The Consuming by Rhonda Hopkins isn't easily characterized as a ghost story or a haunted house. In fact, I think it's more a story about estrangement and denial. If you take out the paranormal elements, you have a tragic drama centered around a young woman trying to make sense of her family's buried past. Her uncle becomes a broken man due to his unwillingness to remove himself from a toxic situation, which leads to his eventual death. Unfortunately, Serena seems to suffer from the same affliction.
My only complaint is the abrupt ending. Hopkins takes readers into a dark place, filled with troubled spirits, only to abandon readers to their own conclusions. I might have overlooked this if more history had been revealed about Jesse, Edgar and Gretchen. I feel like Hopkins left me locked in the library.
I first began reading horror in the late 1980s due to ongoing night terrors (ex: I would see corpses trying to crawl through my ground-level bedroom windows at night)...a face my fear type of decision was made by me. There has always been something cathartic about exposing my imagination the genre. Reading about different kinds of monsters keeps my monsters at a safe distance.
So, someone like Serena in The Consuming is a mystery to me. I wonder how on earth a person could choose to stay in strange house alone after seeing a corpse. I'm not even sure if I'd have the presence of mind to grab my car keys as I hauled ass out of the damned house. Hopefully, I'd have my phone to order up an Uber.
However, the big question, the deciding factor in the hauling-ass plan is: how bad does something have to be before a person is convinced the supernatural and/or unnatural threat is real?
I once asked zombiephiles if they would believe the dead had become undead before or after the zombies were breaking down their doors. Something to think about...