The Doctor's Estate by Heather Quinto
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
"You can’t have the light without the dark."
Quinto's "The Doctor's Estate" was a thrilling read, a truly original story that will leave the reader pondering long after the final page. The main character, Ted, is devastated by his mother's dwindling illness of Alzheimer's disease. Unable to cope with her loss of memory and deteriorating health, he purchases a large estate in the hopes of building a perfect home for her. Despite of the incredibly lowered price and strange demeanour of the real estate agent, Ted purchases it and promptly renovates the house. Strange activities seemed to occur around him, especially when the sun sets and night floods over the entire household. What is causing the noises upstairs in the master bedroom? And why is Ted hearing sounds and strange visions when he tries to sleep? Is the house truly haunted, or is it all hallucinations? Ted believes it is all his imagination, but only time will tell whether he is able to come to grips with this horrifying reality.
I found this horror story to be an enjoyable read. The characters were all likeable, especially Ted's mother as she displayed common symptoms of Alzheimer's. My great-grandmother suffered with dementia, so it was difficult to read passages at some points, but I can say without a doubt Ted's reaction to his mother's fading health was perfectly normal. Given the fact that he is an atheist and does not believe in the supernatural gave this story a certain irony. I believe people in most cases would have left the house right away, but Ted was so adamant that it was stress and hallucinations from lack of sleep which amused me greatly. There were many times when I yelled at the book with "Get out of there!" or "What are you doing?!" only to find Ted stumbling along in the darkness to encounter more of the haunting necromancer's powers that still held a firm grip upon the household.
I enjoyed the deeply philosophical questions that this book brought about, especially in the final chapter. It does make you think about human suffering, and at what cost should we take to achieve our "life's mission." I believe the strange encounters in the house changed Ted, for better and for worse. "The Doctor's Estate" is recommended for readers that enjoyed horror novels with references to witchcraft or mystical powers that are beyond our realm. If you enjoy a good mystery, this might be a nice read in the late evenings as well. I look forward to reading more work by this author.
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