The Hay Bale - by Priscilla Bettis
This novelette from Priscilla deserves a lot of love. Priscilla has been active on YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter as a supporter of reviewers and Indie Horror authors, so it was nice to be able to give something back to her, by buying her novelette and giving an honest review.
Which brings me to The Hay Bale. It’s a breeze at only 40 pages, and from the first page, Priscilla shows she’s got chops – the book is well written, there wasn’t an editing error in sight (that I could see, and I check all my books), and the voice was well measured, descriptive, informed and literary. In other words, the flow here was great, and the book was devoured in one sitting.
The story of a haunted farmhouse and a want-to-be mother’s loss, and consuming desire for children of her own, set the center stage for this southern gothic horror. There are elements in here that struck a chord with me – her miscarriages and the helpless desire to have a child played to my heart – I haven’t experienced that situation myself, but having two children, I can understand how that need could dominate a person's life, and how that craving would never be far from one’s thoughts.
The setup was well executed, the main characters' background, history, and present situation were well brought into the story, especially given the small page count, so I was invested in the story.
I wasn’t totally convinced with the logistics and reasoning behind the Hay Bale itself. There were elements to what happens there that were not illustrated or explained, the answers to some of my questions left to “weirdness” or “folklore” or “magic”, so don’t go into the story expecting a nerd’s breakdown of the supernatural elements contained within – Priscilla strays more toward the “unexplained stays unexplained” here, but it’s a small matter – the story here is actually a backdrop to Priscilla’s voice, and her entry into the Indie Horror community as an author. Not all horror has to have a rational or logical explanation - we are here to be horrified, right?
I liked this a lot, Priscilla. I think it gives us all a great taste of what is to come, Gothic and folk horror that puts you in the same genre room as Kevin Harrison, Beverley Lee, Catherine McCarthy & Tim McGregor. I’m here for your next one, though I hope you expand to a novella – this was just a taster and it was almost too little. I wanted a bigger bite. I hope you can cook us up some more.
The Hay Bale is a no-brainer purchase - retailing at less than a dollar, less than a Euro, and less than a pound, it's a quick-bite taster of great things to come. At that price, you can't get much better for your money
4 ⭐ ‘s out of 5, and congratulations on the publication!
You can buy "The Hay Bale" by clicking on the Amazon store appropriate to you.
You can visit Priscilla's Website, HERE.
You can find Priscilla on Twitter, HERE