Book Review: Falling Creatures by Katherine Stansfield


A historical crime fiction book set in Victorian Cornwall.

From the back cover:

Cornwall, 1844. On a lonely moorland farm not far from Jamaica Inn, farmhand Shilly finds love in the arms of Charlotte Dymond. But Charlotte has many secrets, possessing powers that cause both good and ill. When she’s found on the moor with her throat cut, Shilly is determined to find out who is responsible, and so is the stranger calling himself Mr Williams who asks for Shilly’s help. Mr Williams has secrets too, and Shilly is thrown into the bewildering new world of modern detection.

My Thoughts:

“1844. A brutal murder rocks Victorian Cornwall. In a place where the dead lie uneasy in their graves, to find a murderer a young woman must first learn who she can trust.”

That’s the passage on the front of the [arc] book and also my favourite passage of the entire book. Sadly, Falling Creatures was not the book I hoped it would be. I felt the plot and the writing style were rather simple; I feel the combination of both these simplicities prevented some of the themes coming through as strong as I’d have liked. For example, this novel does have a gothic atmosphere to it but for me, it lacked the eeriness that often accompanies such an atmosphere. The death of Charlotte Dymond was horrific, the idea of the Cornish Moors in 1844 being isolated, these are two things I believe could have been maximised to create a haunting reading experience. The elements of the supernatural were subtle, woven into this story, but again I would have liked this theme to have come through stronger, used to build on the already gothic atmosphere.

As you don’t learn much about any of the characters, I struggled to connect with any of them, they were all odd and peculiar, I had no one to pull me through the read. I believe the mysteriousness of the characters would have worked better if I felt a haunting aura surrounding the plot. My favourite character was likely Charlotte as she appeared the most mysterious, there was something appealing about her character that I’d have loved to explore more, but alas, she’s the one who was murdered.

I did like the short chapters as it allowed this to become a quick read and prevented the story becoming too slow in pace. The mystery lies in who murdered Charlotte and I can’t deny I wanted to know who the murderer was – it was that alone that kept me turning pages, but at the same time I would have been satisfied if someone had said to me ‘you don’t need to read anymore, XXXXXX killed her’.

I saw so much potential in this story and I feel like I know the desired effect this book was meant to have, the atmosphere it was meant to create, but sadly I didn’t feel it and it was so frustrating because I could see it there under the surface and I was waiting for it grab hold of me but sadly, I just couldn’t get into this one.

As reviews for this one are slowing emerging, I appear to be in the minority of those who would struggle to recommend this book so please do check out some other reviews before writing this book off.

This book is available to buy from: Amazon UK / Book Depository

*My thanks to Allison & Busby for providing me with a copy of this book*

9 thoughts on “Book Review: Falling Creatures by Katherine Stansfield

  1. I’m sorry to hear it didn’t use its full potential.. maybe it needed some more editing or another betaread then? You did explain very well the reasons this didn’t really work out for you, I can totally understand ! Still a great review!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great review, I also had one this week that didn’t turn out to be what I thought. Makes it harder to write a review but your assessment is fair and fully explains why it didn’t do it for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Excellent review – negative reviews can be so tricky, but your review is very fair in explaining why it didn’t work for you. Shame it didn’t get the gothic atmosphere, because the setting sounds perfect for that. Oh well, hope you enjoy your next read more! 🙂


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