When The Birthing House came through the post I thought it looked like a very interesting and promising book, so even though it isn’t something I usually read I jumped in and hoped for the best. Unfortunately it didn’t quite hit the spot and although it gave me a shiver down my spine a couple of times, I just didn’t feel that it followed through on those early promises.
The characters we follow – mainly Conrad, his wife, Jo, and next door neighbours daughter Nadia – are interesting enough and the relationships that Christopher Ransom explores have many levels. This part of the story, the breakdown of the relationship with his wife, the obsession with Nadia and in turn her problems with her ex-boyfriend, are an interesting look at life when things don’t go to plan. The ghost aspect of the novel also ties this part in tighter, but it just doesn’t follow through with a scary story, more like a series of revelations that build with intensity until we get the final one.
I think my main problem with the ghost aspect is the way that Conrad deals with it. It doesn’t come across as entirely believable and I found myself shaking my head and wondering why he just carries on when things happen as they do. Conrad doesn’t appear too bothered about any of these occurrences and once they’ve happened his focus switches back to the relationships rather than the very strange happenings in his house. The incidents themselves only gave me a shiver down my spine a couple of times, the scares not really affecting me the way I expected them to.
It’s a shame that the story didn’t hit me at the right level, the writing certainly hits the right spots and I could easily read Christopher Ransom for hours on end. Here’s hoping that his next novel connects with me on the level it’s intended too and not just fly wide of the mark.