Title: The Haunting of Timber Manor
Author: F.E. Feeley Jr
Narrator: Tony Stone
Run Time: 7 hours and 27 minutes
At a Glance: Just like with a written book, with audio there will be a few errors to ignore, but there comes a point when the errors are so numerous or large that all you can think is, “This needed a good editor,” and unfortunately, this audiobook was in dire need of one. However, the reason I can say the audio of this book is not a total loss is that Stone’s voice work for Daniel and Hale is really good and the time and effort Stone took to fully maximize the eeriness inherent in Feeley’s words was exceptional.
Reviewed By: Jovan
Blurb: While recovering from the recent loss of his parents, Daniel Donnelly receives a phone call from his estranged aunt, who turns over control of the family fortune and estate, Timber Manor. Though his father seemed guarded about the past, Daniel’s need for family and curiosity compels him to visit.
Located in a secluded area of the Northwest, Timber Manor has grown silent over the years. Her halls sit empty, and a thin layer of dust adorns the sheet-covered furniture. When Daniel arrives to begin repairs, strange things happen. Nightmares haunt his dreams. Memories not his own disturb his waking hours. Alive with the tragedies of the past, Timber Manor threatens to tear Daniel apart.
Sheriff Hale Davis grew up working on the manor grounds. Seeing Daniel struggle, he vows to protect the young man who captured his heart, help him solve the mystery behind the haunting, and confront the past – not only to save Daniel’s life, but to save his family, whose very souls hang in the balance.
Review: The Haunting of Timber Manor is an enjoyable paranormal story and romance. As Daniel is trying to wade through his grief and shock at the sudden death of his parents in a boating accident, he sees an offer from his estranged aunt to come visit the family estate, Timber Manor, as a lifeline. Not only is it a way to connect with the only family he has left, it’s an opportunity to learn more about who his father was. However, instead of a calm respite, Daniel is soon confronted with tales of “freaky things”, terrible nightmares and pieces of a dark puzzle of madness, despair and evil.
Upon arriving, Daniel quickly connects to his Aunt Carol and the handsome sheriff, Hale. As the weeks go by and Hale and Daniel spend as much time together as possible, they fall into an easy friendship with the promise of more from their mutual attraction. As the events in the house morph from bad dreams to footsteps in the dark and definitive paranormal activity, Hale and Daniel’s relationship grows into love—a love that becomes integral to Daniel’s ability to survive the darkness growing within the house.
There were many things to like about the story. . . and a few things to dislike. Story-wise, there were some inconsistencies in the memories/history of events or character portrayals that made the story a bit jagged in places. Moreover, the fact that even when the paranormal activity becomes visible and prevalent, Daniel and Hale make no mention to Carol, who is a believer, until a big emotional scene. It felt a bit contrived for the sake of the plot, but as a ghost/horror-type story, the reader is prepared to give it a pass for it. However, I really liked the family history and background. I found the idea of the family being cursed not only by the inherent evil of a person but by their own bad choices, well done and engaging. Feeley does an excellent job creating a picture and ambience of the house and making it almost a sentient character in its own right. Moreover, he does a great job giving emotional weight to all the secondary characters and creating an increasingly tense and dread-filled atmosphere. Daniel and Hale were also very sweet as a couple, and I enjoyed how seriously Hale took forging an emotional connection to Daniel. Most of my issues came from the audio aspects of the book.
With audio, sometimes a narrator’s acting choices and delivery play a large role in enjoyment of the story. For the most part, Tony Stone does a good job. There are times when it is clear he hasn’t learned how to differentiate inner-monologue from dialogue, making it easy for a reader to get lost, and at the beginning, his voice for aunt Carol was more “Lady Macbeth playing for the rafters” rather than the genteel aristocrat he was going for, but he eventually managed. Additionally, just like with a written book, with audio there will be a few errors to ignore, but there comes a point when the errors are so numerous or large that all you can think is, “This needed a good editor,” and unfortunately, this audiobook was in dire need of one. You had minor errors that occurred with a high enough frequency to have a cumulative effect—from mispronunciations and incorrect character voices to repeated takes and inconsistent sound levels. Then you had large errors such as the fact that chapters 41 and 43 are repeated late in the story, when the action is beginning to come to a head, as chapters 52 and 54, wrecking the flow of the action along with being confusing.
However, the reason I can say the audio of this book is not a total loss is that Stone’s voice work for Daniel and Hale is really good and the time and effort Stone took to fully maximize the eeriness inherent in Feeley’s words was exceptional. Scenes and dialogue that are creepy on their own are chillingly well acted and incorporated with sound effects for a realistic, immersive feel. So, depending on what you want from a story or how you like to consume books, this audio version may or may not work for you.
You can buy The Haunting of Timber Manor here:
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