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by Catriona Ward

eBooks of the Month Sci-Fi and Fantasy

LoveReading View on Rawblood

Highly Recommended.

Catriona Ward’s assured and artful first novel is a wonderfully gothic tale. Set in an Edwardian Devon haunted by the Great War it has its roots in some dark Victorian family secrets. The story revolves around Iris, last of the Villarca line, who lives in the eponymous Rawblood house. The Villarcas have died young for generation after generation; struck down by a curse that means they must be alone. So when Iris falls for farmer’s son Tom her father forbids her from seeing him. So far so melodramatic but this is no corny dark romance. Ward is an astonishingly adept writer with a wonderfully poetic turn of phrase and she is also in complete control of her characters and the plot. It quickly becomes clear that this is a many layered, complex and subtle novel and Ward has a real gift for sowing her horrors seamlessly into a psychologically real story. The west country setting and the period Ward has chosen add real flavour and while the obvious shadow of Thomas Hardy hangs over this Ward knows what she is doing and makes the book her own. Key to this is her prose style. There are real poetic touches here but they are always robustly rooted in landscape and nature – there’s more than a hint of Ted Hughes’ very physical poetry in her descriptions. If you enjoy Essie Fox or Sarah Perry Rawblood will haunt you. ~ Simon Spanton

Simon Spanton

Rawblood Synopsis

She comes in the night. She looks into your eyes. One by one, she has taken us all. For generations they have died young, and now fifteen-year-old Iris and her father are the last of the Villarca line. Confined to their lonely mansion on Dartmoor, they suffer their disease in isolation. But Iris breaks her promise to hide from the world and dares to fall in love. It is only then that they understand the true horror of the Villarca curse, the curse of the bone-white woman who visits in the night, leaving death in her wake.

Rawblood Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.

  • Sallyann Spittle - 'Even though this is a love story, some parts were quite terrifying and very sinister – do not read whilst you are alone at night.  Praise to Catriona Ward for producing a brilliant piece of fiction.'
  • Sarah Musk - 'A dark book to read full of difficult subjects.  A strong supernatural theme lends it a menacing air and I would not recommend reading it if you have a sensitive disposition!'
  • Emma Barton - 'This is an atmospheric tale about one family and the curse they suffer throughout several generations.'
  • Carol Peace - 'Hauntingly good.'
  • Kerry Bridges - '[This] may well be for some people [but] I would not recommend it.'
  • Cyllene Griffiths - 'Walpole, Poe, Shelley and Stoker would be springing out their graves in true Gothic fashion to read this new novel. It is Gothic Horror for the 21st century and superbly done...'

Rawblood Press Reviews

'From Victorian ghost story to anti-war polemic and back again: I raged, wept and hid under the bed covers. As full of science as it is the supernatural, this is a hauntingly brilliant virtuoso performance.' -- Emma Healey author of ELIZABETH IS MISSING

'Gloriously dark and claustrophobic, Rawblood is a haunting gothic novel of intelligence and complexity. It has many echoes of the classics but is entirely its own book.' Essie Fox, author of THE SOMNAMBULIST

'A gothic tale of love and madness, this atmospheric and chilling story drew me in from the first page, and kept me up at night, until I reached the last' -- Claire Fuller, author of OUR ENDLESS NUMBERED DAYS

'The story crosses generations, from Victorian England to World War I, and is told by a number of different voices, going back and forth in time and drawing the reader into their thrall. With a ghostly face at the window, inexplicable events and a sense of menace hanging over every page, this is one chilling gothic novel' -- Fanny Blake Daily Mail

'plenty of twists and turns that had me on the edge of my seat.' WOMAN AND HOME

'Chillingly good' -- Charlotte Heathcote Sunday Express S Magazine

'As a meta-examination of the Gothic genre (it's mostly set in the 19th Century) and as a straightforward tale of grisly haunting, Ward's novel is remarkably successful.' THE SPECTATOR

'carried off in fine style' LITERARY REVIEW

'an impressively hectic spin on the Gothic tradition' DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Rawblood makes a powerful contribution to the British literature of the fantastic. It's an epic family saga incorporating a great Gothic house, built upon a lyrically rendered regional landscape, from which the numinous rises as if it is a natural function of the setting. There's a touch of Ted Hughes here, Emily Bronte and M.R James in this eerie and by turns moving story that spans generations. It filled my head for several evenings, and will linger there too ... A definite book of the year for me' -- Adam Nevill, author of THE RITUAL

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781780229140
Publication date: 08/09/2016
Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson an imprint of Orion Publishing Co
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9780297609643
Publication date: 24/09/2015
Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson an imprint of Orion Publishing Co
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781780229140
Publication date: 8th September 2016
Author: Catriona Ward
Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson an imprint of Orion Publishing Co
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 384 pages
Genres: eBook Favourites, Sci-Fi and Fantasy,
Collections: 90+ books that dare you to take a walk on the dark side.,
Categories: Horror & ghost stories,

About Catriona Ward

Catriona Ward was born in Washington DC and grew up in the US, Kenya, Madagascar, Yemen and Morocco. She now lives in London where she works as a writer and researcher for Bianca Jagger's human rights foundation. Rawblood is her first novel.

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