12 March 2020

Review || Widow's Walk by Wendy Webb


Escaping a troubled marriage, Annie Cameron brings her autistic son Charlie and mother-in-law to Mico Island. With the friendship of Winston Mann and his wife, their new home becomes a sanctuary. Until the dreams start.

Years ago the Manns' son mysteriously drowned. Winston thinks the woman who once lived in Annie's house caused his death. Except she's been dead for two hundred years.


Charlie and his mentally fragile grandmother sense a malevolent presence in the house. But they don't know how to fight back as Annie slowly becomes possessed.

Now Annie has discovered the door to the widow's walk and the house's dangerous past. A storm is brewing. Someone waits to finish what was started long ago. And Annie will keep a promise she never made.




 


Told by her husband that their home is being renovated, Annie Cameron boards a small boat with her autistic son and her husband's dementia-touched mother to be ferried to their temporary rental house on Mico Island. Her husband, however, does not come with them claiming to need to stay behind to oversee construction. 

It's a beautiful home that awaits them. Columns and picture windows grace the front of the house. A verandah encircles the entire house and on top, a widow's walk where the wife of a sailor could watch and wait for her sea bearing husband to return home. Yet, as neighbor and boatman Mr. Mann tells her, there's no door to the widow's walk. Annie's spirits are buoyed by the stunning house and she is determined to make the best of it — an adventure for them all.

There's something malevolent on the island though. Mr. Mann believes that the death of his son thirty years earlier was caused by the evil spirit of a woman who killed her own son and then burned herself to death. He does his best to keep this information from Annie, but strange things start to happen to her family. Charlie starts drawing ominous pictures. Grandmother, during lucid times, believes that she is seeing portents of what's to come. Annie starts hearing whispers and thoughts intrude that aren't her own. 

Widow's Walk has all the elements of a great supernatural read. A new start in a new town. An isolated location. A mysterious death. A possible haunting. A mysterious woman in black. Yet, something was off in the telling. It never made it past feeling generic. While I enjoyed the characters, especially Charlie and his link with Grandma, the supernatural never manifested itself in the way that I had hoped. While there were one or two occurrences that are worth noting, the most chilling part was that of a fuzzy green toy given to Charlie by his mother: Mr. Giggles. While there were certainly other paranormal things that declared themselves, that this is the most memorable speaks volumes. Those who don't typically dip their toes into horror will probably find Widow's Walk to be terrifying. This reader, however, didn't.