Review: The Gentling Box by Lisa Mannetti

I first read about The Gentling Box when someone happened to post the book trailer to twitter. I watched it and fell madly in love, then I discovered it had won the Bram Stoker Award, but money was short. So I put it on a back burner as a ‘really, really want’ item.  Several weeks later when I spotted a review on Paperbookhorror I finally broke down and bought book for my Kindle. Do not wait like I did; go and get this now.

Once I finally had my hands on a copy of The Gentling Box I was entirely devoured by the world that Mannetti created. I hid my Kindle under my keyboard at work and read when no one was looking because I could not put it down. I read through lunch, my food untouched, because I was so captivated.

Mannetti takes this entire world of gypsies, magic, and curses and brings it to such a private, personal place that I couldn’t help but squirm at times, at things that were happening, at things I knew would happen to these characters. It’s a good dark work that can make you uncomfortable. Many people can paint their world red with gore and guts but to make the reader truly uncomfortable is a gift, a delicious gift.

The Gentling Box focuses on the trials of a half-gypsy horse-trader’s family. Imre is flawed and not a perfect hero by any means, which makes his story all the more painful and poignant as he struggles against the horrible evil of the sorceress, Anyeta, and with his own mistakes and weaknesses. If he fails his wife and daughter will face a fate far worse than death, but to save them he will have to utilize an evil that has haunted him since childhood, the gentling box.

Mannetti’s prose is fluid and elegant, describing lush scenery, sordid affairs, and brutal murders with a grace and elegance that is ethereal and haunting. Each of the characters from the major players to the ones that only appear for a page or two are beautifully constructed and develop more and more as the novel progresses.

It is a breathtaking read because every word creates an entire new, dark world that slowly consumes you. Mannetti is truly an artist and this novel showcases her talents as a blossoming leader in horror writing.

Buy The Gentling Box here

Check out Lisa Manneti’s site here



  1. Kate Said:

    Oooh. This review has me REALLY wanting to read this book now…!

    • Judy Black Said:

      I really recommend it. It’s one of the best books I’ve read this year, had me cringing and squirming but I couldn’t stop reading until I finally reached that very last word.

  2. […] The Gentling Box by Lisa Mannetti […]

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