Owl Manor: The Dawning (Owl Manor: Book 1) by Zita Harrison

Publisher: Zealous Arts Publishing

Date of publication: October 15th, 2018

Genre: Gothic, Horror

Series: Owl Manor

Owl Manor: The Dawning—Book 1

Owl Manor: Abigail—Book 2

Owl Manor: the Final Stroke—Book 3

Purchase Links: Amazon | AbeBooks | Alibris | Indigo

Goodreads Synopsis:

A tale of unspeakable murder, a doomed alliance, and retribution from the beyond
Sometimes the tide sweeps us into a fog where dark forces are at work…suddenly good and evil become blurred. Powerless and defenseless, we swim toward it, and wonder if we’re going mad.

Eva is born in the wrong era. In 1800s America, women are required to obey their husbands without question and to submit to their presumed superiority. But Eva wants more. Willful and ambitious, she considers herself equal to men. But the times are unrelenting, and it is her curse to remain unheard.

Rafe is a misogynist. Born of a demented mother who shattered his childhood and family, he is forever tormented by a scathing mistrust of women.

The tide brings them together at Owl Manor, a place shrouded in darkness, forsaken by the sun. A place where owls breathe in the very fabric of the walls, and shadows wander the passages. Where good and evil blur.

Will Eva make the right choice?

Owl Manor – the Dawning, the first in a trilogy of Gothic suspense novels, is inspired by authors such as Daphne du Maurier (Jamaica Inn), Carlos Ruiz Zafon (Shadow of the Wind), Shirley Jackson (The Haunting of Hill House).


First Line:

The owl appeared from nowhere, its ivory wings billowing like a ghostly cloak against the dusky sky.

Owl Manor: The Dawning by Zita Harrison

Horror, mainly the gothic subgenre, is something that I tend to stay away from when reading for pleasure and reading for reviews. I can get easily unnerved by what I am reading, and with my husband traveling 2-3 days a week, I have learned to stay away from those genres. But with him being home (new job=more at home time), I decided to take a chance and read Owl Manor. I am glad that I did because this book was incredibly creepy and very heartbreaking at the same time.

Owl Manor: The Dawning is book 1 in the Owl Manor series. This is the first book in the series, so there will be no gentle suggestions about reading the previous books.

Owl Manor: The Dawning had exciting storylines. There was Eva’s storyline. Raised by her aunt and uncle, Eva is a headstrong, intelligent young woman determined to make it in a man’s world. But then she gets pregnant, is forced to marry a man beneath her station, and is turned bitter by these events. But, Eva is a dutiful wife and mother who follows her husband to Denver (in Kansas territory) during the gold rush. In Denver, she finds mind-numbing poverty. After her husband becomes ill from working in the mines, Eva is forced to find employment. She is offered a job as a maid at Owl Manor, a mansion decorated with owls in the Rocky Mountains. What Eva finds at Owl Manor is a home and a companion with its mysterious owner.

The second storyline is about Rafe. Rafe is a wealthy Englishman who is damaged. His deranged mother abused him, and he was also forced to witness his father being humiliated by his mother. After his mother leaves Rafe and his father, Rafe is dealt the blow of finding his father after committing suicide. Then, Rafe vowed to kill any woman who was a harlot (aka a prostitute). He thinks that by killing them, he is doing the world a favor. Moving from London to the States for school, Rafe settles in Morganton, NC, and continues his killing spree. He then moves to Denver and builds a mansion in the mountains. Rafe also continues killing. But, this time, something mystical happened, and owls started attacking Rafe whenever he left the house. Soon housebound and covered with scars, Rafe starts having manic moments where he destroys his study and bedroom. That stops when he meets Eva. Taken with Eva, Rafe can forget the horror of his past and suppress his urges to kill. But that only lasts a little while before Rafe has the desire to kill again. Everything comes to a head when Eva discovers Rafe’s secret. What will happen to Eva? What will happen to Rafe? Will his secret be kept at Eva’s expense, or will something terrible happen?

I wouldn’t say I liked Eva for most of the book. I don’t know if the author intended the reader to dislike her, but I did. Eva was very unpleasant until she went to Owl Manor. She was an inattentive mother who discussed why she didn’t want children in front of Abigail (yes, that led to issues). Eva blamed her husband for her financial straights, yet she did nothing (except beg and consider prostitution) until she was offered a job at Owl Manor. But, when she got to Owl Manor, there was a gradual change in her attitude towards life and her family. Her attitude toward life improved, but it worsened for her family. Those scenes where she visited her sick husband were tough to read. Even when she was elevated to companion/mistress to Rafe, I was still “meh” about her. But it wasn’t until the very end of the book that I started to feel bad for her. She had gotten herself and her family into a situation that would be impossible to escape. I wasn’t surprised at what happened to her at the end.

I felt terrible for Rafe, but I wouldn’t say I liked his actions. He was shaped by what his mother did and his father’s inaction. It was a classic case of nature vs. nurture, with nature winning this round. I firmly believe that if he had been treated better by his mother, he wouldn’t have gone down the path he did. I did find his reaction to Eva a little heartbreaking. In those scenes, you could see who he could have become if he hadn’t been abused or witnessed everything he did.

I found the use of the owls in Owl Manor very creepy. It unsettled me a little when the author explained that souls used owls to fly to the Underworld. I got chills whenever there was a scene where owls were involved. They were hanging out on the house, waiting for Rafe to come out, and then would attack him, sending chills through me.

The horror angle was well written. The author was able to scare the heck out of me by insinuating things. A drape that moved or a reflection in the glass. I got goosebumps just reading those passages!!

The end of Owl Manor was a mess. I don’t mean a mess writing-wise (nope, the author was spot on with that), but a mess with everything that happened. Also, add that what happened to Rafe at the end was anti-climactic. I was left shaken by what happened and looking forward to reading book 2!!

I would recommend Owl Manor: The Dawning to anyone over 21. There is violence, mild language, and very mild, non-graphic, sexual situations/scenes.


If you liked Owl Manor: The Dawning, you will enjoy these books.

WWW Wednesday: September 14th, 2022

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Personal:

  • I got my Covid booster on Saturday, and my arm hurt. I swear the Walgreens tech used an extra-long needle. But I am glad that I got it.
  • Miss R has been home sick from school since Monday. She had an anxiety attack on Monday, and I had to grab her from school. She threw up twice (once at school and once at home) on Tuesday. Per the school, she has to be 24 hours without puking, so she will return on Thursday.
  • I have watched the Queen’s funeral (and all the reports on her death) since it happened last week. Today’s procession was hard to watch. Anne’s face conveyed everything that was unsaid about her mother’s death.
  • I am updating posts, but I have gone back to the beginning. I have added a section called “If you enjoyed these books, then you will like these” and added three books to the post.
  • I am behind by a review. I planned on being ahead, but with Miss R being home, I haven’t been able to sit down and write. I am planning on doing that tomorrow.
  • On the other hand, I am ahead in reading. I am halfway through the second book of the Owl Manor Trilogy, and I love this trilogy!!!

So that’s the major things for this past week. How was your week?

As always, let me know if you have read or are planning to read any of these books!!


What I Recently Finished Reading:

A tale of unspeakable murder, a doomed alliance, and retribution from the beyond
Sometimes the tide sweeps us into a fog where dark forces are at work…suddenly good and evil become blurred. Powerless and defenseless, we swim toward it, and wonder if we’re going mad.

Eva is born in the wrong era. In 1800s America, women are required to obey their husbands without question and to submit to their presumed superiority. But Eva wants more. Willful and ambitious, she considers herself equal to men. But the times are unrelenting, and it is her curse to remain unheard.

Rafe is a misogynist. Born of a demented mother who shattered his childhood and family, he is forever tormented by a scathing mistrust of women.

The tide brings them together at Owl Manor, a place shrouded in darkness, forsaken by the sun. A place where owls breathe in the very fabric of the walls, and shadows wander the passages. Where good and evil blur.

Will Eva make the right choice?

Owl Manor – the Dawning, the first in a trilogy of Gothic suspense novels, is inspired by authors such as Daphne du Maurier (Jamaica Inn), Carlos Ruiz Zafon (Shadow of the Wind), Shirley Jackson (The Haunting of Hill House).


What I am currently reading:

14 years ago, Owl Manor trembled with echoes of madness, mysterious deaths and marauding owls.

In 1870, Abigail fled the horror of Owl Manor with her fiancé, Peter. But she carried with her the terrible notion that she is unworthy of love, instilled by her reluctant mother. If her own mother could not love her, how would anyone else?

She trusts no one and keeps herself buried in a crypt of churning emotions, away from the world. Deep inside, her soul screams at the thought of dying alone and unloved.

Now she is back. Abandoned at the altar, and with nowhere to go, she returns to Owl Manor. Thus begin the nightmares of violent rage and destruction, ghostly images.

What really happened 14 years ago?

Enter Victor, the complete opposite of Peter, yet frighteningly familiar at times.

And the owls circle the sky once again.


What books I think I’ll read next:

For a quarter of a century, the horrors at Owl Manor have been buried under dust and decay, forgotten and unheard.

Then Dolores hears the whispers.

Dolores, a young artist, feels the pain all around her. It is the subject of her paintings. Strangely, once the pain is on her canvas, it diminishes.

A fated encounter takes her and her two best friends to Owl Manor in the Rocky Mountains. Ignoring the rumors of a gruesome past and ghosts, they take up residence. What’s the worst that could happen?

But it is the past that has summoned Dolores.

The owls begin to circle the sky again. The whispers get louder, seeping into each of their souls. And Dolores, besieged by the pain of brutal murders in the manor’s history, has no choice but to paint.

For the lives of those close to her hang in the balance.

Nightmares & Daydreams unravels the dark consequences of suppressing one’s innermost traumas and pain. Kalim, a 27 year old songwriter living with his boyfriend in Marseille, becomes tortured by nightmares, hallucinations and out of body experiences, as the trauma from his past starts to ripple from the depths of his subconscious. An entity starts to emerge through the fog of his tortured mind, haunting him within his nightmares.

After violent nights and dark days of suffering and relapsing into volatile vices, Kalim is forced to follow the ominous entity as his final hope for salvation. Dominic Anton’s third book and first paranormal fiction thriller further comprises a section of poetry expanding on the theme’s of addiction, trauma, loss of faith, and shedding the skin of the past.

She was a runaway from a cruel man who wanted to chase her and claim what he thought was his property. Who could know that finding shelter for the beautiful Daisy O’Malley in Jess Farthing’s barn would lead to love?

The man swore to keep her safe and vowed that the person who did this to her would suffer. Through many shades of danger they made a team and it turned out to be Jess who needed her help on more than one occasion.

Neither of them would admit to falling love in case the partnership came to an end. Daisy had lost her family but the friends who came to her aid formed a strong and lasting bond.The story is about friendship and a love affair that steals the reader’s heart along with a slight touch of the supernatural.

“Loving a Runaway Bride” is a historical western romance novel of approximately 80,000 words. No cheating, no cliffhangers, and a guaranteed happily ever after.

Ashlyn just wants to move on with her life. Run her bakery. Heal her broken heart. She’s had three years to try and forget Dante Fontaine.

To the rest of the world, Dante is Hollywood royalty, the ridiculously attractive oldest son of the notorious Fontaine family.

To Ashlyn? He’s the guy who took her virginity and made her swear off men forever.

But when an accidental–and humiliating–encounter brings him back into her life, Ashlyn realizes that no matter how hard she’s tried to forget about him, Dante definitely hasn’t forgotten about her.

…and this time, he’s not going to let her go.

WWW Wednesday: September 7th, 2022

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Personal:

  • The bus saga continues. It hasn’t shown up at all since last week. But, there is light at the end of the tunnel here. I emailed the transportation director, expressed my frustration, and asked for insight. She told me that a new driver had been hired (Yay!!) and the route will return to normal shortly.
  • We have settled into our school schedule very nicely. Miss R is a little put off because (drum roll please) she will have math and reading homework Monday-Thursday. She will also have a project a month. This month’s project is called About Me, which is pretty self-explanatory. We have already sketched out (on posterboard) what she is going to include. Tonight, we start work on it.
  • The horse show gave Miss R a huge boost in confidence, which she needed. She was trotting with one hand and doing a great job controlling her horse (who was being naughty) at her last lesson. She could almost do everything to tack and untack the horse by herself.
  • I don’t know if I mentioned it, but we had adopted (or so we thought) another kitten from the local shelter. I say we thought because I skipped his neutering appointment yesterday (we were going to go through our vet). BK was listed as the contact; they called and gave him an earful. They said we were fostering (never explained when we got him) and that we were supposed to go through their vet, not ours. They were pretty rude about it. So, I had to cancel Tony’s appointment today, and we’re taking him in next week for his neutering. Then he will be ours. I was pretty upset. They never explained that it was a foster-to-adopt situation (which we would have been fine with), sent us home with zero instructions (again, they didn’t tell us), and sent us home with a very sick kitten (he was on antibiotics for a URI for over a week).
  • I haven’t worked on updating posts since last week. I was pretty tired. I didn’t even play my Planet Zoo game and fell asleep during LivePD on Friday. That’s how tired I was. I am planning on getting to it at some point this week. I’m just not sure when.

So that’s the major things for this past week. How was your week?

As always, let me know if you have read or are planning to read any of these books!!


What I Recently Finished Reading:

Paradise is no more. She’s a stranger in her new home…

… as she sails the choppy waters of teen life. Teresa longs for picture-perfect love, but in the real world you often have to say “No”, even if it breaks your heart.

From tropical Mozambique to drab, 1970s Lisbon, from the golden beaches of Durban to five-star holidays in verdant, mountainous Madeira, and even the Moroccan kasbah, follow Teresa as she stumbles and falls and picks herself up again.

Will Teresa’s grandparents let her out of their sight for a minute? Can she forge her own path in a country that struggles to emerge from fear and taboo? Will she find true love, or is she forever fated to navigate an ocean of boys who demand more than she is willing to give?


What I am currently reading:

In the aftermath of her husband’s life-altering mistake, Tiana Williams grapples with lingering resentment while working full-time and raising their toddler. But when Jay becomes a person of interest in the kidnapping of ten-year-old Zoe Miller, Tiana is torn between trusting her husband and believing the growing pile of evidence. After she gets dragged further into the mystery and discovers her connection to the missing girl, the shaky ground beneath her crumbles.

With the odds stacked against him, Jay does everything in his power to prove his innocence. Racing against the clock, he must uncover the truth about Zoe’s kidnapping before he loses everything he loves—including his freedom.

During a sweltering heat wave and a raging California wildfire, Tiana and Jay will stop at nothing to find Zoe, even if it means tearing apart their marriage and risking their own lives in the process


What books I think I’ll read next:

Welcome or unwelcome. Fate has arrived.
“A captivating and poetic tale of mystery, fantasy, and reality tied together by action!” 5-stars, Lars Jackson, Amazon Customer
A suspenseful incident in a forbidden preserve heightens the senses of five friends. Sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell become super-gifts that forever change the world. But furious battles confront the boys as they try to understand their sensory super powers in a race to save mankind. With light beings and mysterious strangers complicating their plight, can the boys defeat the evil Druth before it’s too late? Get prepared for the twisting and grinding of this award-winning, action-adventure story — an edge-of-your-seat narrative for young and mature readers alike.

A tale of unspeakable murder, a doomed alliance, and retribution from the beyond
Sometimes the tide sweeps us into a fog where dark forces are at work…suddenly good and evil become blurred. Powerless and defenseless, we swim toward it, and wonder if we’re going mad.

Eva is born in the wrong era. In 1800s America, women are required to obey their husbands without question and to submit to their presumed superiority. But Eva wants more. Willful and ambitious, she considers herself equal to men. But the times are unrelenting, and it is her curse to remain unheard.

Rafe is a misogynist. Born of a demented mother who shattered his childhood and family, he is forever tormented by a scathing mistrust of women.

The tide brings them together at Owl Manor, a place shrouded in darkness, forsaken by the sun. A place where owls breathe in the very fabric of the walls, and shadows wander the passages. Where good and evil blur.

Will Eva make the right choice?

Owl Manor – the Dawning, the first in a trilogy of Gothic suspense novels, is inspired by authors such as Daphne du Maurier (Jamaica Inn), Carlos Ruiz Zafon (Shadow of the Wind), Shirley Jackson (The Haunting of Hill House).

14 years ago, Owl Manor trembled with echoes of madness, mysterious deaths and marauding owls.

In 1870, Abigail fled the horror of Owl Manor with her fiancé, Peter. But she carried with her the terrible notion that she is unworthy of love, instilled by her reluctant mother. If her own mother could not love her, how would anyone else?

She trusts no one and keeps herself buried in a crypt of churning emotions, away from the world. Deep inside, her soul screams at the thought of dying alone and unloved.

Now she is back. Abandoned at the altar, and with nowhere to go, she returns to Owl Manor. Thus begin the nightmares of violent rage and destruction, ghostly images.

What really happened 14 years ago?

Enter Victor, the complete opposite of Peter, yet frighteningly familiar at times.

And the owls circle the sky once again.

Inspired by authors such as Edgar Allan Poe (The Raven), Daphne du Maurier (Jamaica Inn), Carlos Ruiz Zafon (Shadow of the Wind), Owl Manor – Abigail is the second in the Owl Manor trilogy of Gothic suspense novels, and follows Owl Manor – the Dawning.

For a quarter of a century, the horrors at Owl Manor have been buried under dust and decay, forgotten and unheard.

Then Dolores hears the whispers.

Dolores, a young artist, feels the pain all around her. It is the subject of her paintings. Strangely, once the pain is on her canvas, it diminishes.

A fated encounter takes her and her two best friends to Owl Manor in the Rocky Mountains. Ignoring the rumors of a gruesome past and ghosts, they take up residence. What’s the worst that could happen?

But it is the past that has summoned Dolores.

The owls begin to circle the sky again. The whispers get louder, seeping into each of their souls. And Dolores, besieged by the pain of brutal murders in the manor’s history, has no choice but to paint.

For the lives of those close to her hang in the balance.

Inspired by authors like Edgar Allan Poe (The Raven), Daphne du Maurier (Jamaica Inn), and Shirley Jackson (The Haunting of Hill House), Owl Manor – the Final Stroke is the third and final book in the Owl Manor trilogy of Gothic Suspense novels. It follows Owl Manor – the Dawning and Owl Manor – Abigail.

September 2022 TBR

August seemed to fly by. It was busy for me, though, even if it was just getting the kids ready for back to school. We are on the 4th day, and everything seems to be going well (keeping my fingers crossed!!). I am enjoying the downtime.

So, here’s this month’s TBR list. Let me know if you have read any of them!!


I normally don’t read or review anthologies. But this is a new publisher, and I accepted the invite before reading the full blurb. I am sure that I am going to like it (romance is always a hit with me)

I have reviewed this author in the past, and I have enjoyed her books. I am looking forward to reading this book based on the synopsis (you have to go to Amazon to read it; it’s not on Goodreads).

A new to me author who was very sweet in her request email. I can’t wait to read this!!

I am curious about this book. It is different (the five senses used to save the world??).

The author emailed me, asking if I could review book 3 but added I could review the first two books too. And since I don’t like just reading one book in a series, I requested all 3. I am very interested in reading them all.