The Folly, by Gemma Amor

6 Dec 2023

The Book

The Folly
Pages: 240
Age Group: Adult
Published on 5 Dec 2023
Publisher: Polis Books
Available on:


An ex-con, wrongly convicted of his wife’s murder and subsequently acquitted, and his daughter move into an abandoned decorative folly on the cornish coastline to escape their past, but a stranger bearing secrets—and an important message—soon catches up with them.

Morgan always knew her father, Owen, never murdered her mother, and has spent the last six years campaigning for his release from prison. After a retrial, a fresh jury acquits him,  and he is set free into an uncertain world. A pandemic is sweeping across the nation, Morgan is broke, and both of them have the heavy stench of a highly publicized trial. Both need a change of scene, as Morgan can no longer live in the house that was last decorated by her Mother’s blood after she fell down the stairs - the accident her father was wrongly accused of orchestrating. Or was he?

Salvation comes in the form of a tall, dark and somewhat notorious decorative granite tower on the Cornish coastline known only as ‘The Folly’. The owner is used to rehabilitating ex-cons, and offers them new life, in exchange for taking care of The Folly. It’s an offer that is too good to refuse. 

At first the Folly is idyllic, but soon a stranger arrives who seems obsessed with Morgan’s dead mother. The stranger acts like her mother, talks like her mother, and wears her dead mother’s clothes. It quickly becomes apparent that he has a message, but with each new encounter, Morgan becomes increasingly unsure as to what that message is, and worse, who it is she is dealing with, a deranged stranger hell-bent on vengeance, or her restless Mother’s spirit itself? 

As a strained father and daughter become increasingly uncomfortable in the Folly, the stranger continues to haunt and taunt them. Questions pile who exactly is this stranger? Why must he speak, act and dress like her deceased mother? Is her father as innocent as she always thought? And, most importantly, what happened the night her mother died? 

An atmospheric blend of the The Lighthouse, with hints of Du Maurier’s Rebecca, played out on a lonely, Cornish backdrop, THE FOLLY is visceral mystery and family drama, a dark examination of love, loyalty, guilt and possession that draws on the very real horror of betrayal by those closest to us, by those we love the best.   

My Review

The Folly is an excellent coastal horror novella, which explores themes such as grief, identity and isolation, written by Gemma Amor. Morgan's father was accused of killing her mother, but she was always sure of his innocency; after passing the last seven years campaigning for his release, he's released, and after selling the old family house, they come to live as the caretakers of a coastal light-house style tower in Cornwall.

Soon, the isolation that Morgan lived during the years of the imprisonment is substituted by the isolation that is tied to their new position; at least now she has her father as partner. However, the apparition of a mysterious man spouting what seems to be non-sense, but which deeply affects Morgan, shaking the foundations of the relationship with his father, that confidence in the lack of culpability on her mother's death; being him the only possible company in this remote setting, cracks will start to appear while the past of Morgan's parents is uncovered.

With a voice that touches the poetic many times, Amor maximizes the use of the isolation to weave a story that drinks from many Gothic elements, slowly drawing the horror to the setting, never being excessive or too oppressive. It gives some chills, a sort of enjoyable tension that works marvels for the situation.
Themes as the effect of isolation in the minds and how identity is shaken when the foundations of said identity disappear are explored through the characters masterfully.

The Folly is an excellent modern Gothic horror novella, another proof of Amor's writing skills; perfect to read on a chilly night, and that I recommend to anybody that loves the genre.

The Author/s

Gemma Amor

Gemma Amor

Hi, I’m Gemma Amor and I’m a Bram Stoker Award Nominated horror author, illustrator, amateur voice actor and podcaster, published independently and on Amazon. I like genre-fluid, emotional and character driven horror, and try to reflect this in my work. 

I also have a background in Marketing, which some will say is irrefutable proof that I have no soul.