Starter House – Sonja Condit (Book Review)

starter house

I need to begin this review by admitting that I LOVE A GOOD GHOST STORY! Ghost stories are the oldest and best form of entertainment there is. Huddled around a campfire, hanging at a bar or ancient man in a cave; we told ghost stories. Right now, in the literary market, there are too few good ones to go around. What there are instead are far too many – teenage girl who is a sophomore in high school so she is so wise finds something odd in the old house and yes its a dead teenage boy and he’s soooooo cute and they find that love that is forbidden but soooooo romantic and….crap, crap, crap.
   The Starter House by Sonja Condit is an old school ghost story with a twist at the end that is as novel as it is groundbreaking. Sonja Condit did not just write another haunted house story, she wrote her own haunted house story. It is unique and refreshing in a stale genre.

“…Is there something wrong with the house?” Eric asked again. Lacey wished he wouldn’t. The house was obviously perfect. They could deal with anything-termites, mold, radon-but they could never make an ugly house their true home.
   “Yes,” Harry said to CarolAnna, “is there?”
   “CarolAnna licked her lips, then wiped her mouth with the back of her hand. She looked at the bathtub on the porch and said to it, “People died here.”
   “People die everywhere,” Lacey said, though the words gave her a shiver. Poor house no wonder it was lonely…”

   Eric and Lacey are a young couple beginning their lives together and starting a family. Lacey is pregnant and waiting to have their baby as Eric takes a job working in a law firm for his uncle. Money is very tight and that is something Eric is not used to. They find a home that Lacey loves and Eric thinks is a steal. It is their Starter House.
   Soon after moving in Lacey meets a troubled young boy. It is only in time that she realizes, no one else can see him. She begins to research the history of the boy and the house and finds out that more than one instance of death has been associated with her new home. And that there is something even more troubling about the deaths.

“…I’m pregnant, Lacey said. “Twenty-nine weeks.”
   “How’ve you kept it so long?” This question took Lacey’s breath away. Greeley went on, ” I did some research on the house after we moved. There hasn’t been a live baby born in that house since 1972. He doesn’t like babies.”
   Madison Grey had known the truth. It eats babies, she’d said. That meant Drew, when he was angry. Lacey saw Ella Dane’s room smashed. That could be her baby’s room, six months from now. Stuffed animals shredded, cardboard books exploded in confetti, slats of the crib driven like spears into the walls. The corner of a blue blanket showing under the overturned body of the crib-blue satin turning red. And silence…”

   Lacey begins to track down all the past residents of her home and one truth is shared by all. The young boy Lacey has met is haunting her house and will not share his new family with any other children. He wants Lacey to be his new mother.
   There is so much more to this novel than my brief synopsis will tell but to add more to it would be spoiling the enjoyment of reading Starter House and coming upon them yourselves. Condit starts the tale off slowly and builds and builds, carefully twisting and turning so that what you think is coming is not. What you think is happening is not until she reveals it all toward the end. Wonderfully crafted and a thoroughly enjoyable read.

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