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Belle Vue C S Alleyne Main

"Belle Vue" Book Review

Written by Tracy Robinson

Published by Crystal Lake Publishing

belle vue c s alleyne poster large

Written by C.S. Alleyne
2020, 320 pages, Fiction
Released on August 5th, 2020

Review:

History student Alex loves the fact that his girlfriend chooses to move into an apartment in a renovated Victorian asylum. The synopsis sounds amazing, promising intrigue, history, murder, and a dual timeline. Add in the fact that it is centered on a repurposed insane asylum, and Belle Vue has all the makings of a great horror read.

C.S. Alleyne does a decent job with setting and atmosphere. Belle Vue is suitably creepy. The building itself puts the reader in mind of the Danvers State Hospital in Massachusetts with its central building and subsequent wings ala the Kirkbride model. The opening scene leaves readers with no doubts about the sinister happenings and includes a rather brutal sexual assault of a patient. It borders on the line of too much for this reader, but I do understand why it is included and most of the physicality is “off screen”.

Unfortunately, there are quite a few things that serve to interrupt the suspension of disbelief and the book just misses the mark. The rape/sexual assault and other issues of consent continue throughout. This is not something that puts me off of a book on its own, but it just feels unnecessary at times. I began skimming through most of these and didn’t lose the plot at all.

The writing itself is okay; there is some fairly liberal use of similes and adverbs, but these can be overlooked for the sake of story. It is hard to put this into words because I needed MORE, but also wanted tighter prose and less telling. The characters, however, just feel flat. Alex and Claire had the potential to be fan favorites. Alex is this nerdy guy with a penchant for dark history and Claire made me want to protect her. By the end, I just didn’t care what happened to them. With no one to really root for, I craved a great villain and there just isn’t one. I love to hate characters if they deserve it and are written well – this doesn’t happen here.

The author has a good story here. Great setting and an obvious love for history shine through. This is lost amidst all the other things I mentioned earlier. I see other reviews from people who really loved this book and are excited for the next in the series. If you dig books about insane asylums and history, check this one out. Reading is such a subjective experience; while this book wasn’t for me, it may be just the thing you’re looking for.

Grades:

Overall: 2.5 Star Rating Cover
Buy from Amazon US.
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Buy from Bookshop.

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