Eleven Terrible Months
Hardcover: 434 pages
Publisher: Dog Horn Publishing (Oct 2007)
Have you ever lived in a haunted house?
Meet The Walkingtons: Sue, Roy and their three teenage children – Louise, Sally and Chris. The Walkingtons were just like any other working-class Yorkshire family until January 1998, when they moved into their new home. It was supposed to be a good move, a fresh start… but what followed was a hellish year that brought this humorous, tight-knit family to their knees. They eventually fled in November 1998, with their lives and nerves in tatters.
What exactly happened to the Walkingtons during their time at 289 Millshaw Grove? In their own words, three of the five members of the family detail their lives at the time, their separate and shared unexplainable experiences and the emotions, opinions and consequences thrown up from their eleven terrible months back in 1998.
With frights so real they’ll give you nightmares, lashings of laugh-out-loud humour and interesting explorations of family dynamics; this is one read that you will never forget.
Selected as Book of the Month in Spirit and Destiny Magazine. Reviewed by three readers…
I really enjoyed [Eleven Terrible Months] and thought it was extremely well written. In fact, I couldn’t put it down. I especially liked the family diary format, and every account gave a real sense of truly harrowing events. It was a genuinely spine-chilling read, which felt like an episode of Most Haunted – all that was missing was Yvette Fielding and Derek Acorah! I also enjoyed the paranormal investigation report at the end. I’d recommend it to anyone who loves a ghost story.Vas Vassiliou, reviewer (on behalf of Spirit and Destiny Magazine)
This book was great and I read it every spare moment I had – except for late at night when I was on my own! I truly believe in ghosts, but that didn’t prepare me for the horrors pursuing this family during their terrifying stay in the house. I warmed immediately to Sue and found her simple style of writing enthralling. Definitely a must-read, though you may want to leave the light on long after you close the pages. Five stars.Kat Clarke, reviewer (on behalf of Spirit and Destiny Magazine)
Eleven Terrible Months documents the tale of a family who lived in a flat that is believed to be a portal to all manner of spirits. The account is told firstly in the words of Sue, the mother, and then her son, Chris, and daughter Sally, each retelling events in their own words. The official report at the end is interesting as it explains why some of the entities stayed in the house and couldn’t move on. Not ideal bedtime reading unless you enjoy being scared, but definitely worth a read if only to appreciate what an incredible experience being haunted like this must be.Karen Pearson, reviewer (on behalf of Spirit and Destiny Magazine)
Presented as a true account, written by three members of the family, this is a chilling book that will stay with you. This isn't what you'd expect from a 'haunted house' book... it doesn't set out to be shocking or gory, nor is it full of the usual clichés. It simply reads like a genuine, believable tale …There were a few times I put the book down, wandered out to the bathroom, and found myself looking over my shoulder! It's creepy without you even realising it! The characters are also great, you can certainly imagine this very normal family going through these experiences, and suffering for them …As a bonus, the book is a limited edition hardback, and is gorgeous - it even has one of those little built in ribbon bookmarks, which I wish every book did! If you're interested in haunted houses, ghosts, and the such, but get put off by 'over the top' horror books, you may just love this one!The Book Club Forum
Amityville Horror meets Shameless… Chilling but not gratuitously sick. Much is left to the reader’s imagination – which of course makes it all the more creepy… a gripping read.Telegraph & Argus
…Royle caused a sensation both in the UK and the US with her first novel, Lucy’s Monster - now she looks set to repeat that success with her second book, Eleven Terrible Months. There is no doubting the 25-year-old author has a richly dark imagination and an unconventional authorial style, both of which have already endeared her to avid book collectors across the world…Yorkshire Evening Post
Spine chilling and thought provoking, you’ll want to read [Eleven Terrible Months] twice!Dewsbury Reporter
This is a story which relates the events within a haunted flat and also the dynamics of an ordinary family. Although it was very creepy in places, the real interest however, turned out to be the story of the family itself. I completely related to the mother’s story and found the story of the teenage son, Chris, thought provoking, while funny and sad at the same time. This was mainly because it highlighted the tenuous nature of family relationships and how communication isn’t always as effective as it could be, consequently Chris was misunderstood at times. I admire R L Royle’s ability to understand the fragile nature of such relationships especially as she is able to relate the story from so many different viewpoints. It is those differing viewpoints which make the story so good - showing how the same events can affect the characters so differently. I found Sal’s story to be the creepiest and a couple of incidents set me thinking about things that I knew of that had happened. Coincidently something fell in the room next to me while reading this part - needless to say, I had to sleep with the light on afterwards! A wonderful read!Judy, Book Club Forum
…about your wonderful book Eleven Terrible Months: I loved it! The whole world needs books like this. A book with a haunting centered around one home and the family that lives there …I could hardly put it down. I read lots of books that people ask us to review and many of them read like a documentary using words and phrases that make a person feel uncomfortable or uneducated, your Eleven Terrible Months did not. Thank you for sharing it with me and signing it for me. If your other book is half as good I would like to read it as well. You are very good at writing Rebecca , I know Eleven Terrible Months will be a great success.Tina Carlson, Co-Director of The Shadowlands: Ghosts and Hauntings http://theshadowlands.net/ghost/
I have just finished typing an email to the publishers of this book with praise for both this and Lucy's Monster, something I have never felt compelled to do before, however having read this book and being amazed at the style of writing, I felt I had to share. Eleven terrible months is such a well written piece of fiction that you will find it hard not to convince yourself you are not reading the personal diaries of three members of a good ole Yorkshire family, it is that realistic that you will find it hard to believe that 289 Millshaw Grove doesn't actually exist! A word of warning DO NOT read at night!! This book even managed to scare the likes of me who I can assure you is a very well grounded sceptic! Great book that like Lucy's Monster will have you gripped within the first two pages!Amazon review
Thanks again for your glorious and refreshing books…Les, reader (via email)
I have enjoyed both books more than I could ever say. I could not put them down and they made the Christmas period absolutely fantastic…Barbara, reader (via email)
I was talking to a lady at work today… She was really enjoying [Eleven Terrible Months] and had read Lucy’s Monster also and thought [Royle’s] writing was excellent…Julie, a buyer (via email)
I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed [Eleven Terrible Months], it kept me hooked all the way through. Only put it down when I had to go to work!Sue, a reader (via email)
Just writing to tell you how much I enjoyed Eleven Terrible Months. When it came, I looked at it, started reading it and all other reading went by the board until I’d finished it! I reckon the incident with the camera… was the most eerie, strangest, oddest bit of reading I have done for a long time. Congratulations!Haydn, a reader (via email)
Bloody hell – what a story. Sue’s story scared me half to death – so much so I couldn’t read it on my own – I had to be around somebody either at home, on the bus or at work. I still wasn’t sure it was fiction – God knows why it rang so true – in fact I thought it was so real… I looked up Millshaw Grove. Wide Boy Chris – well his account had me actually laughing out loud – priceless he was. And Sally – poor sod – major freak out! Cameras taking pics on their own, pictures taken off the wall, hanging upside-down, TV’s doing their own thing, things lurking in bedrooms – good bloody God – do I need to go on? If this is ever made into a movie it will knock socks off anything out there and believe me I do watch some hairy movies and not just English! Bloody fantastic… roll on the next one!Soosie, a reader (email)
Have read Eleven Terrible Months and loved it! I loved the characters in and I love books that write stories from different people’s perspectives…Jill, a reader (email)
[Eleven Terrible Months] is very realistic, that Sue’s children only allowed her to know what they wanted her to know and that she had to fathom the rest out – my youngest can be very much like that. In the case of Chris I thought it was sad that he did that because, for example, they didn’t realise how much he loved his car wash job and so when he lost [it] they weren’t able to appreciate how much of a blow it was to him. It was that lack of communication that made his story sad to me – although his was the funniest at times also.Posted online
…I’d then find myself putting down the book, going into the bathroom and checking over my shoulder! I think it’s because of the style, that it gets to you without you realising. I’m now feeling as if I know the characters, and have sympathy for them…Michelle, a reader (via email)
Because all I could think about was my new job, I sort of stopped being scared of the flat. That first week of half term was the first and only week I’d spent in that place without having ‘shitting it’ as part of my day-to-day activities. Everything was calm for a change and we just watched videos all day (our Lou made me watch Titanic three times: torture). But then, guess what? The shits n’ giggles ended and we were soon reminded that we should be scared.
Me and Lou had been looking through Mam and Dad’s wedding album and having a laugh at Dad’s flares and everyone’s stupid hats when Lou said: ‘wait there, I’ve got a corker to show you, if I can find it,’ and left me in the front room. She went through into her bedroom and I heard her rustling through bags, and then I heard her bedroom door slam shut.
‘Chris?!’ she shouted. ‘Chris, was that you?’
I shouted back that I was still sitting in the front room and she was like: ‘Chris, my door’s just slammed shut!’
I put the album down and went to open her door but it wouldn’t budge.
‘Let go of it then!’ I said.
‘I’m nowhere near it,’ she replied, sounding panicky. ‘I’m over by the window!’
Neither of us said owt for a bit and once I got my head ‘round it I tried the door again but it was like trying to open a wall. The handle moved but the door was stuck fast. I could hear our Lou panicking more and more so I told her to stay near the window coz I was going to try and kick it through. I counted to three then I pushed the handle down and full on booted the door. My heel went through the first layer of MDF but other than that the door didn’t move at all, it was like there were breeze blocks cemented behind it or something.
When I kicked it Lou screamed: ‘Chris? Was that you?’
‘Yeah!’ I shouted. ‘I’ve just made a right fucking ‘ole in it! Mam and Dad are well gonna see that.’
‘It dint even move! The door dint move at all, Chris!’ Lou shouted back, getting hysterical.
I said: ‘I know,’ and she started screaming for me to get her out.
I kept trying to open the door but nowt was happening. Lou started proper wailing and telling me to kick it through and stuff. She was making me panic she was getting that hysterical but I knew Mam would flip if she came back to the door kicked in so I just shouted: ‘Lou! You try it from that end! Try it from that end!’
‘I’m not moving from here!’ She cried.
‘Lou!! Just fucking try it!’ I yelled.
Everything went quiet for a sec’ and then the door handle started moving up and down, but the door still didn’t open. I thought she’d give up after a while but she kept at it for ages.
‘Lou, it’s not working that,’ I said.
‘What? Did you say something…? Chris?!’ she shouted from inside the bedroom.
‘I said, it’s not working, that!’ I shouted.
She didn’t reply straight away, but when she did, she yelled: ‘Well stop doing it then!’
‘Stop doing what?’ I said.
‘That!’ I heard her scream. ‘That with the handle! Stop it!’
‘But… I’m not doing it!’ I said. ‘Aren’t you doing it?’
She screamed: ‘No!’ and started wailing again. Once I realised that neither of us was making the handle move and that it was doing it on its own, I backed up away from the door. I kept my eyes glued to the handle and think I even started shaking my head (I didn’t mean to, but it was well weird). It was going like the clappers for ages and I could hear our Lou working herself up into a frenzy in the bedroom shouting: ‘Stop! Stop!’ over and over like a mentalist. I don’t know if it wer’ just me imagining it, but I swear the rhythm of it started to speed up just before the door swung open, and then when it did swing open it was so powerful that it hit the wall and bounced right back shut again. I had just enough time to see our Lou absolutely pegging it towards the door from the other side of the room. She opened it and nearly knocked me to the floor she barged out that fast. Before I had chance to shout ‘wait!’ she was through the front room and down the stairs. We both ran out of the flat and I caught my breath while Lou calmed herself down.
Neither of us had any shoes or keys or anything and there was no way we were going back in there alone so we ended up sat on the grass in the back-garden for the rest of the day. We started getting hungry and daring each other to go in and get some crisps and stuff by about six but we couldn’t get any closer than the bottom of the stairs each time. I’m not a puff or owt, it’s just we’d been stressing each other out all day talking about it and our Lou was useless too; she kept freaking out whenever we went near the door. So anyway, in the end we decided to sit and starve instead; it was easier.
Mam got back just as it was starting to get dark and we told her about what had happened. She didn’t seem very surprised; she said she’d known the silence was too good to last.