory. Enmeshed, their lives will never be free. Three men plot to take over the wood, but what is their real motive? Who is the girl in white flitting between the trees, and why is she so afraid? Drawn by an ancient mystery, the children place their trust in Tewt, the enigmatic man of the woods, and face betrayal.

Were they really days of innocence and imagination? An old lady, haunted and tortured by the past, prays she has enough time to finish her last work. The wood had always healed itself and hidden its secrets. But some things refuse to lie quietly. In the dark, evil does not always recognize itself.

A surreal novel within a novel, a tale of hidden things, 'Where She Lies' is a journey through time that questions reality and the nature of guilt and responsibility.

 
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abuse, coming of age, crime, dark, deceit, dorset, historical, life, magic, murder, mystery, philosophy, psychological, secrets, sex, spiritelli, stea...

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HarperCollins Wrote

‘Where She Lies’ is a literary mystery set in Edwardian Dorset. The story follows Emma, a young girl who begins to witness seemingly supernatural events. At the heart of these mysterious happenings is Heaventree Wood – a source of tension in the local community. As the story unfolds, Emma and her friends are dragged deeper and deeper into the woods in search of the secrets it holds.

The opening scene is both powerful and disturbing, you make good use of all the senses, here and throughout, to create atmosphere. For the most part your descriptions are very effective and paint the scene for the reader, there are just a few areas where description seems to take over – these areas need to be tightened up.

I found the flash-forward segments at the beginning of the book too short and therefore quite confusing. They don’t give much away about Emma or the link between the two stories. This split narrative is an effective method of story-telling, particularly in this genre, and has the potential to work well. You need to think about the amount of time you give to each story, especially at the beginning when you want to hook the readers equally in to both narratives. Also, having read the first few chapters, we still have no sense of the ‘novel within a novel’ to which you allude in your pitch.

Quite a few supernatural events happen in quick succession at the beginning. This feels like you are giving away too much too soon and means there isn’t the build up that is so essential in this genre. I’d also like to see more development of the different characters in the family before the paranormal aspects of the story come through, so we have a real sense of them and their place in the community. You have a talent for creating tense and frightening scenes, but the tension dissipates quite quickly as everything returns to “Normality” and “as it should be”. The reader begins to believe something paranormal is going on, as does Emma, but the feeling goes away as quickly as it came, and Emma is quick to dismiss the events. While they occupy her dreams, it doesn’t really feel like the events are affecting her psychologically or physically, at least not for very long. It would be understandable that she would be hesitant to tell anyone about the things she’s seen, but the man who she sees several times appears to be an actual human being – I would be very surprised if a young girl didn’t tell her parents about him.

The Edwardian setting gives the novel a nice hook, but watch out for anachronisms, which create holes in the believability. In particular, pay close attention to the characters’ actions and speech, which doesn’t always feel of the time. For example, Ivy saying “This is all too much for my tiny brain” feels too modern for the setting. The father, Tom, also seems quite modern in his interaction with his family, at a time when men and women lead quite separate lives. Emma and Ivy also come across as older than 11: Emma says “Oh, can we talk about something else, I need to take my mind off it all” – which is, I think, too mature for an 11-year-old, particularly at this time. I also struggled with the grandmother character, who at the age of 70 at a time when the life expectancy was below 50, seems to be extremely fit and healthy. Details like this can really jar with readers who need to be fully immersed in the time period in which you are writing.

You have created an interesting, complex and quite frightening tale here which I think has potential; you have a talent for creating mystery, suspense and fear. However, there is quite a lot of work to be done on the plot and characterisation to meet the high standards of readers of this genre.

Stellajr wrote 334 days ago

This is beautifully written. I felt powerfully drawn into the story from the first page. Several threads are interwoven, creating an atmosphere of mystery and suspense. The supernatural elements, such as the hollow tree, green orb, and gift shop, felt plausible and real. I could hear the rustling of the trees and smell the fragrance of the orb and Emily's leaf-wrapped gift.

For the past week, this has been my bedtime story to myself. Although it made for some disturbing dreams, it was a rare treat. In my opinion, this is destined to become a classic.

K E Shaw wrote 367 days ago

I read this first chapter, many moons ago, and then again dipped in briefly for one of those 3-word only reviews - and I still remember it. I think all that may have been before you made some changes. Now it is just as haunting - and disturbing - but it's grown into something truly special that grips the gut and doesn't let go. I certainly don't remember what Emma had seen at the bedroom window! The prose is a delight to read - it's perfectly polished, and I can't imagine changing a single thing. From the wrenching start to the uneasy finish with Emma as an old woman, this comes across as wonderfully professional, Nick. I can't think what else to say without gushing messily all over your comments, so I will finish with this: I don't know what your plans are in terms of publishing, but I'd snap this up the instant it's available to buy. It's a keeper.

Stark Silvercoin wrote 496 days ago

I read this novel about a year ago and came back for a second look. I’m really glad I did. It’s easy to see why Where She Lies is rising up the charts.

Author Nick Goulding is able to combine literary fiction with fantasy and horror in a way not dissimilar to H.P. Lovecraft. Goulding has both the ability to weave a fantastic story with the statesmen-like prose of a seasoned writer.

Coming back a year later, it’s clear that Where She Lies is even more polished than before, with an amazing beginning that hooks readers and begins to pull them through the tale. And once inside, each answer leads to more questions, with the reader getting deeper and more involved with each page turned.

Where She Lies is certainly bound for the desk here, and will pick up many fans once published. And Goulding, I believe, has the ability to become not just a well-known author, but one who matters.

John Breeden II
Old Number Seven

Kirstie wrote 711 days ago

I would buy this tomorrow if I could!
I have never read anything quite like it but I want to read more.You have an amazing writing style, particluarly with descriptions. And the story is so mysterious. It felt more like dreaming than reading.
I love the dialogue, particularly Polly Popinjay.
I have only read the first two chapters but I will definitely be reading more.
The writing is of such a high standard that there is not much to criticise, however I did notice 'Don't Gorge, George' with a misplaced capital.
I also wondered if 'quarr' should have a y or perhaps this is a regional variation.
Personally I thought that the line 'Bit tender. but I won't die from it,' sounded a little mature for the character Emma.
But these are the only tiny points I can find.
I'm glad to see it doing so well on Authonomy. Have given full stars and a place on my shelf.
best wishes
Kirstie

Vancey wrote 74 days ago

Hi, Nick.

I found this a shifting, restless read which reminded me, at times, of Alan Garner's novels. I don't mean it's derivative, but the different layers have similar echoes. Dorset is a great location for a story. It has the kind of landscape which makes the past ever present. The dialogue has pace, and I was glad, at times, of the description, which keeps the reader grounded. Your story has a mythical feel to it. My novel (see below) too is set in Dorset, so I was anxious to see Dorset's significance for you.Thanks for the read, and good luck. I'd be glad to receive any views you have on my story, if you get a spare moment.

Vance
(The Exile of Nicholas Misterton - Literary/Historical)

Nick Goulding wrote 78 days ago

This type of plot in this genre is new to me. I find it disturbing and haunting, yet it compels me to read on. So as far as plot, setting, suspense, imagery...you've nailed it.

Your writing ability is some of the best I've seen on this site. 5 stars. This book will take you far.

Tina Webb.
Before The Beginning
No Road Too Long

Thank you, Tina, your words are very much appreciated (I'm thanking you here, in the hope that you'll return as you don't receive messages). I'll take a look at your books as soon as I'm able. I've been busy re-building our kitchen, but you have nudged me into returning to edit and move on following the HC review, which I'm about to make public, so many thanks again!
Nick

Tina Webb wrote 78 days ago

This type of plot in this genre is new to me. I find it disturbing and haunting, yet it compels me to read on. So as far as plot, setting, suspense, imagery...you've nailed it.

Your writing ability is some of the best I've seen on this site. 5 stars. This book will take you far.

Tina Webb.
Before The Beginning
No Road Too Long

EngLit Traveller wrote 323 days ago

I've little to add to the impressive bank of comments below but to confirm my admiration of this work. It will move forward within the publishing world, of that I'm sure. Congratulations, Nick, on reaching the Authonomy desk. So well deserved.
Thomas

Marlene's Ghost wrote 324 days ago

There are several ways forward for a novel of this quality. Books that appear to be one thing but deliver a contrasting and shocking reality have a huge market. This literature needs to be recognised for what it is. The book within a book idea works so well, here and I love how you tease the reader with glimpses of reality contrasting with the children’s world of 1907. Your characters, like Phineas are startling in their depiction and I’m fascinated by how he is portrayed in the book the old author is writing compared to the reality. As it gains its medal I wish you well with Where She Lies. The moment it appears as a published work I shall buy it.

Cosmicdancer83 wrote 325 days ago

Fantastic job, Nick. You've written a cracking novel and it's about time it got it's medal here. The comments below are right. Stellar writing.

GirlSoBlue wrote 325 days ago

It's good to see this wonderful book about to get the Authonomy medal. Well deserved for a beautifully constructed novel. This book is so clever and subtle and I love how it switches between the worlds of the child and the adult. Well done, Nick.
GSB

carol jefferies wrote 328 days ago

Hi Nick,

Where She Lies

I enjoyed reading the first two chapters and was gripped in the opening when a girl is raped and wishes to turn to stone.

The description of Dorset's Jurassic coast is wonderfully described. I especially liked, 'Crags of sheer cliffs licked by the calm sea.'

My favourite character in the book was Emma's grandmother, Polly, and I liked her Dorset burr being described as 'comfortable, like apple cake round a cosy fire.'

There are many incidences to speculate about in this book as the story flickers back and forth from 1907, 1997, 1907 and 1996.

I was intrigued to know who the mysterious old man that Emma spoke to? And who did she see in her bedroom window. I liked the way this scene then flits to over to Polly, trying to decide what to get her granddaughter for her birthday. The cat seemed to suffer some kind of fright too.

I liked the way the next scene was set on the Isle of Purbeck in 1997, and portrays Emma as an frail, old lady who is unwell, asking for Billy, long deceased.

The children complaining about what they have to carry during a family picnic is so typical of children, and I liked the way their mother, Rebecca, reacts with a burst of temper, threatening to make them return home and tidy their bedrooms instead. We've all been there.

The story gets even more sinister when Emma claims an oak tree when playing hide-and-seek with George,her brother, and hiding inside the hollowed trunk, it appears as if no one can see her. But a mysterious figure passes the door and she spots him again later in the woods, dressed like a monk. His threatening words scare Emma.

This is when the plot thickens when Emma cannot find any evidence of a knee injury that had occurred, on her stockings.

The chapter closes well again set on the Isle of Purbeck in 1996, this time, with I presume it is the elderly Emma, speculating whether someone might come tonight, even then she doesn't want him to.

It is the mysterious happenings and the attention to detail, particularly scenes of nature, that contribute to make this story compelling reading.

High stars,

Carol Jefferies
(The Witch of Fleet Street)

Stellajr wrote 334 days ago

This is beautifully written. I felt powerfully drawn into the story from the first page. Several threads are interwoven, creating an atmosphere of mystery and suspense. The supernatural elements, such as the hollow tree, green orb, and gift shop, felt plausible and real. I could hear the rustling of the trees and smell the fragrance of the orb and Emily's leaf-wrapped gift.

For the past week, this has been my bedtime story to myself. Although it made for some disturbing dreams, it was a rare treat. In my opinion, this is destined to become a classic.

LondonFog wrote 339 days ago

Hi Nick,

I was just wondering if you could give me some advice on my work, as i was just getting ready to delve deeper into your work after reading the first chapter about a week ago, seeing as your book is ranked number 2 i would very much appreciate your words of advice.

Tom
Paradise, Volume I

Odette67 wrote 340 days ago

What a wonderful and moving opening. The words flow so beautifully.
I held my breath for the first few paragraphs. the story is haunting, intriging and echos inside my head.

The descriptions are wonderful, it holds my attention. i have put you on my bookshelf and will read later today.

wonderful

Kate web of deceit

Patsy4 wrote 343 days ago

This is clever. The rape scene in 1897 is followed by a beautiful description of Dorset countryside. The contrast magnifies the horror. Both scenes contain slabs: in the first she's tied to it and buriied underneath it and in the second she's sitting in the sunshine watching the ants. I've only read the first chapter so far and I wonder if I'll be able to keep track of 3 time periods in the one book - that's the nearest to a negative comment I can think of!
I olso have dialect in my book and when I pitched to 2 agents last year they both suggested that it would put publishers off. Have you had any such feedback?
Hope your book continues to do well.
Anne

LondonFog wrote 345 days ago

I read the first chapter and i must say i will be coming back for more, that is for certain. Your erratic style of layout intragues me, to me it's a great symbol of the erratic thoughts that must be compounding the mind of the protagonist. Keep up the good work!

LondonFog wrote 345 days ago

I read the first chapter and i must say i will be coming back for more, that is for certain. Your erratic style of layout intragues me, to me it's a great symbol of the erratic thoughts that must be compounding the mind of the protagonist. Keep up the good work!

LondonFog wrote 345 days ago

I read the first chapter and i must say i will be coming back for more, that is for certain. Your erratic style of layout intragues me, to me it's a great symbol of the erratic thoughts that must be compounding the mind of the protagonist. Keep up the good work!

LondonFog wrote 345 days ago

I read the first chapter and i must say i will be coming back for more, that is for certain. Your erratic style of layout intragues me, to me it's a great symbol of the erratic thoughts that must be compounding the mind of the protagonist. Keep up the good work!

LondonFog wrote 345 days ago

I read the first chapter and i must say i will be coming back for more, that is for certain. You're erratic style of layout intragues me, to me it's a great symbol of the erratic thoughts that must be compounding the mind of the protagonist. Keep up the good work!

emoo125 wrote 347 days ago

I've only read the first couple chapters of "Where She Lies" thus far...but just wanted to say I'm already enthralled. Wonderful character development and use of dialogue, the imagery is stunning and very vivid. The combination of fantastical and creepy elements in an adult context is unique and just downright intriguing. I'm really looking forward to reading more of this book, and hope that it does well!

BeeJoy wrote 350 days ago

Hauntingly creepy, but so well written. You weave an intricate tale, deeper than the parts I am grasping as I read. I love your description and flow, your mix of quotes, italics and the switch-back-and-forth style. It is engaging and keeps the reader moving forward, wanting to know more. I'm sure this has all been said before... and I hope Where She Lies receives the accolades it deserves...

EngLit Traveller wrote 351 days ago

Where She Lies is a truly outstanding work of literary fiction. The perspective of the child contrasted with that of the old lady is masterfully crafted. I became totally involved in this novel, emotionally and intellectually. It is a treat, a joy and a superb work.
ELT

andrew skaife wrote 353 days ago

This is fantastic and of the highest quality. I think the word "malevolent" is the perfect ascription to the opening sequence and your excellent descriptive narrative voice carries the work brilliantly. The throb of the "stone" stanza is gripping.

You certainly have a storyteller's skill and a crafting artist's handle on language.

Also, I very much enjoyed the punctuated resonance of the italics- it makes for a powerful structure and form.

Superbly crafted work.

andrew skaife wrote 353 days ago

This is fantastic and of the highest quality. I think the word "malevolent" is the perfect ascription to the opening sequence and your excellent descriptive narrative voice carries the work brilliantly. The throb of the "stone" stanza is gripping.

You certainly have a storyteller's skill and a crafting artist's handle on language.

Also, I very much enjoyed the punctuated resonance of the italics- it makes for a powerful structure and form.

Superbly crafted work.

Michelle Richardson wrote 356 days ago

Nick, I have been meaning to take a look at your book for a couple of weeks now and I'm so glad I did. The story is haunting and yet mesmerizing, and you weave the innocent everyday things with the unfolding mystery with great ease. I will return to read more and have given this highest stars.
Michelle- 43 Primrose Avenue

Nick Goulding wrote 360 days ago

A very gripping and engrossing start to an intriguing tale. I've so far just read the first couple of chapters and have put it on my watchlist to come back to.

Couple of little things which are probably completely inconsequential, so just me rambling. Was the Dorset coastline really called the Jurassic coast in 1907? I only ask as it wasn't when I lived in Dorset in the 1990s, it only seemed to become widely called that after the charter in 2001. And Ems somehow sounds a very modern abbreviation for Emma, but I'm sure you have researched all this inside out!

Very best of luck with it, it deserves to do well.

Tottie Limejuice
Sell the Pig "

Thanks very much, Tottie.

The shortened forms such as ‘Ems’ were in common use in Edwardian times. For example, this from a postcard dated July 19th 1906. ‘Dear Ems, Thanks for the card + paper, we are having very dull weather now, it makes us all down on our luck. Hope things are looking up your way, and a bit brighter for you all. Best love from us all Mum x’

The ‘Jurassic’ reference was a marketing hook, to be honest! It is a selling point for this area. However, the term ‘Jurassic’ dates from the time of Alexandre Brogniart in the early 1800’s, and links to the geological map of William Smith in 1815. Although a character like Ivy, with her scientific background and knowledgeable father, would have come across such terms I could be pushing it a bit, so I may wait to see if anyone else finds it intrusive. Mary Anning (d.1847), the famous local palaeontologist, would also have been familiar to some characters. I may put ‘craggy coastline’ back in for the alliteration. (Ref: ‘The Map that Changed the World’, by Simon Winchester).

Thanks again,
Nick

Tottie Limejuice wrote 361 days ago

A very gripping and engrossing start to an intriguing tale. I've so far just read the first couple of chapters and have put it on my watchlist to come back to.

Couple of little things which are probably completely inconsequential, so just me rambling. Was the Dorset coastline really called the Jurassic coast in 1907? I only ask as it wasn't when I lived in Dorset in the 1990s, it only seemed to become widely called that after the charter in 2001. And Ems somehow sounds a very modern abbreviation for Emma, but I'm sure you have researched all this inside out!

Very best of luck with it, it deserves to do well.

Tottie Limejuice
Sell the Pig

Rusty Bernard wrote 361 days ago

7 is my lucky number an this ranks at that so I thought I would have a dabble. Will be back very soon. Mx

Sheena Macleod wrote 362 days ago

Where She Lies by Nick Goulding
Wow, this is just the sort of book I like to read. Expressive, thoughful and full of deep meaning. I have to admit I found the first section harrowing, and had to leave it and come back again. Very disturbing.
The writing is very detailed, and I could visualise everything. This is an exceptionally well written piece of classic literature. It is worthy of high praise.
High stars
Sheena
The Popish Plot

K E Shaw wrote 367 days ago

I read this first chapter, many moons ago, and then again dipped in briefly for one of those 3-word only reviews - and I still remember it. I think all that may have been before you made some changes. Now it is just as haunting - and disturbing - but it's grown into something truly special that grips the gut and doesn't let go. I certainly don't remember what Emma had seen at the bedroom window! The prose is a delight to read - it's perfectly polished, and I can't imagine changing a single thing. From the wrenching start to the uneasy finish with Emma as an old woman, this comes across as wonderfully professional, Nick. I can't think what else to say without gushing messily all over your comments, so I will finish with this: I don't know what your plans are in terms of publishing, but I'd snap this up the instant it's available to buy. It's a keeper.

Katefin wrote 375 days ago

Your writing is so evocatice of the strange magic of the countryside, lyrical and beautiful. The opening scene, though disturbing, is very powerful with the refrain"she turned her body into stone." Heart wrenching. It is ambitious to jump through time periods, but I think it works. I think this is brilliant!

Nick Goulding wrote 400 days ago

CLAW review

This is by far the most beautiful and scary novel I have read on this site, and not only that, polished to the point of impeccability.

I tried hard to find imperfections, confusions, too wordy bits and pieces but could not. This is clearly out of my league, and I am not qualified to criticize this piece of literature.

However, I have tried very hard to find something to contribute, as CLAW review is not meant to be flattery, and I think I have found it. A very minor point and embarrassing scrutinizing though.
Chapter 23 - "Claret red" : I know that what you call "claret" wines are very popular in UK and every Brits knows what color is claret red but it means nothing outside of UK (except for Australia and NZ that I have no idea of). It's apparently a very old variety of grape or something that used to be produced in Bordeaux but nowadays, no known French wine producers use that variety, and they have developed different varieties out of it. So, no French except for the ones who have lived in the UK have heard of 'Claret' (in fact, the closest thing is "Clairet" or "Clairette" that they make rose or white wines from. Naturally, the importers of wines (i.e. US, Japan etc.) do not know what Claret wine and claret red.
I would suggest using "Bordeaux" or simply "wine red" or something like that if you intend to market this novel outside of UK.
I hope you did not mind me scrutinizing this teeny weeny thing.

R


Thank you so much, R.
Claret was the most popular wine of Edwardian times in England and it was a common descriptor of colour. So, as historical accuracy is important I'll probably keep it. Personally, I enjoy coming across new words that relate to different cultures and periods of history. Just found this quote from the 'Seattle Times':

'A search of the Wine Enthusiast database turns up some 90 reviews for wines labeled claret. They come from all corners of the wine world: Australia, Chile, Spain, Missouri, New England, Oregon and Virginia. But most by far are from California and Washington, and they cost anywhere from $10 to $125 a bottle.'

Interesting point, though. Thanks again,
N

R. Dango wrote 400 days ago

CLAW review

This is by far the most beautiful and scary novel I have read on this site, and not only that, polished to the point of impeccability.

I tried hard to find imperfections, confusions, too wordy bits and pieces but could not. This is clearly out of my league, and I am not qualified to criticize this piece of literature.

However, I have tried very hard to find something to contribute, as CLAW review is not meant to be flattery, and I think I have found it. A very minor point and embarrassing scrutinizing though.
Chapter 23 - "Claret red" : I know that what you call "claret" wines are very popular in UK and every Brits knows what color is claret red but it means nothing outside of UK (except for Australia and NZ that I have no idea of). It's apparently a very old variety of grape or something that used to be produced in Bordeaux but nowadays, no known French wine producers use that variety, and they have developed different varieties out of it. So, no French except for the ones who have lived in the UK have heard of 'Claret' (in fact, the closest thing is "Clairet" or "Clairette" that they make rose or white wines from. Naturally, the importers of wines (i.e. US, Japan etc.) do not know what Claret wine and claret red.
I would suggest using "Bordeaux" or simply "wine red" or something like that if you intend to market this novel outside of UK.
I hope you did not mind me scrutinizing this teeny weeny thing.

R

Nartana wrote 411 days ago

This is very good, I have only started but can't wait to read more.

Twistedbiscuits wrote 415 days ago

This shouldn't be on here. It should be in Waterstones. It should be on my bookshelf at home.

Sneaky Long wrote 416 days ago

Hi Nick, - CLAW Review and Comments on "Where She Lies"

This is quite well done. You have managed to blend the real with the surreal very adeptly. We have a young girl starting to experience troubling images and visions, yet is always pulled back to reality. At least so far, through two chapters. There are things happening both mystical and magical but we don't know what their source is. We also have another story being told outside of the regular story which is also mysterious. Your writing is very descriptive and imaginative. This is not my usual genre, but I enjoyed your story and your writing very much.

I only noticed one little stumbling block. - All subjective and only worth the price - "Nothing". In Chapter 1, after the mention of piano lessons, you are suddenly talking about Ivy and her conversations with Emma and Ivy's father and mother. I found this shift perplexing and had to stop and read again. It might just be me, but it seems Emma should be recalling these events to let the reader know how we went from Emma to Ivy.

Other than that, your style and story telling is great. I will be back for more. Highly starred and watch list for now.

Sneaky Long
"Trophy Wives"

Marlene's Ghost wrote 418 days ago

WHERE SHE LIES
Guillermo del Toro would be interested in casting his eye over the script of this dark tale. You achieve a similar tone of poetic and visual beauty. The blend of horror, fantasy and oppression seen through a child’s eyes is disturbing yet gripping. I loved the gradual unfolding of the Edwardian storyline and running parallel to it the old lady’s disintegrating world. Emma? Or are you messing with our minds? Love the ambiguity.
I enjoyed the range of believable characters. They are perfectly drawn with superb dialogue. You have a natural ability with words, which won me over. You achieved the perfect balance between description and action, dialogue and narration. The appreciation of beauty contrasts starkly with extreme darkness. Taking children through the paths you choose is inspired. I was moved too. That tug of loss, the dark side of nostalgia, so well portrayed.
I struggle to offer advice on how to improve your work. Perhaps some tighter linking of plot in the old writer sequences? But then I love the mystery of these and I would hate to see this become too obvious. I got confused over the name Coombe Martin as I thought this was in Devon but it’s spelt differently. Your style and the content are unique, I think. You tackle subjects that few writers are brave enough to confront, like the causes of abuse. It chilled me that you had me seeing things through the eyes of your sinister Phineas. I saw Jeremy Irons or Alan Rickman nailing that role! I can see from your profile that you have a background in psychology and teaching and it shows here.
You know, I’d love to see this story brought alive on screen, though I don’t know how. Give me a role in it – I feel I’ve lived it already!!
Marlene

Fragmented wrote 421 days ago

Hi Nick,

Eventually catching up on my watchlisted book, and commenting. Ive dipped into this book a few times in the past few weeks whilst ive had you on my WL, and all I can say, first of all, i...WOW. I LOVE creepy, gothic, scary, ghost stories, supernatural mysteries, and anything to do with woods and ravens, and children...reminds me of being a child, and immersing myelf in fairy tales...but for an adult, in this case. The writing is very unique, very individual, the story is unlike anything i have read prior, and i cant think of an etablished author to compare you to...which i a good thing! It mean that when you are publsihed, which im sure you will, youre very own voice of narrative will tand out amongst the rivals.

I cant find any errors, or points and I dont like...and it is for this reaon you are so high up in the charts. Normally I comment on grammar etc, but i jut cant find any. I cant fault the story. Nothing.

LOVE this, well done, and thanks for uploading it to authonomy!

Best of luck

Rachel

The Bloodline

JR Hughes wrote 425 days ago

Atmosphere, precision. Each scene is a nugget of gold. Beautifully written.
JR Hughes
Southpaw
http://www.facebook.com/JRHughesWriter

MC Storm wrote 431 days ago

I've read the first 2 chapters and must say it certainly held my interest. I especially loved the beginning so well written. The dialogue between the girls reads clear. The slipping between then and now works effortlessly. I can see why this book is headed for the desk. Well done!!
MC
Exposed

phillc wrote 432 days ago

have to admit im not really into anything like this ...until now i could not stop reading it it fantastic

Lin-C wrote 432 days ago

Hi Nick, This is some creepy tale! I have read the first two chapters and I'm impressed. You have pulled off an incredible hook with the opening and kept me facinated throughout.
Pace is great as you slip through the different time-lines, and you give just the right amount of information whilst keeping the reader engaged with so much going on. You have managed to build the foundations of fear slowly by adding snippets of scary bits into the story, the bit where Emma is in the hollow oak and she sees the black cloak was superbly written and you incorporated so much in that scene like the wound on her knee healing.
I enjoyed your style of writing, it was easy to read and flowed well, there was only one part where I had to back track to understand. Where you have Emma and Ivy together there's a bit where you have Ivy imitate 'her mother', I had to re-read to fully understand whose mother she was imitating.
Dialogue is all great, and again, it flowed well and fitted the piece perfectly.
Your characters are all believable, and the plot weaves around them. It's as if they all have their own individual stories like the way you have Tom feeling distanced from Rebecca, but then you draw him into the story with the oak leaf. And you do the same with Polly.
You have an amazing story here, and you have the ability to write it well. It's original and should be published.
Lin

sherit wrote 432 days ago

Well, Nick...it's after midnight here in good ol' Atlanta GA, and apologies I was only able to read one chapter at this sitting...but what a wild ride. I have a feeling something very wicked this way comes, only I have no idea what. The beginning was just so horrific, it quickly knocked me for a loop. Then the normalcy of school girl talk and play contrasted with these ever so weird going ons that I haven't a clue to where they're going. I will be back to read more. Just be patient with me. Happy to see you on your way to ED and you remain on my WL and highly starred. I thank you again for your kind words and support.

All the best,

Sheri Emery / Crazy Quilt

Lauren Grey wrote 432 days ago

Nick,

This is just my kind of story, and as good as I remember it to be. I have only reread the first chapter and am envious of your storytelling and phrasing. A scene that really stands out because of your almost poetic style of descriptive writing is when Polly is eating the currant bun, and it opens memories from her past. As smells are a strong link for all of us to the past, because they do trigger forgotten memories, this passage was very well written. I also loved the phrase ...’a melody at once so familiar, yet unremembered.’ Very nice!

The only sentence I did stumble over was; ‘How could it feel at same instant only yesterday, and yet a lifetime, since her Albert, a stone quarryman, had died six years ago? This reads to me a bit clumsy, sorry I tried, but it really did break the natural flow of your writing for me. I think it needs to be reworded, or maybe it’s because I’m from the colonies and is just too British for me to understand the wording:)

This is an excellent read and one I will continue with as I really must find out what happens, took a peek at chapter two, and it looks most intriguing.

Really well done and the best of luck.

djchorus wrote 435 days ago

I'm quite astounded at your use of words, your ability to weave them together to paint a picture that is sharp and clear.
I had a bit of difficulty knowing the POV in the first chapter as it seemed to keep shifting and in understanding the relationship between the many characters you introduce. It's clear why your book is popular on this site but if you keep having difficulty attracting an agent or publisher, you might consider keeping that opening chapter tighter by not having such a scattering of characters.
You have a gift! Keep pursuing!
- David Johnson (I would appreciate a return read of my book "Tucker's Way.")

K E Shaw wrote 442 days ago

This is an ERS
Terror. Nightmare. Psyche.

http://authonomy.com/forums/threads/108600/extreme-read-swap-ers-/

Mike Spilligan wrote 444 days ago

Intriguing or what? Chapter One put me in a cold sweat at the very beginning, then lulled me with charming and atmospheric dialogue (I always like character revealing dialogue) then left me in a bit of a sweat again! I'll be reading more. You capture Dorset very well, Nick (not North Devon where lies Combe Martin) and your descriptions work one's imagination alarmingly in places. I wish you good luck with this. I'll be in a position to say more when I've read the entire story.

Mike Spilligan
'A Station In Life'

Mike Spilligan wrote 444 days ago

Intriguing or what? Chapter One put me in a cold sweat at the very beginning, then lulled me with charming and atmospheric dialogue (I always like character revealing dialogue) then left me in a bit of a sweat again! I'll be reading more. You capture Dorset very well, Nick (not North Devon where lies Combe Martin) and your descriptions work one's imagination alarmingly in places. I wish you good luck with this. I'll be in a position to say more when I've read the entire story.

Mike Spilligan
'A Station In Life'

Sally M wrote 445 days ago

Hi Nick,

Thoroughly enjoying Where She Lies!

I love the pace and the world you've created. I can see the colours and smell the horse dung!

The dialogue between the girls is so easy to read and I like the way the atmosphere changes when the mysterious stranger appears.

Great writing, good luck with your journey up to the ED.

Sally
The Psychic Detective Agency

Grace Lyssett wrote 450 days ago

Hello Nick,
I could hardly believe what I was reading, first in the thread, ‘Greetings from the Smallest Town Ever’ where you wrote about Corfe Castle, then your personal pitch, and finally your book, ‘Where She Lies’. We have so much in common! I live in Dorset and write about my small village, but because my story is about childhood abuse I use fictional names. I also come from a teaching background, years of doing supply work in inner London, and then running an art department in a special school. I too am an artist and have scanned the beaches for sea glass which I once used in children’s pottery and later in my own jewellery (have you been to the Baiter in Poole?) Since moving to Dorset I have put my psychic and spiritual skills into counselling and am fascinated by what makes people tick, how energy is exchanged, and what drives people to behave and speak in certain ways.

Naturally I am drawn to your book and have put it on my WL after reading the pitch alone. Can’t wait to get stuck in - however I want to honour my other watchlist titles first so it will take a while.

Great to have discovered you here on Authonomy.

Grace Lyssett
SORRY

PS My abuse happened many years before moving down to this beautiful county of Dorset

NowSpeakTruth wrote 450 days ago

I am reading this because your pitch is intriguing and drew me in.

This first bit here already has me shivering. The thought that she willfully 'turned herself to stone' so to speak in order to not feel the pain so harshly was a believable but tragic coping method. You've started this out by very effectively grabbing your readers attention.

And the intrigue was not lost throughout this entire chapter. The ages of your characters are all very believable, yet there are hints that a few may be wiser than what we've seen thus far.
Your characters are all together believable. Introducing us to them in how they react to their surroundings and reminisce of their past works well here.

While I've not read far enough to know whether your plot works from beginning to end, I can say that the idea for he story is both original and fascinating. I don't think you'll have much trouble finding a market for such a thought provoking tale.

My favorite part thus far would be the old man who was rambling to Emma. Were there bits of truths weaved into his madness, or was he just mad? Something I'm sure we'll discover more of later on.

While that was my favorite, the part that held the most power was your beginning, nicely tied up by the ending of this first chapter here I think.

There was nothing grammatically off, and nowhere I thought could really be reworded. All in all, great writing. high stars.

God bless

Suzi F wrote 464 days ago

Excellent opening - really moving and descriptive drawing the reader into the characters world.
Will come back for more.
Teresa
Love, Suzi x