Short Fiction

The House of Nottingham

There’s something strange about the House of Nottingham. Local legends abound about the Vaughn family’s ancestral home. Shayla finds herself drawn into the mystique of the historic Tudor mansion, uncovering its secrets while confronting her own troubling past. As she makes her way through the house, she struggles to piece together her fragmented memories and unravel the tangle of figments and fears in her mind. What she discovers about herself is even more extraordinary than solving the mysteries of the House of Nottingham.

DISCLAIMER: This novella contains themes and imagery related to mental health, self-harm, and suicidal behavior.

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Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers’ Favorite

Readers Favorite 5 star award

5 Stars

The House of Nottingham, by R. L. Burgess, is a moody,
psychological novella of mystery, suspense, and redemption. We
begin with the strange House of Nottingham, which has a history
within its walls. It’s a Tudor mansion, with rooms to explore, but the
house teaches the main character Shayla lessons about herself
which are just as mysterious. She has memories and fears that
need answers, and this house draws her like a magnet in the way
that The Overlook draws Jack in Stephen King’s The Shining. But
this is where the similarities end.

Burgess has created a concise
work of storytelling that will pull you in and have you unraveling the
mystery of Shayla right alongside her. Burgess creates an
atmospheric story of mental health and dark imagery, and there are
some violent and sexual scenes so that trigger warnings may apply.
I like how the author infuses her writing with her background in
psychology, as it adds a layer of realism and depth. Her use of vivid
descriptions plays on your imagination, and right away, you are
involved in the stage she sets. We find ourselves in the middle of a
flashback with Shayla and Logan and beautiful horses with lovely
names. This flashback informs the audience of the later
developments that unfold in the mansion, beginning with the forest
that seems to come alive around her, glowing red eyes included.
Shayla tells herself these things aren’t real… but are they? I like
how the author places the plot out of sequence so that you are as
mystified as Shayla as to what is going on and how she is feeling.
This nonlinear style works well for this story and also heightens the
mystery and suspense.
Each room draws Shayla in, and each one holds a secret. You’ll find
mental challenges, spirituality, symbolism, and some romance. In
this way, the novella may remind you of an immersive hidden
object game, where you explore each room, never knowing what to
expect or where it will lead to next. The plot is tight, the dialogue
natural, the conflict real, and the pacing perfect. I like the
unexpected twists the author creates, and of course, the satisfying
ending. Treat yourself to The House of Nottingham by R. L. Burgess
for an intense work of dark entertainment and psychological