Little Eve

Little Eve

Eve and Dinah are everything to one another, never parted day or night. They are raised among the Children, a community of strays and orphans ruled by a mysterious figure they call Uncle. All they know is the grey Isle of Altnaharra which sits in the black sea off the wildest coast of Scotland. Eve loves the free, savage life of the Isle and longs to inherit Uncle's power....

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Title:Little Eve
Author:Catriona Ward
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Edition Language:English

Little Eve Reviews

  • Victoria (Eve's Alexandria)

    Another absolutely brilliant novel from Catriona Ward. I wouldn’t call it either horror or crime, although it’s a little of both. Like Rawblood it’s about what happens to the mind when it’s placed under impossible strain; in this case, when it’s exposed to currents of torment, abuse, love and religious mania. The story of the island of Altnaharra, ‘Uncle’ and the four children he raises there is both horrific and beautiful in equal measure. The writing is gorgeous: measured, poetic, compassionat

    Another absolutely brilliant novel from Catriona Ward. I wouldn’t call it either horror or crime, although it’s a little of both. Like Rawblood it’s about what happens to the mind when it’s placed under impossible strain; in this case, when it’s exposed to currents of torment, abuse, love and religious mania. The story of the island of Altnaharra, ‘Uncle’ and the four children he raises there is both horrific and beautiful in equal measure. The writing is gorgeous: measured, poetic, compassionate. What I admire most about Ward is the way she can find the moments of tenderness and grace even in the very worst circumstances. And what a character she’s made in Christopher Black! One of the best books I’ll read this year I’m sure.

  • Arielle Walker

    This one is the pure definition of a slow burner - and so,

    worth that first effort.

    I probably read those first few pages five times over twice as many days, never progressing past the same lines (Dinah writes a letter, father's room lies empty, books wait unread, visit butcher's shop, rinse and repeat)

    It took a weekend away with no other unread books around to push past those pages into the most unsettling read I've found in a long time. Eerie creepy dark and twistytwist

    This one is the pure definition of a slow burner - and so,

    worth that first effort.

    I probably read those first few pages five times over twice as many days, never progressing past the same lines (Dinah writes a letter, father's room lies empty, books wait unread, visit butcher's shop, rinse and repeat)

    It took a weekend away with no other unread books around to push past those pages into the most unsettling read I've found in a long time. Eerie creepy dark and twistytwistytwisty - you can't trust anyone or anything here and it's pretty damn near perfect.

    A slinking shadowed beauty of a thing, it'll haunt me for a good while yet

    (and on that note: when can I read more of this author please, I don't think I could wait till winter when the chill will hit a little too close to home)

  • Ed McDonald

    I have never felt the need to use the word "masterwork" to describe a book before. But I use it now.

    You don't know what this book is when you start it. Whatever you've heard, or think it might be, I can tell you that it's not that. I don't quite know how to quantify exactly what it is. It's not supernatural horror. It's not literary fiction. It's something kind of between the two and neither, taking all of the best of those genres and somehow creating something else. It feels unique

    I have never felt the need to use the word "masterwork" to describe a book before. But I use it now.

    You don't know what this book is when you start it. Whatever you've heard, or think it might be, I can tell you that it's not that. I don't quite know how to quantify exactly what it is. It's not supernatural horror. It's not literary fiction. It's something kind of between the two and neither, taking all of the best of those genres and somehow creating something else. It feels unique in that regard.

    Ward's prose are melting. Absorbing. Beautiful without being intrusive. Engrossing without being pretentious. Whilst her first novel, Rawblood, is a triumph, Little Eve soars into the sky like a rocket. If other books are planes, then Little Eve is a space shuttle.

    Every character is fully realised, a living creature within the pages. One knows them, feels them, shares their thoughts and fears and dreams. It's hard to explain without spoiling, but as confusing and self deceiving and full of fear as these characters are, it takes only the turn of a word for the full understanding of them to fill you. It's all laid out, so clearly, so gently, that when the twists start coming it's like a window has been flung open, the glass no longer clouded, and you understand what was beyond it all the time. Your eyes were open, but you don't see until you're shown. Actually, there was one twist that I did manage to guess, but it was more based on having read Rawblood and expecting twists than because anything led me towards it.

    Sensational.

  • Blair

    After loving her memorable debut

    particularly the hallucinatory brilliance of its climactic chapters, I knew I would want to read whatever Catriona Ward wrote next. That turns out to be

    a gothic tale of two girls' lives within an isolated cult. It begins in 1921 with a scene in which Jamie, a butcher in the small town of Loyal, takes a delivery to the Castle of Altnaharra, reached from the Scottish mainland by a causeway which the sea swallows at high tide. The gate is open, and Jamie v

    After loving her memorable debut

    particularly the hallucinatory brilliance of its climactic chapters, I knew I would want to read whatever Catriona Ward wrote next. That turns out to be

    a gothic tale of two girls' lives within an isolated cult. It begins in 1921 with a scene in which Jamie, a butcher in the small town of Loyal, takes a delivery to the Castle of Altnaharra, reached from the Scottish mainland by a causeway which the sea swallows at high tide. The gate is open, and Jamie ventures inside to find a horrific scene: four corpses – each with an eye cut out – and a girl barely alive. This survivor is Dinah. From there, the story flips back and forth between 1917 and 1921 to reveal how this gory sacrifice came about, honing in on the conflicting accounts of Dinah and Evelyn.

    Evelyn and Dinah grow up in the castle. Led by John, aka 'Uncle', the group on Altnaharra also includes two women, Alice and Nora, and two more orphan children, Abel and Elizabeth. Knowing no better, the children subscribe to the dubious religion peddled by Uncle: worshipping snakes, performing the ritual known as 'benison', regarding outsiders as 'impure'. Yet you may come to wonder whether these beliefs are quite as ridiculous as they seem. In particular, Evelyn's accounts of inexplicable visions make it difficult to entirely discount the possibility of some otherworldly influence.

    Catriona Ward has a wonderful way with words, and her distinctive style suits these eccentric characters perfectly. There's not a moment of this book that drags or a scene that doesn't propel the story forward. But then again, there's nothing powerful enough to match the most striking scenes from

    and I guessed every twist way ahead of its reveal. I enjoyed

    a lot while I was reading it, but having come to the end I find myself wishing Ward had written something more innovative – something as thrilling as the best bits of her debut, as unique as her way with language – and I doubt I'll remember it for very long.

    The front cover declares that this is

    meets

    (interestingly, this just seems to be a marketing tagline and not an actual quote). I can understand why these books have been used as reference points, since most people will be at least vaguely familiar with what they're about, but

    is nothing at all like

    and not much like

    either since that book was barely about life within a cult. Rather, it strongly resembles Jess Richards'

    – the two share similarly isolated settings off the coast of Scotland, an idiosyncratic 'religion' observed only by those on the island, and a story told mainly from the viewpoints of two young women. I'd also compare it to

    by Eleanor Wasserberg and

    by Paula Lichtarowicz, both of which focus on girls who have been so thoroughly assimilated into cultlike communities that they refuse to reject their practices. There was something about the tone that reminded me of Hannah Kent's

    too.

    Ultimately, this is material that many other novels have explored, and I can't help but feel a little let down by the lack of originality. Ward's writing elevates it, though, and it is rarely less than exciting. I wish I'd read

    in more suitable conditions; a heatwave doesn't really lend itself to tales of wild imaginings in a rain-lashed, water-bound castle. My advice is to save this one for a dark and stormy night and read it under the covers.

    Little Eve

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  • Thebooktrail

    The grey Isle of Altnaharra is fictional although there is a hamlet of the same name inland in Sutherland in the Scottish Highlands. You’ll be grateful the island isn’t real after reading this!

    Why I read novels like this after 9pm I have no idea. It’s the first time the kindle white has felt so chilling and cold, that light shining an eerie spell of shadows and solitude from the screen.

    Catriona certainly has a way of scene setting and building up a landscape that is at on

    The grey Isle of Altnaharra is fictional although there is a hamlet of the same name inland in Sutherland in the Scottish Highlands. You’ll be grateful the island isn’t real after reading this!

    Why I read novels like this after 9pm I have no idea. It’s the first time the kindle white has felt so chilling and cold, that light shining an eerie spell of shadows and solitude from the screen.

    Catriona certainly has a way of scene setting and building up a landscape that is at one terrifying and unsettling. Add to one creepy island, a rough sea, a causeway easily blocked off, a cult, very strange people living within it and a creeping menace that sucks you in and steals your soul. If you read this in the daytime in a physical book, I have no doubt that there will be a ray of white light emanating from the pages.

    This is a story about cults, rituals - a cult ‘ whose name we shall never speak” which makes it all the more eerie as this could be based on a real one or not....Every reader will have an idea of which cult, religion, habits are actually being portrayed and analysed but it’s all shockingly scary any way you look at it. A drain on energy (apart from that darn kindle which seemed to get brighter as the whispers of the horrors to come screamed louder.

    Catriona, I will read your next book, but in a physical copy during daylight hours only.

  • Jack Ashelford

    Couldn't take my EYES off the book. Great world building, interesting characters and pacing was overall pretty solid.

  • Jade

    I think I would give it a 3.5 star review. Was a bit confusing but I loved how things clicked and I was glued for the majority

  • Molly

    I think I liked it...but I'm not sure yet.

  • Christian

    As soon as you know what the hell is going on its good! Would recommend.

  • Joanne Harris

    Another magnificent example of Northern Gothic, with all the winning elements of her previous novel RAWBLOOD: the fille fatale; the mysterious cult, the ritualistic lifestyle, the isolated house, the creeping menace. The author handles language beautifully, sustaining the mystery throughout, and the whammy is nicely satisfying. There are shades of Shirley Jackson here, and shades of THE LONEY; my only (small) complaint is that, as in RAWBLOOD, the reader is given no inkling of which actual relig

    Another magnificent example of Northern Gothic, with all the winning elements of her previous novel RAWBLOOD: the fille fatale; the mysterious cult, the ritualistic lifestyle, the isolated house, the creeping menace. The author handles language beautifully, sustaining the mystery throughout, and the whammy is nicely satisfying. There are shades of Shirley Jackson here, and shades of THE LONEY; my only (small) complaint is that, as in RAWBLOOD, the reader is given no inkling of which actual religion or cult we're dealing with - I'm sure this is intentional, to avoid upsetting genuine pagans (or Christians, or believers, or cultists of one kind of another) who may not approve of the way in which the ritualistic family environment is depicted, but to sidestep any mention of religion in a story about toxic cultism seems to me a weakness, a hole in the heart of the story. A compelling read nevertheless, which lingers in the memory.

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