Excerpt from The Hollow Ground by Natalie S. Harnett, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Hollow Ground

A Novel

by Natalie S. Harnett

The Hollow Ground
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    May 2014, 336 pages
    Aug 2015, 336 pages

  • Rate this book

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

"Auntie?" I shouted through the sliver of screen visible where the window was open. There was no answer. The flecks of snow had thickened to flakes that had a tinge of yellow to them. The color was odd and pretty all at once and I couldn't decide if it reminded me of something sick or of something lit up just barely by sun. Dying light, I decided, remembering a poem Auntie had read to me. And then I got afraid.

Slowly I made my way onto the sunporch. With just a push on the back door, it opened wide and I gagged on the sulfur smell the fire sometimes caused. I stared toward the corner of the yard where the shed stood, but the air was so steamy I could only see a few feet in front of me. Fear cracked my voice as I called, "Auntie? I can't see you. Auntie?"

Cautiously I took first one step, then another, the fog growing hotter. "Auntie?" I called again, my voice now a squeak. I took a few more steps and then just stood there gawking at the gaping hole where the corner of the yard used to be. For what seemed like forever I stood there silent, when I could have been shouting for help, when I could have been saving Auntie.

It wasn't until flames burst up from the pit that the first scream escaped my throat. I screamed to Auntie, I screamed to the fire. I screamed so that God would have to hear, would have to listen.

I don't know for how long I stood there, but by the time a fireman picked me up, my mouth was as dry as dust and hardly any sound came out. "She's gone," he said. "The ground gave way." He carried me out the alley to the front yard, my skin singed from the smoke, my eyes stinging.

"My fault," I whimpered.

"No," he said. "There was nothing you could do. Hush now."

But I knew it was my fault. Already I knew. It was my fault because Auntie had told me the curse's secret—that it lived inside each one of us—and for that the curse had taken her away.

Copyright © 2014 by Natalie S. Harnett

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
    by Mario Giordano
    Munich matron and self-described worldly sophisticate, Isolde Oberreiter, has decided to retire to a...
  • Book Jacket: Of Arms and Artists
    Of Arms and Artists
    by Paul Staiti
    In the late eighteenth-century, the United States of America was still an emerging country, ...
  • Book Jacket: So Say the Fallen
    So Say the Fallen
    by Stuart Neville
    Noir crime fiction – Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett anyone? – is an American invention...
Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Bone Tree
by Greg Iles

An epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Les Parisiennes
    by Anne Sebba

    How the women of Paris lived, loved, and died under Nazi occupation.

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win The World of Poldark

Win the book & DVD

Enter to win The World of Poldark and the full first series on DVD.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One S D N M A S

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.


Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!

Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.