So, you must understand that it didn't happen for several years, my reliance on goodreads. I've been a member for a decade now but it wasn't until the last couple of years that I've begun to heavily rely on the reviews there. I'm not sure whether it's an accumulation of data over the last decade or whether I've just developed some particularly reliable goodreads friends. But when I'm wavering on a book, I'll check out the overall rating and then those from my friends. I already had this novel, bought while in London a couple years back, and knew I was going to read it, regardless. Halfway through I was enjoying it so much that I was surprised that on my next stop by goodreads to see such a low rating (though pleased to see that five of my friends have given it four or more stars).
This is one of those novels for which, had I been wavering and swayed by the general reviews, it would've been my loss. Ultimately, this debut set in Northern England can be considered horror. I can see where a reader might be frustrated by <SPOILER> the ending, which suffers from the element for which all horror I have read this far suffers from, which is that the events are never explained in any way but just happen and the reader is supposed to just accept it. <END OF SPOILER> It seems that this may simply be what happens in all horror for all I know and while I still don't like it, this one was the least irritating to me.
Such gorgeous writing. It's clear that Hurley is (or, more likely, is formerly) of the Catholic faith, and the way in which he writes of the tenants of the faith is affecting and amusing. I loved his insight on the religion and on the people who are a part of it and their reasons for remaining so. The environment, the interactions between the children and the interactions between the adults, the mysteriously creepy people at Coldbarrow - it was all just fascinating and atmospheric. I enjoyed this so much and have already ordered his newest.