Maggie’s Grave (Paranormal Witch Horror)

 

David Sodergren has once again blessed my Kindle with a brilliant folk horror tale. I loved The Haar, but I absolutely adored Maggie’s Grave. In the nearly deserted town Auchenmullan, with just 47 residents remaining, a dark tale lays dormant. Towards the top of a mountain, a singular grave lies. “MAGGIE WALL BURIED HERE AS A WITCH” is inscribed, faded and forgotten. That is until something wakes her. She wants something. Her business lies unfinished and her unrelenting nature means she will do anything she can to get it. Not a single soul will get in her way. From the very beginning, the scene is laid, the vibe is set, and the backstory explained. The first chapter begins over 300 years ago from the book’s present year. I loved the way the emotive description reveals how Maggie feels during her ordeal, and in all honesty I felt really sad reading this chapter. It made me think of all the women in real life who were accused of witchcraft, just for being different, for pissing off the wrong powerful people, and mostly for no reason at all. This feeling followed me throughout Maggie’s Grave; even when reading all the gruesome and unrelenting scenes, I constantly felt sorry for the otherworldly Maggie.

 

“‘I’m sorry,’ she said, and she meant it. It wasn’t Maggie’s fault. They had done this to her, all those centuries ago. The people of Auchenmullan. The real monsters. She pictured their faces, that group of frightened, powerless men hiding behind their swords and crucifixes, so scared and impotent. Perhaps she was even a descendant of one of them. Her mother’s family had always lived in the Highlands. Who knew how far back the Malone dynasty stretched? A tear fell, landing on Maggie’s face, disappearing into the firm, porous skin. All she wanted was her baby. Was that too much to ask?”

 

It’s very rare to get a book where I felt unsettled, but the writing constantly points to something going on, something being in the air and making it heavy, and it makes for a great and immersive experience. The split-second sightings of someone or something that may or may not be there, the voices, the very real hallucinations that some of the characters go through, really help to cement this feel. Once I got into the thick of it, I truly realized how mind-bending and psychological Maggie’s Grave is. The multiple, third-person perspectives made me feel like I was standing right next to the characters, experiencing everything they go through, everything they see and do. Despite all the gore and pain Maggie caused in her strange and deadly form, I constantly felt sorry for her. This is kind of a revenge story I guess, and whilst some of the people in this book did not deserve what happened to them, Maggie did not deserve it either. I usually use a quote that shows you how gross things get, but the one above sums up how I feel about the ordeal this dying town went through. This is probably in my top five of this year. An absolute must read for fans of folk horror, stories based (very loosely) on real life, and the kind of tale you want to read hidden under the duvet at night. A small recommendation for those who do read this book based off my review, and want something similar. Bella by R.M Francis offers the same kind spine tingling, eerie feeling.

 

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Written by Arianne, Sovereign Deity of the Damned

Maggie’s Grave (2021)
David Sodergren
Independent
Cover Art: Daniella Batsheva
5 / 5