Let me start off by saying that I am a huge sucker for the horror genre, especially ghost stories and stories involving haunted houses. I just can’t get enough of them, even though the good ones scare me to the point where I can’t sleep for two weeks without being terrified something is going to get me while my eyes are closed (yes, I’m an adult). So when I came across this book through a book blitz that I participated in, I knew I had to read it.
On the cover of this book is the claim that it is inspired by a true story. When I see these words, especially on a book promising to deliver some sort of horrifying literary enjoyment, I’m not going to lie – I get excited. And after I read the book, I do what I always do – I research the thing or place the book is based on.
In this case, we have The Crescent Hotel, which is located in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Their website even boasts that the hotel is haunted, and they have nightly ghost tours. They even have a website for it, which can be found at http://www.americasmosthauntedhotel.com, in case you’re like me and want to check it out.
Back to the book…while it was a good read, and a pretty creepy story, I kind of thought it would be creepier than it was. The majority of the story takes place back when the hospital (that is now the Crescent Hotel) was in operation. The present day story, in which a young girl accompanies her mother to see her grandmother, who lives at the Crescent Hotel, is pretty much only the very beginning and the very end of the book. The first two chapters are kind of spooky, with some ghost sightings, but that’s really all we get for the ghost part of the story – the rest of it is just plain creepy because of the things they do at the hospital.
Clara, a pregnant, unwed teenager, goes to live with her uncle, who owns and operates the hospital. He agrees to let her stay there, have the baby, and raise it, inside the hospital. All he asks is that the helps out around the hospital and and takes up a few duties to earn her keep. While she is perfectly fine with that, the nurses (who seem to be quite strange) begin ordering Clara to administer “treatments” to the patients, which are said to help them and cure them of their cancer. The “treatment” is downright bizarre, and while I won’t go into detail, it’s something that might not be helping the patients as much as Clara’s uncle claims it is.
When patients, along with their belongings, start disappearing, is Clara to believe that these people have really gotten well and gone home, or is there something more going on?
I’m going to come right and say that for the most part, I really liked this book. I was hoping for a lot more of the “I will absolutely never sleep again after reading this!” kind of moments, because there really weren’t any (at least for me, but someone else might think differently!). Also, I think a few scenes could have been elaborated on a little more, to make the book a little bit longer (I was sad when it was over), and I would have loved to see some details about the actual hospital/hotel and the events that had occurred there (not really a deal breaker, since I could just look it up myself).
If you’re looking for a quick, somewhat creepy read, this could be a good one for you!