Daily Review: Church Mouse: Memoir of a Vampire Servant by R. H. Hale
June 9, 2018
Rona never imagined her old church housed a terrible secret until immortal eyes flickered from the dark and a mutilated manservant fell at her feet.
Coerced into replacing him as ‘watchdog’ for the undead, Rona must discover her own dark side in order to survive.
By Family of Avid Readers
This book is amazing. I will not spoil anything here. It’s elegantly written and beautifully crafted in a traditional horror style. I am a fan of books with lots of action, but this tale unfolds slowly and methodically.
The story and prose are so wonderfully crafted and mesmerizing that I found myself unable to put it down. The protagonist, Rona (I wouldn’t call her a heroine), develops with every page turn and I didn’t understand why the book was written in two ‘parts’ until you arrive at the split. The antagonists, the main of which is Serge (again, I will not call them villains), are written in that you can both despise and care for them.
The true beauty of this book lies in the evolution of the relationship between Rona and her masters. I felt like I was reading the Silence of the Lambs with Hannibal Lector having fangs to accompanying his appetite and brilliant mind.
I fear that to say any more would take away from the readers’ enjoyment other than to hypothesize that each one will ask themselves what they would do in that same situation. I hope to see much more from Miss Hale…and I’ll be avoiding the dark streets at night for a while.
By C. W. Hawes
Church Mouse” by RH Hale is more than just a vampire tale, although it is that. It is a story of survival and to what lengths we will go to survive. At base, this is a very human story — in a world where we don’t realize how insignificant we really are. We’re just something’s next meal.
RH Hale has given us a literary novel of philosophy and deep characterization. A gothic novel of darkness, and unrelenting suspense. A tale of terror that brings back the vampire in all his and her elegant, aristocratic, and terrifying grandeur.
Not since Rice’s Interview with the Vampire has a vampire novel gripped me as this one has. And Hale’s Church Mouse is, to my mind, far more intense than Rice’s tale because it’s told from the human servant’s perspective. There are no sparkles here. There is only the terrifyingly wily, cunning, and seductive predator looking for his or her next meal.
The evolving characters are of incredible depth, I think one has to read a novel by Kazuo Ishiguro to find a comparison. Of course, we see the deepest development in Rona, the main character and the servant. But the antagonist, Serge, who we see through Rona’s eyes, is analyzed at length by the servant who serves him. And at times her understanding is, well, naive. The minor characters also have depth, which is one of the reasons why the novel is so very powerful. We are seeing “real” people.
RH Hale’s writing is magnificent. Through Rona’s eyes, we are there. I’m not partial to lengthy description, yet Hale makes those descriptions of things vital to the story. I found myself not even tempted to skim. The description wasn’t padding. It was essential to the story. Essential to giving us a gothic atmosphere in the 21st century.
Church Mouse is a must read. It needs to be on one of those lists of books you have to read before you die. And if these things are real, that may be sooner than you think.
Please click HERE to find Church Mouse on Amazon.