Book Review: LeRoux Manor

Rating: 7 out of 10.

LeRoux Manor is a standalone paranormal horror novel, written by Liz Butcher and was published in 2020. LeRoux Manor is the most recent novel that Butcher has had published. The novel focuses on a young teenage girl, Camille, who has travelled with her family from Australia over to cold, foggy England to claim an old manor house that her recluse of an uncle left to her father in his will. The premise is indeed a creepy one: old Victorian building, girl feeling lost in another country, and regarding the house – there’s something wrong with it, something very wrong. The cover helps set the scene of a beautiful Victorian building, but we can see that it’s very old and there’s something unsettling about the image. It gives the book the unnerving atmosphere that we see in mainstream horror novels.

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Gnomes and Cherubs – A Short Story

The moon shone across the small square garden, it was perfectly manicured, something from House and Garden magazine. The lawn was recently trimmed, flowerbeds were freshly turned, not a deadhead or drooping petal to be seen.
Clusters of garden gnomes, plastic painted animals and stone cherubs gathered around a pond at the bottom of the garden, led by granite stepping stones from the back white door of a neat brick house, not a stone nor tile out of place.
As the pale light of the moon fell across the sweetly positioned garden decorations, it revealed the chilling view to anyone who might have peeked out from behind their curtains.
The moonlight slowly moved across the garden and the cherubs started to move, their stony faces grimacing, exposing sharp teeth emitting a gravelly growl as their grey arms reached toward the house slowly dragging their stiff bodies towards the meticulously immaculate house. Eyes black as the night they scanned the garden for the goody-two-shoes plastic animals, hours passed as the silent fiends appeared to take the garden hostage.
As the night steadily wore on, the gnomes were making their way across the garden from the pond, brandishing their fishing poles, spades and pitchforks, their faces drawn in wicked sneers. As they gained on the innocent house, they fought past the poor plastic animals; the gnomes stabbed at an over-sized plastic hedgehog who was trying to stop them, the gnomes callously toppled over the deer on her stand who was unable to work free her long legs from the plastic base that connected her cloven hooves. Not even the sweet, glittery plastic fairies could stop the maleficent ornaments with their tiny plastic wands, unable to warn anyone of the impending danger steadily creeping towards the untainted house.
As Pitchfork Gnome stretched his gnarly fingers towards the patio door, scraping the double-glazed doorframe with the tips of his pitchfork, the sun started to rise, steadily moving up above the line of privet hedge overshadowing the garden, higher and higher until it bled into the garden. The gnomes turned in horror towards the warm light, the cherubs’ faces twisted into a silent scream, pulling at their round chubby faces as if in pain. The plastic animals all managed to stand, in their wobbly way, facing toward the sun, letting the light wash over their sun-bleached bodies they all smiled, knowing they had survived another night.
Just as the other tortured creatures had barely managed to get to the back door they all froze, pushing their weapons towards the sun in attack before completely freezing for another day.
The lady who lived in the impeccable house opened the back door, tossing birdseed onto the lawn, laughing as seed bounced off the heads of the infernal gnomes who cursed her silently in their never-ending torment.
“Oh dear, my little Cherubs”, she chuckled as she bent to pick up one of the gnomes, “you’re not in your place little man, here we go.” She tottered over to the back of the garden, placing all the gnomes back around the pond in their perfect positions, digging them back into the dirt. She rearranged the cherubs around her flowerbeds, complimenting their cherry faces, occasionally tipping dirt over them and muttering to herself about vandals. She steadied the poor deer on her stand and patted her head, hands on her hips, satisfied at her positioning.
She would never know their torment, staying silent forever, destined to mould, moss creeping over their stony and ceramic bodies. Only the plastic animals would feel relief as the cheery lady hosed them down, keeping their bodies pristine forever.

The next time you buy a garden gnome or stone figurine, and you find it amusing to keep them buried in forgotten parts of your garden, never to see the light, forever cracked and worm-riddled, they may… one day… find their way into your home to seek their diabolical revenge.

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