Under Glass and Stone: A Supernatural Gothic Mystery Book Cover Under Glass and Stone: A Supernatural Gothic Mystery
Byrne House
A.N. Willis
Young Adult Mystery
Observatory Books
April 7, 2020

Two disappearances, over a century apart...The truth waits inside Byrne House.

For five generations, Evelyn's family has lived in the same small brick house, shadowed by the mansion across the street. Her Nana filled her childhood with stories about Byrne House: tales of missing children, of lovers gone mad. The mansion loomed every night in her dreams. Even now, at seventeen, Evelyn watches the sprawling Victorian from her second-floor bedroom, unable to explain her obsession with a house she's never been inside.

Then one of the boys in Evelyn's senior class disappears. Evelyn is the last person to see him--just a pale face in Byrne House's tower window.

The police don't believe her. Even her friends think she just imagined the face in the window. Only Alex--a handsome newcomer with his own ties to Byrne House--shares her suspicions. Alex believes that this latest disappearance is tied to the mansion's long-buried past. But there's more that Alex isn't telling her. Evelyn has no idea how far she'll have to go to find the answers. Or what she'll have to remember.

“A trap always looks innocent at first”

I’m going to be honest, I don’t normally reach for suspense/thrillers for my personal reading, but when Under Glass and Stone by A.N. Willis came up for grabs it sounded like a fun deviation from my normal go-to genres. This was a great introduction into mysterious and just this-side-of-creepy stories that are exciting without being overwhelming. 

Our leading lady Evelyn has always had an unexplainable connection to Byrne House, compelled to watch its windows and listen to her Nana’s stories of its complicated past. When a friend goes missing and a mysterious stranger moves to town Evelyn realizes that her uneasy feelings about the Byrne house may actually have a deeper meaning. We are lead into a suspenseful who-dunnit as she tries to figure out who is attacking her friends and learning how the truth about the previous owners, Walter and Ada, can help her save the day. 

I was pleasantly surprised in many ways, the first being how the author was able to give us a story within a story so seamlessly. We get to meet the Byrne House owners of the past through a series of letters which gives us chilling glimpses into a tragic love story that still haunts the halls today. I was also impressed with how the author was able to incorporate the paranormal elements without it feeling like a gimmick. It felt like a natural part of the world and that if we looked hard enough we could find our own secret underground tunnels. There is a large cast of characters that we are introduced to fairly quickly, but we are able to make connections, for better or worse, with each of them. 

Overall I was impressed with the author’s storytelling and ability to get the reader invested in discovering how and why the attacks were happeningFrom chapter to chapter the author is able to sway the reader’s thinking of who is responsible for the horrible atrocities happening to Evelyn’s friends and it is an exciting adventure trying to keep up with the story.  I found myself  watching cat videos online after reading some of the creepier scenes in an attempt to avoid dreams that would be sure to channel my claustrophobia, but even with that being said it was not so scary that younger readers should be concerned.  I am excited to know that the sequel is fast approaching because Byrne House is definitely not done with us yet! Well deserved 5 Star Read!