Oct 31, 2015

Bliss House by Laura Benedict (Kindle Edition)

If you're looking for a book perfect for Halloween, BLISS HOUSE may fit the bill for you. It's a spooky, ghost-filled story centering around a generations-old mansion that is clearly haunted and doesn't mind making it's inhabitants known.

Rainey Adams bought the old family home with the hopes that moving her daughter, Ariel, to Virginia from St. Louis would help her recover from a tragic accident that left her both physically and mentally maimed. It was their house that exploded from faulty wiring that caused Ariel's severe injuries and took the life of her beloved father, with whom she was so close. Since it was her mother's project, Ariel holds some resentment against her mother and their relationship has suffered greatly. Though Rainey has heard some stories about the house, she has a distant familial connection to it and hopes that in fixing it up it will give she and her daughter a fresh start. 

Once a grand home located in rural Virginia, it doesn't take long to realize there's something off about Bliss House. The creep meter goes way up when the morning after Rainey hosts her first party, a house-warming, one of the guests is found dead, causing a lot of unease and old fears in the community.

Simultaneously, there's another story connected to the house being told, the events of which reveal themselves in flashback chapters. It involves the relationship between a young couple from the 1980's that turns into something very frightening and disturbing. 

BLISS HOUSE is a dark, haunting tale with the main character being the house itself with its history of madness, not to mention murder. Rainey doesn't want to believe that the old beautiful home she has so much invested in could be a bad place, but the longer they are there, the more sinister it becomes. Even more troubling to Rainey is the changes happening to her daughter.

My Thoughts:

There is a lot going on in this book. There is the the house with its hidden rooms and runnels leading to who-knows-where; there's Rainey, the loving and broken mother fighting to help her daughter get her life back and, hopefully, along the way repair their damaged relationship; and the story of the young couple that is fighting to come out even though some people will do anything to keep it hidden. And there's the contractor Rainey hired to renovate the house who's wife becomes the latest victim of Bliss House. 

The story is not hard to follow, although I was skeptical about how the two different stories were going to come together. I'm not a huge fan of going back and forth in time, but those chapters were not long and drawn out so it didn't bother me as much as I thought it would. Rainey's story was a sad one and I immediately began rooting for her with what she hoped to accomplish in buying Bliss House. . 

The story was original but there were so many characters that it made it harder to connect with. Some aspects of these characters, I felt, were there just for shock value which made it feel forced. BLISS HOUSE was released in 2014 and is the first in a series. The second book, CHARLOTTE'S STORY, which came out October 15, 2015 actually takes place in the 1950's and divulges more of the mansion's deception. Since there were so many loose ends at the end of BLISS HOUSE, I thought the second book might pick up with some of the many characters but I don't believe that is the case. There is also a third book yet to be released.

The Bottom Line:

I have to admit I was a bit disappointed in this book.  Too many characters, and I didn't love the flashback story. It felt disjointed. Initially I liked the premise but it just went in too many directions for my taste. As far as the second book, I may give it a try but I'm not running to pick it up. All that being said, BLISS HOUSE is a good one to read this time of year with Halloween being upon us. If you've read it and have a different opinion, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

BLISS HOUSE (Kindle Edition)
Series: Bliss House, Book 1
Author: Laura Benedict
Publisher: Pegasus
Published: June 2014
Length:  449pp
Source: Purchased

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