I’ve not read many LGBTQ+ novels because they tend to be romance or flat out porn, which is just not my thing. When I found out that a dear friend from years past, Ben Tousey, had written an LGBTQ+ Gothic Horror novel, I had to read it. And I’m glad I did.
The creepiness and dark feelings of the story start rather quickly as Tony and Sean are thrown into the rolls of their ghostly doppelgängers and are destined to live what happened many years ago. Each turn of the page is met with a terrifying dream or haunted experience that overlaps reality.
While there is a hint of romance intertwined in the story, it doesn’t overpower the events but adds a layer of realness and charm. There are also cheese moments that are cleverly inserted to relieve the tension the characters are feeling.
I give The Haunting of Holden Castle 5 out of 5 Stars.
About The Haunting of Holden Castle
Holden Castle has dark, turbulent, secrets and two innocent young men find themselves standing in proxy, reliving the roles of earlier tragic figures long since dead.
Tony is an attractive young man recovering from a breakup with the man he thought he would spend the rest of his life with. On the bus from the airport to Holden Castle, which is now an internationally famous four-star hotel, he meets Sean, who has also just ended a long-term relationship with the woman he thought he was going to marry.
It’s the legend of the castle that’s its biggest draw. Prince Holden had fallen deeply in love with a servant girl, but was being forced to marry against his will by his father, dubbed the Tyrant King. When Princess Aednat discovered the Prince’s secret love, she exposed it, and the kingdom was thrown into turmoil. The Prince was so upset he retreated within himself and would not talk to anyone. As an act of final revenge, the princess pushed him off the cliffs late one night while he was walking.
That’s how the story has been told since fourteen-hundred.
From the moment they arrive, Sean and Tony experience a profound and distinct sense of déjà vu, as if they’re living their lives and the life of someone else at the same time. They learn that, buried deeply in the many mysteries of this castle, they are the secret.
About Ben Tousey
According to the Oracle of the Bacon, Ben Tousey is 4 degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon. Ben’s book, “Acting Your Dreams” was reviewed by psychiatrist, Dr. Richard Vath, who also counseled Debby Boone. Debby Boone was in 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders with Brandy Norwood–who was in the 39th Annual Grammy Awards with… Kevin Bacon!
Ben has worked as an actor, musician and standup comedian with heavy-hitters such as Grant Goodeve from Northern Exposure, Barry McGuire from the Broadway Musical “Hair” and the hit song, “Eve of Destruction,” and standup comedienne Vanda Mikoloski.
Ben spent fifteen years in various forms of reparative–or “ex-gay” therapy before finally embracing who he is. He writes about that experience in his book, My Egypt. He is best known for writing occult-themed gay romances and gay religious satire.