Long Lankin
Lindsey Barraclough

When Cora and her little sister Mimi are sent to stay with their elderly aunt in the isolated village of Bryers Guerdon, they receive a less than warm welcome, and are desperate to go back to London. But Auntie Ida's life was devastated the last time two young girls were at Guerdon Hall, and now her nieces' arrival has reawoken an evil that has lain waiting for years.A haunting voice in an empty room ... A strange, scarred man lurking in the graveyard ... A mysterious warning, scrawled on the walls of the abandoned church . . . Along with Roger and Peter, two young village boys, Cora must uncover the horrifying truth that has held Bryers Guerdon in its dark grip for centuries - before it is too late for Mimi.

"I loved this book. It's such an impressive debut. Every element is spot on - from the elegant prose, through the realistic portrayal of various aspects of family life, the three-dimensional characters and the occasional comic set-piece, to the supernatural horror underpinning it, which is absolutely chilling. Highly recommended." Thebookbag.co.uk
Anna, from The Henrietta Barnett School London

Long Lankin is one of those tales which is pretty much impossible to put down and also impossible not to be affected by.

It tells a story of tireless ancient terrors, of murky, mysterious murders and of doubtful disappearances. The truth and horrors start to unfold when Cora and her younger sister Mimi arrive at Aunt Ida’s house. It is not just Aunt Ida or the other residents who eagerly await their arrival. A blood-thirsty beast waits for them to fall into its tight, twisted grasp.

The mystery is told from different characters’ perspectives, throughout, usually from the point of view of either Cora or Roger with occasionally Ida adding an interesting and shocking perspective. This way of telling the story shows different points of view and opinions, while further developing the storyline by adding characters Cora may not see very often. It also deepens the reader’s overall understanding of the plot, including the background information, carefully and cleverly woven through the book by minor characters’ passing comments.

The reader finds Cora an adventurous, intelligent and curious girl who is passionate about protecting her sister, viewing Mimi as a young four year-old who doesn’t understand the dangers that lie ahead - she is often ignored or misunderstood. Roger is kind, quite happy-go-lucky and intrinsically adventurous - he takes the sisters from London to the places they are forbidden to go. The characters are very clear and well-developed, and this is achieved through interpreting their actions and words, not just physical description. We care for all the characters and really want them to stay safe – not always possible in this book!

The supernatural, eerie elements create a dark, heavy atmosphere pervading through the entire tale. Definitely the most atmospheric and horrific setting of the book is the old, crumbling church, cursed with ancient evil and full of warnings to the future people. The tension is incredible and adds an extra element of true-life horror to this book. The reader can realistically imagine every setting, character and emotion, making the tale almost feel like true life. This heightens the creepiness and terror the book creates deep inside the reader. The sad ballad repeated throughout the book further enhances how chilling it is. The scariness of it grips you and the book becomes overwhelmingly menacing. These are only some of the amazing elements of this brilliant book.

This book tells a really frightening tale in the most stunning way possible – it combines sophisticated description and writing with thrill which takes over you, psychologically. The book seems to tap into an inner fright and superstition we all have and manipulates this into scaring you, whilst gripping you, making this book impossible to put down.

I enjoyed this book so much because of the mystery underlying it, the amazingly well-developed characters, the eerie atmosphere, its scariness and the way it overtakes your mind. I think it would suit a young to mid-teenager who enjoys many genres – not just horror as I do not usually read thriller/horror books but loved this one. There is something for everyone, including friendship, family, thrills, horror and great writing. A truly mind-boggling and deeply affective book, a well-deserving ten out of ten!

Bea, from Wren Academy Barnet

I think this book may be my favourite of the ones I was able to read. It had the brilliant idea of telling the story using perspectives of different characters woven into a fabulous storyline.


I liked that fact that it was based around the old folk rhyme of Long Lankin. I thought it was a great idea to use this as a base for the storyline.


This is a good story, a twisted tale of a dark lane in the night. When Cora and her younger sister Mimi go to their aunt’s house in the deep, dark countryside, they find something more waiting for them than their aunt, hiding in the trees.


This book brilliantly combines fantastic writing and descriptions with well-developed characters and a strong plot.


Overall I would rate this book 9.99999 out of 10!

Binitha, from Wren Academy Barnet

This book is about Cora and her little sister, Mimi, going to live with their aunt, in the isolated village of Bryers Guerdon. The local children in the village are convinced that their aunt is a witch, but is there something scarier in the village?


A chilling voice in an empty room, a strange man hiding by the graveyard, a warning on the church walls. Along with two village boys, Roger and Peter, Cora and Mimi set off on an adventure to uncover the terrifying truth of Bryers Guerdon.


This book includes first-person narration, from both Cora and Roger; they both have such different personalities, and it really helps to tell the story, because you can hear different sides of the story and different opinions of what’s going on in the village.


I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a thriller/horror stories. I really enjoyed reading this book; it really has a great twist in it.

Bryan, from Wren Academy Barnet

Long Lankin is a Horror book. It tells the story of two girls going to live with their aunt away from London. They arrive and discover that the town is haunted by something evil and they soon go out to discover what it is.


This book will best suit those who enjoy Horror but don’t want to take horror to a higher level.


Personally I enjoyed this book very much as it contained everything I like in horror and thrillers but it does not take it too far.


I would recommend this book to probably all readers as the storyline is fantastic and it's just fun to read as almost wherever you stop reading leaves you with a great cliff hanger. Rating:*****

Caleb, from Wren Academy Barnet

Long Lankin is a very good attention-grabbing book for me. It started off a bit like a diary entry and didn't really grab my attention. When I got further into reading the book it started to grab my attention more and the adventure really starts. It is written like a diary which is different to many books that I have read. This book was really intriguing and I would really like to see another book like this!


I would recommend this book to people who like different style books and who enjoy seeing books from different sides.

Ellie, from East Barnet School

Beware of Long Lankin, that lives in the moss . . .

Cora and her younger sister Mimi are sent to the isolated village of Bryers Guerdon, to live with their Great Aunt Ida Eastfield, a lady who some of the local children are convinced is a witch.

On their arrival at Ida's creepy run-down house on the edge of the village, the girls are made to feel far from welcome and are desperate to go back to London.

Ida doesn't want to take them in, but she has no option.

The only problem is that Ida's life was devastated the last time two young girls were at Guerdon Hall, and now her nieces' arrival has awoken an evil that has lain waiting for years.
Along with Roger and Peter, two young village boys, Cora must uncover the horrifying truth that has held Bryers Guerdon in its dark grip for centuries - before it is too late for Mimi.

I usually read a lot of horror books written for Teenagers and Young Adults, so this book was interesting to read.

The author has created an original story that is both spooky and atmospheric.

It is a very gripping book. I would rate this book 10/10, I loved it and I would definitely recommend it to anyone!

Kirijana, from Copthall School, Barnet


This book was interesting and also horrifying at the end. I felt sorry for Cora because she has to look after her little sister Mimi, with her aunt. She also hears a scary voice and sees a scarred man in a graveyard. She has to see what and why these things are happening before it's too late for Mimi. I also found this book horrifying because of the descriptions the author has given. The author describes the surroundings and lots of feelings and attitudes. It is one of the best horror stories I have read so far.


Orli, from Jewish Community Secondary School

There is always that one book that you don’t want to attempt, and although I’m ashamed to admit it, for me it was this. I hate horror stories, and for me, it appeared a nightmare. I wanted to read it, though, because I think [being] challenged is one of the best parts of reading – trying out styles and types of stories that you wouldn’t usually attempt. Long Lankin was one of the biggest surprises in my reading journey – and believe me, that’s saying something.


It was certainly scary, chilling and addictive – if you start it, you can’t stop. Which is not great when you’re about to go to bed and you’re scared out of your wits. From the plot to the characters, everything was well developed and brilliantly written, with suspense to capture you, and twists and turns at every corner. It’s incredibly sophisticated and really wraps you in, so it’s possibly not one for the younger children.


With a dark and mysterious plot, be prepared to be full of questions on every page you turn to. With an eerie atmosphere that I’ve never experienced in a book before, it’s not one to be missed. The characters are extremely well developed and easy to relate and connect to – I found the change in narrators very effective and clever. Cora and Roger were such different people, that it was interesting to see the contrast between the two as narrators and as people. Overall, I would give this book a nine out of ten, for a superb and well-written novel. 

Samuel, from University College School London

In honesty, I knew the book would be scary as soon as I read the blurb, but the way that it is written - the atmosphere and the setting - utterly terrified me. I have read horror books before, and found that in fact they often rely on gore and blood to scare the reader. I must admit I find this less effective than a proper atmospheric horror story and I often think that these books should have a separate genre. However this book does not rely on blood and guts but is built on an atmosphere of tension and risk, this means that it of course ensnared me immediately, and I had to battle myself into reading it in the day, rather than have another sleepless night.


The story is about two sisters, Cara and Mimi, whose mother has become ill and therefore when unable to care for them she sends them to her sister Ida; and although bad things have happened to children in Aunt Ida’s care before, there are no other options. They travel away from post-war London and arrive in the small town of Bryers Guerdon. They do not receive a warm welcome from Aunt Ida, for somehow the last time two young girls came to Guerdon hall her life was devastated. And now once more the evil that has been lying dormant for so many years has awakened. Strange messages on the church wall, haunting voices and a strange scarred man creeping about the graveyard - but what does it mean? Well Cora and two other village boys will have to discover the evil that holds the poor town in its grip, before it is too late for Cora’s little sister Mimi.


I highly recommend this book for all who love a spooky story, and despite its size the book’s pace keeps you interested right up until the glorious finale. Anyway highly recommended and even if you’re new to horror books it is still a great captivating read that will stay with you long after you have finished it.

Sarah/Chloe, from Queen Elizabeth's Girls' School, Barnet

This is a gut-wrenching story with a plot that will keep you on tenter hooks. It is scary but sad at the same time. The plot builds up to a grand finale with lots of twists and turns. The characters in Long Lankin don’t always do what you expect them to do - especially curious Cora and her little sister Mimi. They get sent to a great aunt that they have never met and who doesn’t seem to want them there. But their strict great aunt has her reasons. The plot is exciting as it is before Long Lankin gets thrown into the mix. This is a story where old legends get brought to life in a village where the atmosphere is hostile to those who are new or different. In a place where everyone knows everyone, Cora has to unravel not only the mysteries of her aunt but that of Long Lankin. 

Sophie, from Wren Academy Barnet

Long Lankin is a strange book about two girls who go to visit their aunt and discover a big secret. I was impressed by the grammar and language in the book. I didn’t like it at the end as it is very sad (in my opinion) and I do not really favour sad books.


Long Lankin is quite long but I finished it in two weeks. I think that it is perfect for Y7s providing they are confident readers. If you were to analyse the book I feel that you could learn lots just from the characters. Unlike some other books it captures your imagination in the first chapter and continues to keep you entranced until the very end.


I can’t explain exactly why I liked this book despite its sad ending. It may have been that the characters were easily likable though hard to relate to. The characters are hard to relate to because their situation is so different to my own. My favourite part of the book was when the little girl got scared of the painting on the wall because it seemed so real.


I really enjoyed this book and would happily read it again if I got the chance. Personally I would have it as a book all year sevens read.

Tatjana, from Wren Academy Barnet

A book of True Genius. From the very beginning Lindsey Barraclough enticed me with words, the gradual unexpected twists and the many characters shrouded in mystery. I'm a huge fan of surprises and this book satisfied me to the fullest extent. Each character has their own short story within the story, and as each is revealed, a clue is cleverly woven into each, with minor characters being introduced like each component to a circuit, crucial for it to work. I would easily suggest this book to anyone, because of its many genres, even someone who isn't particularly interested in reading would be pulled in by the first chapter.

Each description gradually becomes more tense, introducing each character, through many different points of view. Cora is a girl who pays special attention to detail, and because of that she is constantly aware of her surroundings (to her benefit) but yet curious (and in this book the phrase ‘curiosity kills the cat’ is definitely relevant), always being passionate about the protection of her little sister. Mimi is an ignorant-seeming four year old, who is thought not to know about the dangers and consequences that come with certain actions. Roger is a usually happy boy, always searching for adventure, and doesn't always seem to know his limits, venturing into places forbidden by his elders, dragging others with him because he believes it will be fun. Then there is the occasional memory or viewpoint from Ida Eastfield, who would be stereotyped as crazy, as she has been through a lot, and not many can understand her. 

The constant change in atmosphere is just one ingredient to this book, with the changes in location from a graveyard, seeming quite peaceful, to a church which has an eerie air to it, cursed and full of warnings, which of course children will never follow. Having tension build throughout the whole story creates a real sense of horror about what lies within and what evil shall follow. We can do nothing but feel the emotion of the characters, and deepen our own as we are filled with another sense of true horror, each adventure giving chills, through sophisticated wording, and sometimes making an attempt to deeply disturb you or to simply add to the tension.

Although I love this book
I would advise you do not to read this in bed, even if you are not easily scared, because this book is truly intense, yet brilliant, and because of this I would confidently give it 5/5 stars.

Yuval, from De Shalit Aleph School

The book Long Lankin definitely got a hold on me from the start to the finish. I think what drew me in the most was the unique way the mystery unfolded, slowly and frighteningly.


The book tells the story of Cora and Mimi, two sisters coming to stay at a remote village at their Auntie Ida's house. During their stay, Cora and Mimi bond with Roger and Peter, two kids from the village matching the girls' ages, with whom they find out secrets and mysteries from the past.


The story is told mostly from Cora's point of view; sometimes it switches to Roger's point of view, and not-so-often to Ida's point of view. In my opinion, every character adds something to the storyline – Cora tells about the way the mystery unfolds and gives the background of her own family; Roger gives the background of the village and its residents; Ida gives the background of her own family history, which contributes a lot to the secrets of the past, keeping the reader wanting to find out more, thirsty for information.


The story is written brilliantly. It's dark and twisted, as well as intriguing and pleasant. It gives you a bit of chills in the scary-thrilling parts, keeping you with your nose in the book, and no way out.


It actually kept me up several hours just thinking about it. This book gets a hold on its readers, not just making them curious, but making them understand and relate to the way Cora just wants everyone around her to be safe in all of the danger lurking around them.


To rate this book, I would give it a 4 out of 5, because it was really good, but not perfect. I wouldn't say it had the "unputdownability", but it has a strong grip, in a twisted-special way.