Book Review : The Spiral By Charlotte E. Hart
The Spiral by Charlotte E. Hart tells the story of a character named Maddy, who has only one decision left to make after the final bruise—leave her abusive husband.
And she’s doing it. She’s finally free.
Her own home. Own life.
There’s no-one to answer to anymore.
But when her job as an antiques moderator leads her to the mysterious Blandenhyme estate and the intriguing Mr. Caldwell, that freedom begins to turn into an unconventional love lost in shadows and fog.
And as chilling voices whisper words to cloud her judgement, and dangerous liasons bring terror and dread to the fore, she finds herself struggling to survive Blandemhyne’s sinister misgivings regardless of its beauty.
They say the dead never sleep, that they stalk this earth until retribution is served.
That time has come.
A Sneak Peek Into “The Spiral”
Fifteen minutes I’ve been standing here looking out into the garden. Fifteen minutes digesting the last hour and trying to find another way for us, but there’s nothing left anymore.
I stare out into perfected grounds and manicured lawns. There should be nothing like the spring to remind me how life should be—warm, carefree, happy. The ground beneath me dry. The skies above me blue. But life isn’t carefree here; it isn’t happy, and nothing here is warm. This world I live in is dead. A lie. A jail, if truth be told. Nothing but fragmented dreams and shattered skin. That’s all there is now. Shattered skin.
Cradling my face and trying to find another rag to soak in ice, I eventually shuffle my way out to the garage, clinging to the wall as I go. It’s not that far from the house, and thankfully I can get to it from the back door, meaning I don’t have to go around the front. I’m not ready for that yet.
I’ve managed to cover it for years. Sometimes with foundation, other times with hats and scarves if its winter, but this time it’s so bad I know nothing’s going to mask the bruising when it comes. And summer is coming, anyway, that lovely time of year when everyone should be leaping about in close to nothing. Enjoying the sun on their skin and appreciating all that life is, perhaps getting in the pool at the bottom of this garden and having some fun, a barbeque even. That’s not going to happen this summer. Not that it’s happened for any other summer in the last two years with any plausible admittance of contentment.
The door creaks as I shove my weary frame against it and flick the light on, hoping it will help me see through the swelling that’s beginning to worsen on my left eye, but the fluorescent light is so bright it actually makes it harder to see rather than easier so I switch it off again and rest in the dark instead. Maybe I should just stay in here, lock the door and stay where he can’t get to me. I chuckle at myself as I turn to the freezer and pull on the handle. He’ll get to me anywhere, won’t he? Always has. Always will.
I tried getting away from him the second time it happened with any real brutality. I went to Callie’s house and told her he’d gone away to mull his actions over. I told her that he’d apologized and said it was just stress, that he didn’t mean it. She’d snorted and slapped my non bruised cheek immediately, a sharp reminder that once they hit, they always hit. Once they beat, they always beat. Once in fear, always in fear. She was right. I may not have believed her at the time, and I certainly didn’t listen to her when he came and picked me up to take us back home, but she was right.
I’ve been scared ever since.
“That’s all I’ve got. Which Prada or Gucci trousers to put on next. Any of the hundreds of pairs will do, I suppose. They’ll all cover the broken skin, or the scars left from the other beatings I’ve taken.”
Nothing’s changed. Maybe he was better for a while. He didn’t hit me, anyway. But the aggression’s always been there, lurking in his hands and waiting to come out. He wasn’t like this when we originally met. I couldn’t have asked for a better man than the Lewis I met in Paris as I placed my crepe order. He was kind, thoughtful, and extremely attractive with his relaxed sense of style. He paid for my crepe as I shyly smiled back, and then we sat by the Seine all afternoon and chuckled about anything and everything.
He was slightly older than me, but that didn’t matter. I was nineteen and in a French college studying French and biology. What did I care? He was nice, seemed happy enough and laughed all the time. We laughed all the time. And attentive, he was always so attentive. He’d pamper me with all sorts of things, taking me to high end shops and expensive restaurants. I guess I never questioned where it all came from. I just enjoyed it. I enjoyed him.
“I’ve never damaged anything. I’ve spent my life putting things back together, rebuilding them—my relationship, my face, my life. That’s what I do. I don’t destroy things or tear them to pieces. I mend things, keep them knitted together even if it is pretense.”
It wasn’t until about a month or so of dating that I found out about his family and their wealth. Fourth son of Phillipe Blisedy—France’s answer to the millionaire club. Bankers. Not that Lewis showed any interest in either the money or the industry. He seemed to not give a damn. He took me out after college, showed me all the sights he’d grown up with. He even got me into appreciating art and literature as he talked endlessly about sculpture and design, something I’d never been interested in before him. But the moment we moved to America, it all stopped. Everything changed after that job offer of his, the one his father made him take.
Life was never the same again.
The ice stings as I tentatively hold it over my eye and let my body sink down to the floor in exhaustion. One hour fighting for my life again. One hour trying to curl myself up as tightly as possible so he couldn’t get to my face. One hour just hoping that if he didn’t get to my face then at least I’d be able to leave the house and go to work. One hour I shouldn’t have bothered trying for. I should have just let him do it straight away. Stood there, opened my arms, and let him get the death punch in instantly. Taken it and let him have his ego helped on its way before his meeting.
Maybe I wouldn’t have the split skin on my calf from his shoe then, or the grip marks on my arms, or the hair ripped from my scalp. Instead, I’m a walking disaster again. One who’s going to have to cancel all my appointments and rearrange, tell the museums they will just have to look after themselves, and somehow put off the Blandenhyme deal for a while.
“Just because the bruising’s about left your skin doesn’t mean it’s gone from your mind, does it?”
I find myself staring into space as I dab at my eye continuously and gently feel for where my hair used to be, foolishly wishing the bruising away. This couldn’t have come at a worse time. Not that any time is a good time for being beaten, but one week before the biggest deal of my life isn’t great. If I wasn’t so furious with just that thought, I’d be crying I’m sure. I’d probably be screaming silently into this gloomy garage and asking ‘why me?’ constantly like I have done all the other times, but I’ve got no questions left anymore. No tears either. There’s just anger and frustration in me now. Hatred, if I’m honest.
I don’t love him anymore. I don’t like him anymore, and I can’t put up with his self-serving attitude anymore. In fact, I can’t remember one damn thing to make me want to stay anymore, regardless of the enormous attempt at a home we’ve built. It’s time to get on with the plan. Madeline’s plan. Money, most definitely, is not everything.
I still don’t know why he did it. I’ve asked a thousand times, pleaded for some semblance of apology in the aftermath of the event, but there’s never an answer, just the threat of another bruise and a sneer. So now I don’t care either. I’m done with this, with him. There’s nothing left for us.
I just need to leave.
3 Words to Sum Up This Book
ODD, CONFUSING, CHAOTIC
I have to admit, so far in 2020, I have been pretty proud of my reading progress. Despite it being slow, I have been slowly but surely peeling myself out of my comfort zone and started to venture into book genres that I would usually never touch, let alone spare a second glance at the book store.
The Spiral by Charlotte E. Hart, is one of those book genres. No offense to paranormal story fans out there, but your girl just aren’t too interested in reading paranormal novels, especially the one with romance in it. This is actually one of the few genres that I have been subtly avoiding for the past few years. But when I saw this book in my Goodreads timeline, I thought, why the flippin’ heck not. It’s 2020 anyways, and I have been on a mission to add more diversity to the books I read.
And that day, brought us all the way…here. Also, please be forewarned that there will be a lot of swear words, peppered with some spoilers throughout this review.
Hah. Where do we even begin.
So we have our main female protagonist, Maddy. Now this bitch has no backbone whatsoever. She has been married to a husband who hit, smack, spit, kick––you name it, he’s probably done it––at her for years. Yet she did nothing about it. Even on the very last day when she finally decided to leave her husband for good, she had the evidence to go the police office with proof of bruises all over her body from her husband. But of course, the dumb fuck decided not to do it, and chose the easy way out and just decided to hide in her new mansion that she bought to “get away from her all powerful and influential husband”.
After, Maddy met the mysterious and all intriguing Mr. Caldwell. Now, after the shit show that was her husband, I was ready for her to finally meet a man who will treat her right. But what do you know? Mr.Caldwell is crazier than her abusive ex.
“You should be careful with whatever thought you’re playing with, Ms. Cavannagh,” he whispers, brushing his mouth around my ear and sliding his hand across my stomach.
Why? Why should I? I’ve been a good girl most of my life.
I mean okay, at first Mr. Caldwell just seems like the kind of rich, loner guy who’s a little bit rough around the edges. But the longer these two are together, the crazier he gets. From saying that Maddy looks like his deceased wife, to wanting––pretty much forcing––for her to stay at his estate forever and play house while they fuck like bunnies and he find a way so that his late wife could take over Maddy’s body. Like the fuck?
I gotta say, he first half of the book kinda make sense. But the second half? Bitch, all hell broke loose. The only reason I managed to finish the book in the first place was really only because I was too confused to stop. It was like I pushed myself to keep reading, thinking that maybe I’ll be able to see that light at the end of the tunnel. There was none. The ending left me as confused––if not more.
EVERYBODY’S FUCKING CRAZY
I think the year 2020 is the year where I train myself to read about books where I don’t really care much for the characters. Because The Spiral isn’t the first book where I just couldn’t give a shit about the main female or male characters.
“Do you have guns here?” I ask.
“What?” he replies, his voice low and cautious.
“Guns, for killing people with?”
Maddy was bland and just plain sad a character. Again, she has no backbone whatsoever. She seems to be the kind of person who just go with the flow and see where that takes them. Heck, this girl was serious living in a haunted house for lord knows how long, having sex with a man who secretly wishes that his dead wife would eventually possess Maddy’s body, and managed to fall in love with him in the process. Trust me, I have read crazy-fucked-up books before, but this novel takes the cake. Even Stockholm syndrome isn’t this crazy.
And don’t get me fucking started with Mr. Caldwell. The man is just absolute bonkers. He was always slippin’ and slidin’ between gentle and rough––which Maddy likes, for reason I cannot wrap my head around. And if Jack Caldwell is not banging shit around and fuming in the mouth because of how angry he was, then all he wants to do is fuck and have sex while calling Maddy his dead wife’s name.
“I’m desperate to pull her into my embrace and fuck her until tomorrow comes.”
You know, the more I write this review, the more I wonder just how in the fucking hell did I manage to finish this book.
MR. CALDWELL’S WIFE
Saying that this lady is a bitch, is an understatement. I get that not all ghost is a good ghost, but this lady literally be playing games and driving everyone in that house crazy. From changing the weather, to locking the doors, she was encouraging Maddy to give up her body all along while trying to mess with Maddy’s and Jack’s mind.
At first, it wasn’t so bad as she would only appear for shorts amounts of time before disappearing again. But as the story proceeds, things would start to get crazier to the point where she would be able to communicate to Jack and Maddy.
I mean, I guess everything’s possible and believable when everyone in that house is half-insane?
IS THIS WHAT PARANORMAL IS?
I don’t know. I have no other books to compare it to because this is my first, and quite frankly, probably my last. After this experience of absolute bedlam and lunacy in 300 pages, anyone in their right mind would probably stave off picking another paranormal novel any time soon.
I get that paranormal genre means it’ll have ghosts in them and things that are unexplainable. However I don’t think having 50% of the book be absolute mayhem between crazy-lustful-sex and ghost knocking over shit and changing night to day is the way to go either.
Like. I don’t know. Honestly, the more I think of it, the more I wonder how in the fucking hell did I manage to finish this book without skipping or DNF-ing in the middle. Maybe your girl got a little crazy alongside the characters there too while reading The Spiral.
MORALS OF THE SPIRAL
Zero, zilch, zip, nada, nothing.
Not trying to brag, but your girl have read hundreds of books up to this point. For the most of it, I can always pull out a good life advice or two out of a novel. But I was at a loss with The Spiral.
“Why is everything always broken? Why can’t life be plain and ordinary like I wanted it to be?”
I have no idea what it was trying to tell the readers, even after I’m done with the book and let it sit and simmer for a week. What, love is forever? Manipulate someone if that means you can get to have your wife’s soul in their body? Abuse is okay?
Like, there is literally nothing good that the readers can take away from The Spiral.
Oh wait. I got it. Don’t fucking go into a stranger’s house all by yourself, unless you want to sacrifice your body so that his dead wife’s soul can take over.
Do not recommend. Unless you’re a fan of Charlotte E. Hart. Even then, I’d still think twice about reading this book.
There weren’t a lot of reviews on Goodreads about this book, but the reviews that was there were all positive. Which leads me to believe that Ms. Hart might have allegedly paid for those 4/5 star reviews. But what does a nobody like me know?
I still cannot understand how a publicist can read this novel and decided that this is worthy enough of a book to be published. Ah. Anyways, that’s the verdict. It’s a hard no from me. And for all the future Charlotte E. Hart’s books as well. I probably will never pick up any of her books anytime soon––if ever.
Life is too short to waste it on shitty books and not-so-good authors.