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The mad head of the house was rotting, and night was dragging her wings across the moon, tracing filigree on the floors. In the attic, more black moths were dancing because it was cold, because it was dark. Because they were hungry. For the butterfly” – Crimson Peak, Nancy Holder

First Impressions: I wasn’t sure what to expect before I read the book. When I watched the movie Crimson Peak, I found that it was lacking in plot and character development. The only redeeming feature was Tom Hiddleston’s portrayal of Sir Thomas Sharpe, and the overall gothic atmosphere of the film.


Plot Summary

Crimson Peak is a horror gothic love story set in the late 1880s. Edith Cushing is an aspiring novelist who is not taken seriously. When mysterious stranger Sir Thomas Sharpe arrives in town, she is suddenly swept off her feet where she is taken to Allerdale Hall, a crumbling mansion sinking into crimson clay. Though just as Edith begins her new married life, she becomes haunted by sinister ghosts and terrifying secrets of the past.

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About the book

Title: Crimson Peak

Author: Nancy Holder

Series: N/A

Pages: 352

Year Published: 2015

Genres: Gothic romance, horror, adaptation, movie novelization


The Review


Most of the time, movie novelizations aren’t that great. They are usually flat and lacking the magic of their original cinematic format. The reason why so many film to book adaptations fail is the lack of a backstory. If the author can only tell the story they see on screen, they will find their book is substantially lacking depth. When it comes to cinema, less is more. When writing a novel, you must be conscious not only of the scenery around the characters, but also how the characters feel without giving too much away. There is a continual balance between revealing too much and revealing too little.

The movie novelization of Crimson Peak is one of the best movie novelizations that I have ever seen. However, I would not go as far to say that this is one of the best books of all time. Rather I would say that it is good for what it is. For those who spend most of the movie cowering in fear and look away for most of the movie, the movie novelization will fill you in on what you missed. In other words, if you are like me, you will find the book very useful.

I found that all the characters weren’t given a lot of depth. They were all given more backstory than what was presented in the film, however, they all come off as two dimensional representations of their movie incarnations. Sir Thomas Sharpe, who is played by the alluring Tom Hiddleston in the film, cannot pull off the same amount of charm in the books. I found myself very disappointed in that respect.

The writing style is probably the most redeemable feature of the book. The book is extremely well-written, which comes off as a surprise. However, when the prose of a book is well-written, and yet the characters do not leap off the page and into your imagination, there is a problem. Unfortunately, for a book to be enticing, it has to have the whole package.

If you are looking for a very quick paranormal ghost story read, then this is probably the book for you. Of course, since there is a movie out there, I would suggest to watch the movie before reading the book. I wrote a review of the movie nearly a year ago which you can read here.


Final rating: C (it was okay)


Until next time,