The September House by Carissa Orlando | Horror Fiction Review

This is a great addition to your gothic fiction collection!

The September House by Carissa Orlando

Released September 2023

Source: Library Borrow

Goodreads | Amazon

A woman is determined to stay in her dream home even after it becomes a haunted nightmare in this compulsively readable, twisty, and layered debut novel.

When Margaret and her husband Hal bought the large Victorian house on Hawthorn Street—for sale at a surprisingly reasonable price—they couldn’t believe they finally had a home of their own. Then they discovered the hauntings. Every September, the walls drip blood. The ghosts of former inhabitants appear, and all of them are terrified of something that lurks in the basement. Most people would flee.

Margaret is not most people.

Margaret is staying. It’s her house. But after four years Hal can’t take it anymore, and he leaves abruptly. Now, he’s not returning calls, and their daughter Katherine—who knows nothing about the hauntings—arrives, intent on looking for her missing father. To make things worse, September has just begun, and with every attempt Margaret and Katherine make at finding Hal, the hauntings grow more harrowing, because there are some secrets the house needs to keep.

My 2 Cents for Free!

This is a great book with a modern-day gothic feel dealing with trauma, some icky moments and some incredibly difficult family dynamics.

Margaret and her husband Hal purchase their dream home and Margaret will do whatever is necessary to keep it. So what if the walls bleed every September? She can fix it. It even comes with a ghostly housekeeper! I mean, what’s not to love here? When the book begins September is nearing, action is ramping up in the house and chickenshit Hal seems to have run off while Margaret sticks it out on her own. Who needs Hal, anyway? I’m all in with Margaret on this one.

“I had grown practiced in dodging blood over the past few years.”

We spend a lot of time with Margaret in this book and she is a likable and amusing character. She’s so lackadaisical about the goings-on at the house that it’s nearly comical. But Margaret has her reasons for being this way and none of them are funny at all. When her grown daughter shows up poor Margaret is put to the test. She’s kept secrets from her daughter Katherine and will do whatever is necessary to keep them even if it wears her out.

Katherine sucks the humor from the story immediately. She is tenacious and rude and very unlikable. But she also has reasons for behaving the way she does. She’s a foil to Margaret’s somewhat blasĂ© nature and forces some terrible truths to come out into the open.

This book does a good job of tying everything together and goes a bit bonkers in the end but in the best way possible. I was totally resigned to thinking things were going to go a way I didn’t want them to and I was starting to feel very disappointed but then I was pleasantly surprised by how it all turned out.



  1. So glad to see you liked this one! It's on my TBR list...though I might not get to it until fall when I always am in the mood for a Gothic-type horror read. :D

    1. Fall would be the perfect time to read it. I hope you enjoy it.


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