**** Cruel Journey Toward Absolution Review by Rox Burkey
Author Roberta Eaton Cheadle creates a connected story of two periods of time a hundred years apart. The character, Michelle, finds herself the conduit for the ghosts of Pieter, Robert, and Estelle. This character evolves offering love and understanding to her husband, Tom. In the beginning the dinner party this couple hosts for friends ends in confused uproar when they decide to play with the Ouija board.
I liked the action and drama as that scene came to life early in the story. The author portrayed the intensity of the situation along with awareness and fear of the ghosts who shared their new home.
“Did you feel that?” Michelle jerks hard, trying to pull her fingers away, but they seem glued to the planchette. Sue’s shoulders move backwards, as if she’s pulling strenuously. Her fingers don’t detach from the planchette. The air is oppressive and humid. It settles like thick sludge as Michelle draws it sharply into her lungs. Alice’s eyes are huge and frightened.
The planchette spurts forward. H-E-L-P––M-E, it writes in hard, slashing letters and then stops, flipping onto its side.
Yanking her hands away quickly, Sue’s eyes are large and shocked inside dark holes. Her make-up stands out harshly on her pale and waxen skin. Touching each of her fingers lightly, as if to check nothing has adhered to them, she lets out a slow, shaky breath.
Alice is gazing at the Ouija board, as if hypnotised.
BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG!”
During the Second Anglo Boer war in South Africa the ghosts, Pieter and Robert served on different sides. Their relationship to the home of Michelle and Tom is layered into the story. The regrets each man has with some life choices causes them to not find lasting peace in death. Estelle, Pieter’s daughter, shuffled around as a child becomes a poltergeist due to her life experiences. Her anger and bitterness against a stepmother, stepsisters, and even her father who, from her perspective, deserted her.
Tom’s horrific acts of violence before he married Michelle becomes a focal point of Estelle’s anger and targeted aggression. Haunting his dreams, then causing him injury is driven by her hate. Michelle seeks to help the ghosts and forgive her husband as the story unfolds.
The historical references are interesting and detailed. Roberta does a good job of layering the connections across the 100 years. The twists and turns include the horror of war, journey seeking absolution, and unexpected conclusion.
I recommend this story for those who like well-researched history told from an entertaining view. Ghosts provide a point of view that makes this tale entertaining as well as informative. Author Cheadle’s writing is typically fascinating, and this fiction doesn’t disappoint.
About the Author
Hello, my name is Robbie, short for Roberta. I am an author with seven published children’s picture books in the Sir Chocolate books series for children aged 2 to 9 years old (co-authored with my son, Michael Cheadle), one published middle grade book in the Silly Willy series and one published preteen/young adult fictionalised biography about my mother’s life as a young girl growing up in an English town in Suffolk during World War II called While the Bombs Fell (co-authored with my mother, Elsie Hancy Eaton).
All of my children’s book are written under Robbie Cheadle and are published by TSL Publications. I have recently branched into adult and young adult horror and supernatural writing and, in order to clearly differential my children’s books from my adult writing, I plan to publish these books under Roberta Eaton Cheadle.
My first supernatural book published in that name, Through the Nethergate, is now available. I have participated in a number of anthologies: Two short stories in Spirits of the West, a paranormal anthology with a frontier and Western focus, edited by Kaye Lynne Booth; Two short stories in Spellbound, an anthologies of horror stories with a twisted fairy tales focus, edited by USA Today bestselling author, Dan Alatorre; Two short stories in Whispers of the Past, an anthology of paranormal stories, edited by Kaye Lynne Booth; Three short stories in #1 Amazon bestselling anthology, Nightmareland, a collection of horror stories edited by USA Today bestselling author, Dan Alatorre; Three short stories in Death Among Us, an anthology of murder mystery stories, edited by Stephen Bentley; and Two short stories in #1 Amazon bestselling anthology, Dark Visions, a collection of horror stories edited by USA Today bestselling author, Dan Alatorre. And have a book of poetry called Open a new door, with fellow South African poet, Kim Blades.
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Through the Nethergate
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Open a new door