It Will Just Be Us by Jo Kaplan

Posted On 10 September 2020

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My Five Word TL:DR Review : Seriously, ‘in your face’ ghosts


If you like gothic ghost stories and you’re not easily distracted by somewhat flowery prose then It Will Just Be Us is the perfect book for you. Not going to lie – this one give me a little bit of the hebejebes at certain points in the book and if you like your ghost stories to be ‘real’ ghost stories as oppose to hints and shadows then look no further.

This is a story told by Sam Wakefield who has returned to her ancestral home after suffering a late night attack that left her scared to be alone. Wakefield House is a large sprawling mansion that sits on the edge of a swamp. It just sounds utterly delightful doesn’t it! This is a house with a long and troubled history, a history that slowly reveals itself through the snippets of the past that constantly play out in the rooms and corridors. Sam’s sister Elizabeth also returns to the home following matrimonial discord and Elizabeth brings a different and unsettling presence into the home in the form of her unborn child.

So, many years ago I had the strangest book that I was absolutely fascinated with. It was a book that tried to explain strange phenomena – such as spontaneous combustion and ghosts (amongst others). The reasoning behind ghost sightings was roughly along the lines of snatches of the past being captured almost in the same way that a photograph captures a moment. These images then replay again and again. I kind of like this notion I must admit, it gives ghosts a less intimidating aspect somehow if you believe them to be akin to replays rather than entities with their own free will and the ghosts of Wakefield House start out in much the same way – however, don’t be deceived – the ghosts here are about to be disturbed by a new presence and things are about to turn very ugly.

It Will Just Be Us may not be reinventing the wheel here, it has echoes of Hill House in the way that Wakefield House seems to have no rhyme or reason to the layout, it’s a confusing mess of rooms sprawling and almost seeming to change position giving it a confusing aura. It reminds me a little of We Have Always Lived in the Castle in the way that the Wakefield family stand removed from everyone else, the other people in town whisper about them and in fact their notoriety seems to know no bounds. And, it even gives me vibes of The Shining, what with the mother and Sam having the ‘sight’ and with the constant appearance of figures from the past going about their daily business as though they’re still alive. Yet, in spite of these similarities it stands on it’s own two feet very well and manages to conjure goose bumps on a rather frequent basis – all I’m going to say is ‘the faceless boy’ *shudders*.

I’m trying, as you may have guessed, to be elusive here and not give too much away. Basically, whilst this starts out in a very curious and yet apparently harmless style it quickly becomes evident that everything is going to go horribly wrong and pretty soon, any misgivings that I might have had about the writing style had simply fallen to one side, abandoned, as the plot sucked me in.

In terms of criticisms – like the audience at a Christmas pantomime, I seriously wanted to shout out at Sam sometimes. She seemed to make some screaming blunders that I couldn’t fathom out – but I guess that was intentional to show that she was panicking and not thinking straight. And, like I mentioned, this does have a very descriptive style which takes a little getting used to at first, but once the story pulls you in it feels incredibly appropriate somehow.

I have to say I had a good time with this, it give me the chills, my curiosity was piqued and I read it fairly quickly because I was always keen to read just one more chapter to find out what was going on next.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks. The above is my own opinion.

Rating 4 of 5 stars

Can’t Wait Wednesday : It Will Just Be Us by Jo Kaplan #wyrdandwonder #Gothic #Haunting


W&WIMAGE CREDITS: Flaming phoenix by Sujono Sujono | Decorative phoenix by Tanantachai Sirival

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that was originally created by Breaking the Spine.  Unfortunately Breaking the Spine are no longer hosting so I’m now linking my posts up to Wishful Endings Can’t Wait Wednesday. Don’t forget to stop over, link up and check out what books everyone else is waiting for.  If you want to take part, basically, every Wednesday, we highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  For the month of May I will be joining up this event with Wyrd and Wonder and highlighting fantasy books.  This week my book is : It Will Just Be Us by Jo Kaplan: gothic, haunting, – oh hell yes, sign me up, immediately.  Here’s the description:

ItwillbejustusSam Wakefield’s ancestral home, a decaying mansion built on the edge of a swamp, isn’t a place for children. Its labyrinthine halls, built by her mad ancestors, are filled with echoes of the past: ghosts and memories knotted together as one. In the presence of phantoms, it’s all Sam can do to disentangle past from present in her daily life. But when her pregnant sister Elizabeth moves in after a fight with her husband, something in the house shifts. Already navigating her tumultuous relationship with Elizabeth, Sam is even more unsettled by the appearance of a new ghost: a faceless boy who commits disturbing acts—threatening animals, terrorizing other children, and following Sam into the depths of the house wielding a knife. When it becomes clear the boy is connected to a locked, forgotten room, one which is never entered, Sam realizes this ghost is not like the others. This boy brings doom. As Elizabeth’s due date approaches, Sam must unravel the mysteries of Wakefield before her sister brings new life into a house marked by death. But as the faceless boy grows stronger, Sam will learn that some doors should stay closed—and some secrets are safer locked away forever.

Expected publication : August 2020Can't Wait Wednesday