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Tranquil Heights


Loved it! 😍

Creepy and riveting at the same time, Tranquil Heights is a little gem waiting to be discovered.

Sometimes a good horror is just what the doctor ordered, you know? I don’t read it that often anymore—blame the horror overdose back in my heydays—but when I do, it’s like tasting seasoned, uh, tea. (Yes, tea is superior to any other kind of beverage.)

Anyway, Tranquil Heights is the quintessence of a scary story: a curse that dates back generations; ghosts; a former asylum; a protagonist who wants to break said curse and save her unborn daughter. Katie is assisted in her quest by a generous dose of luck, a detail that wouldn’t be believable if the story was longer. As it is, it makes for an entertaining read, one I enjoyed a lot.

The plot itself is well-crafted, relying on tropes but giving them a unique spin. The asylum, which is now a private school, has been a lavish place when the events that led to Katie’s family being cursed unfolded, and there was no Nurse Ratched in sight. All the parties involved thought they were doing the right thing - hell, good intentions, and all that.

Speece goes for a double timeline in Tranquil Heights, following both Katie and Wilhelmina. It’s quite a feat to write about different timelines and tie them together so that they’d blend without a bump, coalescing in a single story. Well done. The cast of supporting characters is small—good!—and they all have clear, distinct voices. I prefer the 1935 one, because Beatrice, Alice, and Natalie stand out more than Katie’s family or Darla, but it’s a personal preference and nothing else.

Style-wise, Tranquil Heights is fast-paced and action-packed, while the story flows without a hitch. The editors who worked on it did a great job too: spotless grammar and an on-point plot, something that fills me with joy.

Last but not least, the cover. I’m not that taken by the color palette, but it’s a fitting one.

Reviewed by

I'm a reader, a writer, an editor, an alpha and a beta reader. I was born in Italy, but I dream in Icelandic. I've got opinions on books and I'm very bad at keeping them to myself.

About the author

Megan is a thriller author, horror buff, and dog person. She lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her husband and two dogs, and can be found spending her weekends at the beach, exploring everything Washington has to offer, or settling in with a good horror movie. view profile

Published on October 15, 2021

40000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Thriller & Suspense

Reviewed by