Untold

The Berringer Family Novels

Fiction - Horror
374 Pages
Reviewed on 04/29/2013
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

"Untold" is the story of Coral Berringer, who lives in a Newport, Rhode Island, mansion that has been allowed to moulder and decay by her terrifying and abusive mother. Coral's body is burned and scarred by her mother's discipline, especially the scalding hot baths where her skin is rubbed raw, and she dares not even cry for fear of more punishment. Margret, Coral's mother, is tall with long black hair that is always tied up tightly in a bun, and she seems a lot more like a wicked step-mother than a mother. When Coral dares once to ask Margret why she hates her so much, Margret screams at her, "because you were born," and proceeds to physically abuse her for her presumption in asking. Coral goes to school that day bruised and bleeding, knowing the other kids would think of her as the weird kid from the haunted house. Only Rose, Gretchen and Rollins, the remaining household servants, are there to give Coral the love and companionship she needs so desperately.

Tamara Helene Arrington's Gothic horror story had me entranced from the very first paragraph. Coral narrates the story, and her delivery is stark and compelling. My spirits soared with hers when she finds a friend and plays hooky one day, dancing on the beach she could only see from her window, and descended into the depths of despair when she was being brutalized by Margret. Ocean Point, the massive, ruined house where she lives, almost seems to come alive as a brooding and malignant force, overshadowing Coral's existence and seeming to want to swallow her alive. I'll be looking for more of 'The Berringer Family Novels'. If the rest of them are anywhere near as good as "Untold" is, I'll be very happy indeed. This is a wonderful book, and I highly recommend it.

Natasha Jackson

Tamara Helene Arrington takes readers on a disturbing journey filled with cruelty, lies, confusion, fear and forbidden love in "Untold". This is the story of Coral Berringer, a young and naïve woman who is often at the wrong end of her mother’s, mostly physical, wrath for things she perceives as being too sexual or simply not what is expected of her. The descriptions of this cruelty caused a visceral reaction that, at times, forced me to put the book down to simply get my own bearings. The physical reactions caused by some of the darker parts of the story are balanced perfectly by the characters Rollins, Rose and Lucy who provide a much needed burst of light to balance out the depravity of Coral’s mother.

Arrington goes to great lengths to totally immerse the reader in the bygone era of Newport, to the point where you feel as though you have learned a lot about history throughout this work of spectacular fiction. There are a few surface problems with the editing, but the story and the characters are so compelling that they are quite easy to overlook. At times it felt as though events could have unraveled faster, which slightly took away from my enjoyment but after becoming so invested in Coral’s life you will keep going just to find out how this young woman’s life turned out. Early in the book it wouldn’t be hard to believe that Coral turns into the same cruel and miserable woman that her mother was, but her 14-year old innocence reminds us just how resilient children can be and just how determined teenagers are in the face of most adversity, particularly love. Ms. Arrington’s novel proves that just about anything can be overcome when the reward is true love.

Martina Svyantek

“Untold“ by Tamara Helene Arrington is the story of Coral Berringer, a young woman growing up in a house full of dark secrets. Though she has learned by the tender age of fourteen that perhaps mother truly does not know best, the rest of the household continues to conspire against Carol, holding her in the gloomy Ocean Point mansion against her will as her mother’s punishments grow more abusive. Trapped inside Ocean Point with the Berringer family and their servants is a living secret, one that threatens to destroy the only life Carol has ever known. A bright light enters Coral’s drab existence with the introduction of Lucia Lombardi, the first friend she has ever known outside of the Ocean Point servants. As this friendship grows, so does the shadow of evil looming over Coral’s life. Will Coral ever be able to escape her mother and the Ocean Point curse? Or will Coral be kept imprisoned, subject to her mother’s increasingly dangerous and erratic whims?

As soon as I started reading this book, I felt myself immersed in the life of Coral Berringer. I felt her physical pain at the hands of her mother, and her emotional pain at being locked away from the rest of the world. As Coral learns more about her heritage as a Berringer, the plot continues to twist and turn in a terrifying fashion. It took only a few short pages to become so enthralled with Coral's life to the point I could not tear myself away until I finished reading the entire book! I honestly cannot wait to continue the story of the Berringer family in the sequel; hopefully it will deliver the same chilling suspense as the first novel in the series.