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4.4 out of 5 stars
The Magic Cottage
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on 3 February 2007
I read this book about a year ago after reading the reviews on here and various other places. This book did not dissapoint me! i love the whole image you get imprinted in your mind of this bright n breezy euphoric countryside setting. You really get sucked into Mike and Midge's thoughts and feelings and put yourself in their shoes. This book is a delight to read and is the kind of horror i like, a sort of sinister feeling throughout. I loved this book so much i gave it to my girlfriend to read, and like me she fell in love with it to. After reading i thought how good this book would make as a film (done well)! I suppose i just want to see if the images i have in my head of Mike, midge, the cottage and countryside are acurate, but there is no way to find out! a Wonderful uneasy read!!
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72 of 75 people found the following review helpful
on 28 October 2001
Being a 16 year old who doesn't want to spend all of her time either surfing the net or complaing I took my Dads advice and picked up a book! The first one coming to hand, in the genre I wanted being "The Magic Cottage" by James Herbert. Never have I been so addicted to a book in my life, apart from Thomas The Tank, but that hardly broadens your vocabulary! I picked the book up, and didn't put it down until I'd finisehed, which is no exageration, instead of completing a number of important essays for my college courses I found myself captivated by mere words. The images were so vivid I'd created in my mind of that little cottage, I could see, hear, smell and touch the place, they say a pictures worth a thousand words, but the words are worth a thousand pictures in James Herberts case, he is a genious! The words take you there, you are the characters, you empethize for dear little Bumbo, and I saw myself as Midge, if any of his books are half as good as this then I think I will be spending a few nights in detention to catch up with course work I will have pushed aside to make time for my imagination to create pictures to the words that Mr Herbert has produced. This book is so much better than any film, because we all can create our own images, and not have one that the producer has chosen! All thats left to say is read it, read it and see the creativity of one man, and let your mind illustrate the words.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on 30 August 2001
This was one of the most surprisingly rivetting books I had read for a while. Being a King fan, I found it difficult to cross over and shied away from Herbert (much to my loss I now find). The story would appear to start off very "twee" with the perfect cottage in the perfect setting and the friendliest wildlife you'll ever meet. But it goes on to draw you in with a dark cult insinuating itself between a couple and the more sceptical guy slowly coming to accept the inexplicable, and his fight to win back the happiness they found when they first arrived. I couldn't put the book down and went on to devour the rest of Herbert's work in a matter of weeks. Whilst it doesn't have the usual offering of blood and gore, I found this an excellent way to cross over authors. Well worth the time to read!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 8 November 1999
This is a book that I have read many a time and each time, I have found more to thank James Herbert about.
The previous reviewer was probably expecting a more horror packed book, which the author churns out with a gifted regularity.
However, this is a book with a depth to it that can be easily overlooked on the first read. It needs to be read with an open mind, one willing to fill in the few gaps with imagination which always leads to a better story.
In my view, this book deserves the above 5 crowns and if I could, I'd give it many, many more.
To give this book only five crowns is a crime, it needs many, many more.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
An attractive young couple is looking for an attractive little house. An attractive little house is looking for the perfect couple. When Midge and Mike find Gramarye, a darling, quaint little cottage in the English countryside, it is as if a spell had been cast upon them. They purchase this little cottage in the middle of nowhere, after a rather unusual negotiation.
Warm and cozy, with an inviting air, Granmarye is everything of which they ever dreamed, and they thrive in its salubrious atmosphere. The days never seemed brighter, nor the nights more romantic. The local flower and fauna around the cottage seem to blossom right before their very eyes. The small animals in the woods seem especially friendly, as do its birds, and they all seem to want to pay a call at the cottage. It is as if the house had a positive psychic energy of its own. It is as if it were a fairytale come true.
Midge and Mike discover that Granmarye's former owner, an elderly woman, had a reputation as a healer. They also discover that a local cult lives not far from them and that its members are reviled by the nearby townspeople. They meet a few of these so called cult members, and they do seem a tad peculiar. They also appear to be quite nervous when visiting Midge and Mike. The cult's leader, however, seems to want to visit very badly. Midge does not mind, but Mike has certain reservations, as there is something about that cult that just does not sit right with him.
Slowly, a shift in the atmosphere in the cottage takes place. As the tension in the book increases, strange and creepy things begin to occur in the cottage. A change in its psychic energy is beginning to take place, replete with a mysterious figure in the woods. Slowly but surely, Midge's and Mike's paradise on earth starts to become a living hell. Spooky, mysterious, and, alternately, charming and chilling, this is one of author's best books.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 1 January 2008
This was one of the most enchanting, gripping stories I have ever read. Unlike some of the horror Mr. Herbert has written, this was more suspense/thriller than horror, though it does indeed have it's horrifying moments.

The story centers around a couple from London, Mike and Midge, who begin to search for a house of their own. Midge starts scanning the newspaper and is drawn to a little add for a cottage called Gramarye. When they go see the house they find out from the realtor that is being sold as part of the estate of a very old woman who lived there most of her life and died suddenly. When they go to the house Midge is completely enchanted by the little cottage, feeling like it is home. Mike sees the flaws that need fixing. Still, passion wins over and they buy the little house and work to restore it's beauty. They seem like the perfect couple who has just found the perfect home.

Yet there is something strange and disturbing about Gramarye, Mike can feel it, Midge seems oblivious to it. Animals come into the house and eat out of their hands, they befriend a little red squirrel who comes in daily and chatters away at them. Wounds heal spontaneously. It all sounds pretty silly, but it is all part of the magic that is Gramarye.

Soon the enchanting life starts to take a turn when they meet young people who live in a house on the other side of the forest behind their house. Midge becomes entangled with their group, which ends up being a cult. The cult wants the house and will stop at nothing to possess it. Thus begins the battle of wills while Mike tries to save Midge from the cult and his new home from their possession. Don't worry, I haven't given anything away.

This book was a mystery loaded with magic and danger. It has ghosts and spirits, both good and evil. It begins by sparking the imagination, and the tension grows stronger and stronger in this well wrought story, until it reaches a crescendo that will leave you breathless. This was such a good book that I'm now buying the hardcover - yes, it's good enough to read again. Buy this book, you'll love it as much as I did!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
An attractive young couple is looking for an attractive little house. An attractive little house is looking for the perfect couple. When Midge and Mike find Gramarye, a darling, quaint little cottage in the English countryside, it is as if a spell had been cast upon them. They purchase this little cottage in the middle of nowhere, after a rather unusual negotiation.
Warm and cozy, with an inviting air, Granmarye is everything of which they ever dreamed, and they thrive in its salubrious atmosphere. The days never seemed brighter, nor the nights more romantic. The local flower and fauna around the cottage seem to blossom right before their very eyes. The small animals in the woods seem especially friendly, as do its birds, and they all seem to want to pay a call at the cottage. It is as if the house had a positive psychic energy of its own. It is as if it were a fairytale come true.

Midge and Mike discover that Granmarye's former owner, an elderly woman, had a reputation as a healer. They also discover that a local cult lives not far from them and that its members are reviled by the nearby townspeople. They meet a few of these so called cult members, and they do seem a tad peculiar. They also appear to be quite nervous when visiting Midge and Mike. The cult's leader, however, seems to want to visit very badly. Midge does not mind, but Mike has certain reservations, as there is something about that cult that just does not sit right with him.

Slowly, a shift in the atmosphere in the cottage takes place. As the tension in the book increases, strange and creepy things begin to occur in the cottage. A change in its psychic energy is beginning to take place, replete with a mysterious figure in the woods. Slowly but surely, Midge's and Mike's paradise on earth starts to become a living hell. Spooky, mysterious, and, alternately, charming and chilling, this is one of author's best books.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 10 November 2006
I got this book almost a year ago, starting reading the first hundred pages and wasn't impressed at all. I put the book down un finished and started on another as this seemed like it had no story except a couple that want to buy a house.

I read book after book until I had nothing new to read and went back to the magic cottage, I was very impressed. Not many pages after where I had left off things really got going and I couldn't believe I had ever thought of this book as dull.

There are plenty of terrifying parts for you to cower in fear behind your hands, especially the man screaming like a little girl, that was chilling.

And little Rumbo, he is the star of the book (for me anyway), you will love him.

I think many will like this book, its just a case of getting through all the details in the first few chapters. Believe me, its well worth it.

You might want to wear a nappy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 31 May 2008
I was expecting a horror story, as James Herbert is pretty famous for those, but I didn't really get one with this book. I wasn't disappointed though I just had to switch my expectations to another track.

Mike Stringer, the narrator of this tale, and his partner Midge (Margaret) Gudgeon relocate from busy London to the countryside, close to the New Forest. Their new home is Gramarye, a run down cottage set in woodland and close to the village of Cantrip. Odd though it may seem when they eventually move in, but the cottage wasn't in such disrepair as they first thought, and the woodland animals are all so very friendly, almost tame.

Life is good, but there are bad times coming. The people from the Synergist Temple begin to call. The vicar from Cantrip comes with dire warnings. And just who exactly is that dark figure who keeps watching the house?

This was an enjoyable and easy read for me. Having read most of James Herbert's books old and new I wasn't surprised that the story greeted me like an old friend. Characters were funny and real, even the ones that weren't human.

The story runs along and takes you with it, there are twists and turns but you can usually see them coming so they don't come as any great surprise. An easy read but not one to stay in the mind after it's finished and put back on the book shelf.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This is a great book by Jamest Herbert offering dark fantasy and horror combined.

It is perhaps not ideal for hardcore horror readers, who prefer books like The Rats, this book is more inclined to appeal to readers who also enjoy dark fantasy and paranormal magic in their novels. But that is one of the reasons I rate this book so highly, it combines horror and dark fantasy beautifully, unlike traditional blood and guts horror this book also offers, like the title says, magic.

That's not to say it's not horrific in places, my sister had nightmares from some sections of this novel. But then she's never read horror before either. As a fan of dark fantasy and hardcore horror I adored this book as one of my all time favourites as it combines both the genres I love in exceptionally well written prose.

If you like horror and fantasy you'll love this book. And if you've never read horror before, it's a great book to start on!

For fans of James Herberts other works, expect something a bit different from this novel. The title is a dead giveaway that it's not a hardcore horror novel in James Herberts usual style.

Overall a magical read combining dark fantasy and horror in a truly unique way.
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