The Loney is a story which has left me feeling unsure. It’s not the type of novel you can say you ‘loved’ or even ‘liked’. It is also one of those stories which leaves it a bit to the unknown and doesn’t really give any closure to the reader. While my literature background tells me this is an excellent technique; it has never been one which I have particularly liked…. So if you’re like me and prefer a story which answers all the questions in the end and puts all the pieces of the jigsaw back together then The Loney is not for you.
The Loney is something of a slow burner so much so that I cannot actually remember the name of the main character or if he was ever actually named. He narrates in first person and the only person who seems to refer to him by name is the priest Father Bernard who calls him ‘Tonto’. He and his brother Hanny (Andrew) are taken every year to The Loney a place in the far North of England which holds a mystical shrine. Their Mother who is obsessed by religion is determined that the shrine and its holy water will heal Hanny of the muteness he was born with.
The story unfolds after Tonto (as I shall now call him) and Hanny are all grown up. Hanny is married with 2 children and has written a book which became famous, he is also now a priest. This instantly tells the reader that Hanny was indeed cured but not exactly how. The reader is then treated to the written down words of Tonto the adult explaining how it all came about.
For me there was a lot of build up which led to nothing. There was the creepy staring ‘locals’, the haunted crumbling mansion, the witches and mystical tales as if The Loney itself was still alive. But for me there was just some part of it which wasn’t right. It didn’t satisfy my curiosity enough. I’m not saying it’s not written well because it is, I’m not saying the plot was weak because it wasn’t I’m just saying that as I laid awake last night racing through the final chapters, desperate for answers I just didn’t really find them…