📚3📚 Charlotte Says by Alex Bell

Let’s play a game…

What fun it is to be monstrous?

Tormented by memories of the fire that destroyed her home, Jemima flees to the remote Isle of Skye. But her role as assistant mistress at Dunvegan School for Girls is far from the fresh start she so desperately needs.

Then Jemima receives a box of dolls from a mystery sender. And so the games begin…

I got this book in a set from ‘Books2Door’, it’s part of a collection of books from different authors. I decided to read this book first because it sounded the most interesting and mysterious.

This is difficult for me to answer because of how the book made me feel and what emotions were strongest while reading. You’ll see below that I have tried to explain this to the best of my ability. On some level I did enjoy the book, I read it after all. It did chill me, and it did creepy me out. I made me think and it brought up memories I’d forgotten. BUT, at the heart of it all, it was a very good story. It was well written with a range of characters that were easy to identify and understand. This gave me similar feelings to what I felt when I read ‘The Corset’ by Laura Purcell in 2019, except the feelings were more powerful and the adrenaline more intense.

I have done nothing other than sleep for 3 days as I was overcome by the most intense vision migraine and it compromised me a lot. Coming out of that haze, this was the book I chose to finish reading first. I thought it would be something that was easy to finish and I knew that I was already gripped by the part I had read.

I suppose that the enjoyment of reading this book will depend on whether your mind is open to the possibilities discussed within. It’s almost psychological in a sense, the belief that the characters go through, and the actions committed, it takes an open mind to be able to realise them and imagine them while reading.

Quite often when I read books, my heart starts pumping with adrenaline. Usually, I look forward to this because I see it as a sign of a good book, of a good story that had transported me into another world, another time, and taken the place of reality for a while. However, there is another side to that adrenaline, and that is what I know was the sick, haunted adrenaline. I don’t often encounter it when reading, and when I do, it’s usually from a book I don’t end up finishing. I did manage to get to the end of this book, more out of a desire of curiosity rather than a determination to find the truth. The story freaked me out. I’m not ashamed to admit that. It was creepy and it got under my skin and it made me feel like I’d watched a horror film I couldn’t escape from. The weather is horrible today, the winds are howling, and my internet has been knocked out. Luckily, I still have my power on, but the set up of the day didn’t let its hand to this story. I think it made the journey of reading it more significant. Like reading Frankenstein in the middle of a thunderstorm with a power cut.

I’m not sure if I could honestly pinpoint what exactly I found so unsettling while reading this. As I mention below, I’m used to reading thriller crime books, which can be notoriously thought provoking, gruesome and bloody. I think, when it comes to the paranormal, there is always that thought in the back of our minds that wonders ‘what if?’ That irritating human nature of wanting to believe in that which isn’t real. It somehow makes paranormal books feel more real than reading a gritty crime novel. Obviously, this is just my interpretation of it, but it is the only thought I can think of that makes sense in my brain.

This book is a prequel to another entitled ‘Frozen Charlotte’, but I think I’ll be returning to a more traditional thriller book before I dive back into the creepy nature of this theme.

[x]

When I was little, I thought that my toys were real and could talk to each other. To this day, I still think my childhood toys are alive (to some extent) and I know this is part of my OCD and completely illogical, and yet I still find myself talking to old sentimental toys and making sure that they’re all happy. I used to have a dollhouse that my Grandfather made, it was an elaborate and wonderful building with three floors and a blue front. All the rooms were individually decorated, and I remember being overwhelmingly delighted at getting it. The dolls however, always scared me. I have never had a good relationship with dollhouse dolls or china dolls. I think because they remind me too much of mannequins – of which I have an extensive phobia of. So, the dolls for the dollhouse mostly remained in a closed drawer where I could not see them. I remember being specifically afraid of the father of the doll family and of one of the children.

In all honesty, this book was far creepier than I had expected and brought up a lot of repressed feelings from my own childhood dollhouse. I love Alex Bell as a writer, the Polar Bear Explorer Club series is a favourite of mind and I wasn’t actually aware that she had written other books, or that those books were so different from the chilling aspect found here.

This book plays of many mysterious factors and it was very easy to get drawn up in the frensy of the story. I’m used to reading thriller crime books and I’m very comfortable in that genre, but this book freaked me out more than reading about a gruesome serial killer. I think because, it plays on aspects that feed into desires held by children, paranoia and paranormal, all of which, at some point or another, humans have wanted to believe real.

As the blurb says, read this book if you want to let the games begin…

I give this book: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

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