Mr Splitfoot by Samantha Hunt

imageSo whilst this isn’t technically part of my Spring into Horror read-a-thon reading, as it is billed as a gothic horror, I had thought that reviewing it today would be a good way to start the week.  Thought being the operative word as a) I’m not sure I would call it a horror, gothic or otherwise and b) it wasn’t that good, which I find myself really disappointed by as I was so looking forward to it when I started reading.

It starts off really well, with the oppressive atmosphere of an overly religious orphanage and two late teens – Ruth and Nat – talking to the dead, parents of other children left to basically rot in the upstate New York childcare system. It is a way of trying to take control of their lives and hide from the fear of not knowing what comes next (they are 18 in a year and will be without any home – good or bad – at all).

Then, one day, they meet Mr. Bell – a man without a home but with a vision of the lives they can all lead thanks to Nat’s ability to see dead people…or at least pretend to see dead people because it isn’t real (or is it? the book, on this part, keeps you guessing for a while).  As with all things in this book, however, Mr. Bell isn’t quite what he seems.  And neither is Zeke, Ruth’s suitor who appears out of nowhere.  Or Ruth or Nat or the Father who runs the orphanage with religious zeal.  It’s all a bit too much.

And then it gets more complicated because Ruth and Nat’s story is in the past and it’s running alongside Ruth and Cora’s story in the present.  Cora is Ruth’s niece, pregnant and persuaded by Ruth to walk across New York state without any reasons given.  They walk and walk and come across random strangers who behave in random ways.  Not one person in this book is normal or undamaged and, again, it’s all too much.  I feel like I was supposed to get something from it, from the ways they spoke, the things they said, that I just couldn’t because I was just so confused by what was going on.

The language, which was flowery and wandered, didn’t help and neither did the characterisations…I didn’t like anybody…but my main problem was my just not understanding what was happening or why.  Characters like Zeke came, went and then came back as someone else (without a nose which was never properly explained and didn’t seem to do much for the plot).  They all spoke a certain way, meaning people blurred into one, and their motives were questionable at best when revealed.   In fact, I’m not sure why I even finished reading, other than I hate putting a book down before the end.  Maybe I should have left this one alone and I wouldn’t have felt quite so disappointed – not one for me – Sorry!


  1. That’s too bad this one turned into a confusing jumble. It’s been on my radar but I’ve been undecided about reading it because while the premise sounds really good I wasn’t sure how it was going to go. I think I’ll take a pass on this one. There are plenty of gothic-y books that sound like they work a lot better.

    1. I know when I mentioned I was reading it people said they had heard good things so maybe it’s just me but I just didn’t get it. I don’t normally read this type of book but think I would enjoy it if it was better. Sigh!

  2. Mmm. I had initially liked the soubd of this as the premise is interesting but it sounds a bit jumbled.

    1. Me too. I think it just tried to be too much and got lost somewhere. Oh well, I’ve read two good books since then so am happy again 😄

  3. What a shame that this one left you disappointed – lets hope the rest of your Spring into Horror goes a little bit better.

    1. I know…my own fault for being blinded by the cover and the title. Even if my horror reading isn’t going too well, I’m finding new bloggers, which is one of the things I like about read-a-thongs.

  4. […] by Stephen King, which I really enjoyed – but I also posted my review of the gothic horror Mr. Splitfoot by Samantha Hunt, which I didn’t enjoy much at all.  The last book I reviewed was Missing, […]

  5. […] Mr Splitfoot by Samantha Hunt which I had such high hopes for but felt like it got lost in what it was trying to achieve, leaving me confused. […]

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