Harmony House by Nic Sheff

Synopsis: Jen Noonan’s father thinks a move to Harmony House is the key to salvation, but to everyone who has lived there before, it is a portal to pure horror.

After Jen’s alcoholic mother’s death, her father cracked. He dragged Jen to this dilapidated old manor on the shore of New Jersey to “start their new lives”—but Harmony House is more than just a creepy old estate. It’s got a chilling past—and the more Jen discovers its secrets, the more the house awakens. Strange visions follow Jen wherever she goes, and her father’s already-fragile sanity disintegrates before her eyes. As the forces in the house join together to terrorize Jen, she must find a way to escape the past she didn’t know was haunting her—and the mysterious and terrible power she didn’t realize she had.

Review: It’s been awhile since I had not read any novels classified as horror, so it was nice to discover this new book. However, despite the evocative summary, and an unhealthy atmosphere throughout the story, we aren’t in a real horror book.

It’s very hard to give an opinion about this story and I admit that I wondered for a moment how I would write it down. It’s not that it’s not a good novel, I enjoyed the writing of the author and the story is read very quickly but what bothers me more is about the plot. As I said, we found a completely oppressive and unhealthy atmosphere of the manor and its past, which is also reinforced by the visions that Jen is having. Through her, we see moments from the past featuring a little boy moving in a religious quite difficult environment and where his only friend is a young woman who is too gentle for the place. But then on top of that, we find our heroine, Jen, who after the death of her mother ends up having to move into an abandoned mansion. Many reviewers did not like the girl, saying that she was finally always angry but I didn’t have this feeling, this is a person who has gone through difficult events and who tries to recover as best as she can. It must be said that her father does not help either given his frenetic obsession with religion and prayers. I did not expect such a character and although I do not usually appreciate the religious connotation in books, here, it did not really bother me. What was more troublesome was the mostly continual obsession for prayers facing the most elementary things.

As for the rest of history, many points left me full of questions and it is true that it is quite difficult to understand all the events and indeed the whole story. Indeed, the girl wakes every morning up with many bruises on her body and I wondered if she was raped and when she gets pregnant and that nobody speaks about it, I could not help but think of a possible rape (by her father?) again. When two characters disappear into the house and that they come back changed, we can only wonder what happened to them without never have an answer. Her father becoming increasingly crazy is also a quite complicated fact. We understand that the house is for something or at least the secrets contained in it, but I think it is mainly the story of a man who sinks into madness and taking religion as the single point of salvation because of his past.

In short you will understand, this is a pretty strange feeling that we feel at the end of the story and I do not really know if I really understood the story. Besides, by talking with Kindlemom, I think I definitely did not understand it lol. In trying to compare my feelings and questions, I understood that she had seen other even more inconvenient things, and finally, all was much more complicated than I had expected.



27 thoughts on “Harmony House by Nic Sheff

  1. Thank goodness I skipped reading this! You, my GR buddies who’ve read this didn’t like it. Sorry this wasn’t a good book to spend your time on

  2. Goodness, this sounded really intriguing from the description, but the story sounds so confusing. I’m not sure if I would be able to make sense of the plot either, it just seems so strange. I like horror, but that kind of strangeness does not work so well for me.

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