This review is spoiler free!
Hailey Piper's 'The Possession of Natalie Glasgow' is a horror novella that brings a fresh and suspenseful take on the classic possession narrative.
The story follows Margaret Willow, an expert in the supernatural, as she is called in to deal with a special and truly dangerous eleven-year-old, Natalie Glasgow. With the family additionally torn due to the death of Natalie's father, Nathaniel, Margaret must unveil the family's past in order to save Natalie and appease the vengeful beast that lurks within her.
The strength of this novella lies not only in its hooking premise but also in its ability to build and maintain a strong suspense. This is particularly true during the opening scene where Piper presents Natalie's feral condition with an intense and disturbing atmosphere whilst also providing a thrilling introduction to the story and characters.
I also enjoyed and admired the arguably feminist themes within the narrative, particularly in regards to motherhood and the consequences of toxic masculinity as Natalie and her mother, Heather face not only a barrage of sexist and incompetent medical professionals but the fearsome and wild consequences of their father/husband's merciless actions.
My only criticism is that I wish I knew a bit more about Margaret and even Natalie herself as I feel as if would have been more invested if I had more background on these characters. However, given the context that this is a novella, this is very understandable. Regardless, the story is still filled with shocks, mystery and plenty to praise and enjoy. Definitely give it a read!
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CLAIRE L. SMITH is an Australian author, poet and filmmaker. Her debut gothic horror novella, HELENA is due for release via Clash Books in October 2020.