3 out of 4 stars
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Affinity’s Window by Douglas Wilson is a ghost story that fits into the horror genre. A normal child by most standards, Affinity Bell is introduced as a weary ghost, roaming around her family home, Bell Manor, as she is forced to relive the same day over and over. Her only friend, a straw haired, button eyed doll helps her maneuver the halls of her domain while also protecting her from the terrible creatures that plague her house. One day, Tanner Dann (Danny), a writer aspiring to pen a grandiose tell-all about ghosts, and his hired clairvoyant, Linda Cookmeyer, enter Bell Manor hoping to uncover the truth about Affinity Bell and her sudden disappearance years ago. However, Danny has a few secrets of his own and may be more closely linked to Bell Manor than he knows.
The characters in this book are well drawn and add to the overall story. The author does a great job making Affinity a creepily believable seven-year-old ghost. Throughout the story, there are a lot of questions surrounding Affinity’s character, and the development of her family’s peculiar past adds to the fear factor associated with Affinity’s ghost. Likewise, the clairvoyant Linda, and her even more powerful daughter, Claire, have a well-developed and complex relationship. The intimate knowledge provided about each woman’s feelings toward the other aided the believability of certain aspects of the plot. Altogether, the character development was one of the most enjoyable aspects of the story.
Affinity’s Window started off on a strong note, a clear tone of suspense and fear exuding off the pages. Unfortunately, the second half of the story lost much of that tone and began to feel obvious or contrived. Danny’s connection to Bell Manor became rather apparent about halfway through the novel, causing the climax to fall flat. Similarly, loose ends are tied up nicely, but too nicely for this type of book. Much of the fear and suspense in horror comes from the unknown. The explanations provided for events past and present took away from the overall fear factor in this story.
Lastly, though well-written, Affinity’s Window could use another round of editing. Misspelled words, like ‘cob web’ instead of ‘cobweb’ and ‘bond fire’ in place of ‘bonfire,’ and awkward phrases like ‘standing in her bedroom door’ (one cannot stand in a door, but they can stand in a ‘doorway’), though not overly distracting, make it clear that this book needs additional work.
There is a lot to like about this book, and this book will be a fun read for those who like ghost stories with a mild fear factor. However, the lack of fear and suspense towards the later part of the story and the editorial mishaps lead me to rate Affinity’s Window 3 out of 4 stars. There is definite foreshadowing for a companion book, and although there were some detractors in this novel, I will consider reading the sequel when it comes out.
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