The Honours doesn’t really fit into any categories. It’s a bit Lovecraft, a bit English folk horror, a bit school girl adventure. In fact the author has provided a tongue in cheek approved list of genres.
Set in the 1930s in a stately home in the east of England, Delphine, the 13 year old protagonist, has joined her parents living in some kind of commune. She is lonely, ignored and desperately trying to help her father who is suffering from PTSD since WW1. Delphine discovers tunnels under the house and overhears all kinds of things that make no sense to her. There are inexplicable & terrifying “things” living in the woods and whispers of a coming war but only the game keeper shares Delphine’s concerns.
Delphine herself is great: fierce, always brave despite her terror, intelligent, resourceful, but desperately lonely. She’s also a crack shot with any antique firearm she can get her hands on.
The fact that Tim Clare is a poet is apparent from his beautiful use of language throughout. I found myself totally immersed in the world he creates.
I really want to write more about this book but describing why it’s so brilliant would necessitate spoilers.
Please just read it.