Firstly I wish to thank Imogen Harris of Legend Press for inviting me to read and review this book, THE VISITORS by Catherine Burns. I was originally on the Blog Tour but due to unforeseen circumstances I had to postpone my review.
‘Once you start Catherine Burns’s dark, disturbing, and enthralling debut novel, it’s hard to stop. The Visitors is bizarrely unsettling, yet compulsively readable.’ Iain Reid, Internationally Bestselling Author of I’m Thinking of Ending Things
Marion Zetland lives with her domineering older brother, John in a decaying Georgian townhouse on the edge of a northern seaside resort. A timid spinster in her fifties who still sleeps with teddy bears, Marion does her best to shut out the shocking secret that John keeps in the cellar.
Until, suddenly, John has a heart attack and Marion is forced to go down to the cellar herself and face the gruesome truth that her brother has kept hidden.
As questions are asked and secrets unravel, maybe John isn’t the only one with a dark side.
HERE ARE MY THOUGHTS AND REVIEW
Well this was a bit of a dark horse. My heart broke for poor little Marion Zetland, clumsy, not the prettiest girl or brightest she really struggled with fitting in. Talk about if nature or nurture was to blame for kids growing up more than a little off-key then Marion and her older brother John, much brighter and definitely not someone to tackle, would be great examples. These kids just didn’t stand a chance from their keep our kids at a distance mum and dad that belittled Marion especially, on numerous occasions, to the way society reacted to them both. The only thing they could rely on was being quite wealthy and each other especially after the death of their parents.
To say this pair of siblings weren’t right in their heads would be a gross understatement, with Marion, now in her fifties and her obsession with her stuffed toy animals to John’s own obsession down in the cellar, all was very far from normal. Marion agreed with everyone especially her very domineering and bullying brother and demanding next door neighbour. The image I had of John was petrifying, a large man with a commanding tone that would send anyone scurrying into a corner.
This story unfolds with perfection letting you know more and more about their lives as children and as adults as seen through the childlike eyes of Marion, still in desperate need of being loved by someone. I find it hard to believe that this is a debut novel. It has a wonderful build of getting to know the relationship between the brother and sister and her reluctant role she has to play for him. All the time in the back of my mind I thought could what I think is happening, really be happening? At times reality is just too hard to face, especially for vulnerable Marion at any age. This made me almost want to mother Marion myself no matter how old she was.
There are some harrowing scenes, some tragic ones and some ‘I can’t believe that just happened ones’. Loved it, loved it! This is the sort of story that hits the Sunday papers, the ones that no one knew what was going on, but yes they were peculiar come to think of it, you know the type of stories. Looking forward to more from this author in the future. This was right up my twisted street.
HERE IS A LITTLE ABOUT THE AUTHOR