Title: The Women in the Walls
Author: Amy Lukavics
Lucy Acosta’s mother died when she was three. Growing up in a Victorian mansion in the middle of the woods with her cold, distant father, she explored the dark hallways of the estate with her cousin, Margaret. They’re inseparable—a family.
When her aunt Penelope, the only mother she’s ever known, tragically disappears while walking in the woods surrounding their estate, Lucy finds herself devastated and alone. Margaret has been spending a lot of time in the attic. She claims she can hear her dead mother’s voice whispering from the walls. Emotionally shut out by her father, Lucy watches helplessly as her cousin’s sanity slowly unravels. But when she begins hearing voices herself, Lucy finds herself confronting an ancient and deadly legacy that has marked the women in her family for generations.
I first came across Amy Lukavics’ work when I picked up her novel, Daughter’s Unto Devils. That novel originally drew me in because it was marketed as “Stephen King writing Little House on the Prairie”, and that concept couldn’t have been a more perfect fit for me. However, that novel fell short in many ways, and I am sad to say that The Women in the Walls did exactly the same thing.
Lukavics comes up with some great ideas for horror novels, but her writing is dull and unimaginative. Even though her novels are generally short, they take me a long time to get through because they simply do not catch my attention. It is obvious to me that Lukavics tried to stay as mild as possible since her novels are in the young adult genre, but with such young adult horror novels out as The Merciless, it should be known by now that young adult horror novels do not need to be dumbed down. In short, this novel might be a good novel for young adults who are new to the horror genre and want something mild to start out, but for seasoned horror fans, it is not very remarkable.
With that being said, let me begin my analysis.
The main character in The Women in the Walls is a young girl named Lucy whose mother has died, and she now lives in a house with her father, aunt, and cousin. She ended up being closer to her aunt than her own mother, and her cousin has problems with her because of this. It is through this relationship and the presence of the large house that seems to encase secrets and dark events that I found Lukavics was clearly drawing from V.C. Andrews’, My Sweet Audrina. Lucy even has the same strained relationship with her father that Audrina had with hers, but the only difference is that Lucy is a cutter and deals with her family in that way. But where Andrews’ Audrina was mysterious and mystical, Lucy ends up being self-centered and dull while she watches multiple deaths occur in her house and she does nothing to try and stop it.
I don’t want to give too much away here, but throughout the novel, we follow Lucy as she thinks about things endlessly and tirelessly repeats herself over and over as she tries to understand what is going on around her. While those around her are slowly falling into madness, she seems to be going mad herself, but the intrigue of this concept is not present in the novel. Instead, the writing becomes strained and unsure of itself as though Lukavics were trying to write a story that someone else told her to write. Even though this novel does present a lot of death and gore, the scare factor isn’t present. And I don’t know about you, but I would choose the scare factor over gore any day of the week.
Even though the premise of this story is intriguing, Lukavics’ language was unremarkable, her characters were flat. Her loose ends were also not woven into the story properly by the end. In my opinion, this novel reads like an unfinished piece of work that is trying to be a V.C. Andrews novel, and if only it were re-examined and re-structured, it would have more of a chance.
Keep improving Amy, I have faith in you.
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