Ghoulish Green Review: The Bride That Time Forgot by Paul Magrs (Headline Review)

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The Bride That Time Forgot by Paul Magrs
Out Now in Hardback/Trade paperback

This is book five of the Effie & Brenda Mysteries and you’d have thought by now that Paul Magrs would have either settled into some kind of formula or run out of surprises?

Nothing of the sort. Yes there is familiarity but that comes from loving the characters and wishing them well rather than them being predictable. In fact it’s really quite shocking what goes on.

I’ve probably said in every review of this series since book two that Magrs believe’s in consequences and there are big consquences for both Effie and Brenda here after their adventures in Hell’s Belles.

This changes the dynamics of their relationship throughout the book, a point that is driven home in the opening sections when we’re given Brenda’s diary entries and Effie’s letters to read rather than pure and simple narration. Though that does creep back in when we see things from Robert’s point of view. At first Effie’s letters seem a little odd considering who she is writing to but even that all clicks into place without too much jarring when certain events come to light.

In fact Magr’s skill is having lots of different things click at different times and being able to keep them not only secret but worth revealing.

This time Brenda and Effie aren’t their usual team and Brenda teams up with Robert, though both acknowledge it isn’t the same, they do their best. But it’s not the same without Effie. Brenda is more concerned about her friend than the Walkers that are starting to swarm about Whitby. And a cult has formed around a mysterious place called Qab. It’s world from a novel being studied by the book group but some of the members seem to be taking it a bit too seriously.

If you’ve loved the others in this series you’ll love this one too. You can feel Magrs really enjoying himself and playing with his world and characters. He’s not exactly nice to them but they get some great onstage moments. Henry Cleavis is back, Mrs Claus surprises me again, Penny bless her is helping run ship and it feels the gang is all here doing something useful.

I’ve been slowly reading and savouring The Bride That Time Forgot, partly because I wanted to enjoy it and partly I was nervous that something was going to go wrong and it would start making a din rather than harmonious music.

I can honestly say that I can’t think of anything else I wanted from it. It delivers exactly what I was expecting from Paul Magrs, enough familiarity to be comfy but enough surprises the keep the pages happily turning. He even teases what could happen to Brenda & Effie next and to be honest it sounds very exciting. What could possibly go wrong?

The Bride That Time Forgot joins The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms and Yellow Blue Tibia as my gems of the year so far. I’m just disappointed that I’m going to have to wait a whole year for the next one!

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