Today, we’re gonna take a step in a new direction with Roberta Eaton Cheadle. You might know her better as Robbie Cheadle, author of While the Bombs Fell, several short stories included in anthologies, and the Sir Chocolate series, but now she’s ventured further into the fantasy and young adult genres. I’ve reviewed ~5 of her previous books, and today I’m sharing my thoughts on her latest release, Through the Nethergate. Before we get to the review, let’s talk a little bit about the author and the book…
About the Author
Robbie is a qualified chartered accountant and works in corporate finance specialising in advice relating to the listings requirements of various stock exchanges, in particular the JSE Limited, and takeover law. Robbie’s hobbies are writing poetry and children’s stories as well as baking and fondant art. Here she tells why she became an author. Find Robbie on Goodreads where she’s posted some of her unpublished poetry and on Facebook. She’s also on Twitter @bakeandwrite and manages a website that will make you fall in love with her creative side. Let’s here a few words directly from her…
I am an author who has recently branched into adult horror and supernatural writing and, in order to clearly differential my children’s books from my young adult and adult writing, these will be published under the name Roberta Eaton Cheadle. My first young adult supernatural novel, Through the Nethergate, has recently been published.
I have two short stories in the horror/supernatural genre included in Dark Visions, a collection of 34 short stories by 27 different authors and edited by award winning author, Dan Alatorre as well as three short stories published in Death Among Us, a collection of murder mystery short stories by 10 different authors and edited by Stephen Bentley. These short stories are published under Robbie Cheadle.
Where to buy the books?
Margaret, a girl born with second sight, has the unique ability to bring ghosts trapped between Heaven and Hell back to life. When her parents die suddenly, she goes to live with her beloved grandfather, but the cellar of her grandfather’s ancient inn is haunted by an evil spirit of its own.
In the town of Bungay, a black dog wanders the streets, enslaving the ghosts of those who have died unnatural deaths. When Margaret arrives, these phantoms congregate at the inn, hoping she can free them from the clutches of Hugh Bigod, the 12th century ghost who has drawn them away from Heaven’s White Light in his canine guise.
With the help of her grandfather and the spirits she has befriended, Margaret sets out to defeat Hugh Bigod, only to discover he wants to use her for his own ends – to take over Hell itself.
My ReviewThrough the Nethergate by Roberta Eaton Cheadle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Through the Nethergate is the latest novel from author Roberta Eaton Cheadle and was published in October 2019. I snatched a copy as soon as it was available because I loved her short stories, children’s book series, and memoir co-written with her mother. This latest book falls within the young adult and fantasy genres, something we’ve seen a little bit of before from her, but never to this degree. Let’s get into the story.
Margaret’s parents die in a car crash when she is sixteen. Although Margaret would like to live with her aunt, the will indicates she should live with her maternal grandfather in an old castle that was converted into a bed-and-breakfast inn in Great Britain’s countryside. Although her grandfather is loving, he has high expectations of Margaret, and when some of the staff are busy, she pitches in to help. In the beginning, she sees a few ghosts in random parts of the castle that make her a tad nervous, but by 20% into the book, readers realize these ghosts might truly be out to hurt her. What we don’t know is why… until the game changes and the ghosts begin to materialize into human form. What is it about Margaret that makes them come alive again?
This is the quintessential story about good versus evil, except there are many twists to the traditional story. We also have several fabulous history lessons to root us in the time period when the original ‘problem’ began for these ghosts. When Margaret is attacked, her grandfather recognizes the signs and calls a priest to perform an exorcism. At first, I thought… “that might be a bit unnecessary.” Then, I see how wrong I was. All HELL breaks loose at this point, and I do mean HELL. These ghosts are being controlled by a ~900-year-old vengeful former member of the royal family and its close circle of supporters-cum-enemies. And let’s not forget the black dog with red eyes that seems to follow Margaret (and the victims) everywhere.
My absolute favorite aspect of this story was the way in which it was told. In the beginning, it’s almost like a collection of stories glued together by a common thread: Margaret. Once Margaret meets a new ghost, the chapter ends and we switch to how that particular ghost died years ago. It really helps amp up the spookiness and the suspenseful nature of the books. Robbie handled this with great care and expertise, and I found myself unable to put the book down because each time something came to an end, something else even more intriguing began. What a fantastic style!
Sections two and three follow a different format, but it’s also a strong one. The biggest shocker hurtles at us when we learn the connection of this ancient royal creep. Lucifer himself. This is actually a tale about religion and politics (in a good way), the penultimate battle in the garden of good versus evil. Who will win? Who will be hurt? When Robbie begins to talk about the fall of modern society because of technology and social media, it was all too obvious of a reality check. I’d also begun watching American Horror Story: Apocalypse that evening, so it was a huge theme taking over my life. Immersive, thrilling, and completely unexpected from the author.
Robbie weaves multiple themes within the plot. Various awful historical figures come back to life (Hitler’s cronies, for example) to show who’s controlling the ghosts and deciding the fate of the world. Though over-the-top in some aspects, there are beautiful lighter moments when Margaret turns to her family or the kind ghosts for help. I’m kinda hoping there is a part two coming out in the future because these characters are going to stay with me for a long time. Kudos to Robbie Cheadle for a great adventure and a thoroughly enjoyable book. I highly recommend this for something unique and captivating.
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For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations but with a twist. There are five books: Academic Curveball, Broken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, Mistaken Identity Crisis, and Haunted House Ghost. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where you can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.