The Monster Lady  


Book Cover: Banished
Part of the Venari series:
Editions:ePub: £ 1.99Kindle: £ 1.99Paperback: £ 12.00
ISBN: 978-1999645267

Welcome to the monstrous world of Venari. Try not to get eaten.

Elkbury is an idyllic village, hidden away in a rural area of pseudo-medieval Venari. It’s a place free of death and disease due to a mysterious ceremony called the Banishment. It’s a secret system that has worked well for decades. But, secrets rarely stay secret forever. When Hedwin’s grandmother is about to undertake her own Banishment, he and his best friend Laura Beth decide to find out what their beloved Anastasia is about to experience.

Just like disease, murder has no place in Elkbury, but it has wormed its way in. Wren Goodwort takes it upon herself to find the mysterious killer and clear her name in the process.

Soon Wren, Hedwin, Laura Beth, and the rest of the villagers are thrown together to fight for their lives as deadly, monstrous, and hungry secrets are uncovered and Elkbury’s delicate balance is destroyed.

“Banished” will introduce you to your new favourite monsters; some human, some not.


Want more?

"Banished" is part of a small series that introduces the wonderful, if monstrous, world of Venari.

Books in this series:

Prequel Novella: Creep (out summer 2021)
Book 1: Banished
Book 2: Everfrost (out summer 2021)

The books can be read in any order, but there are little nuggets of fun that will be enjoyed if read chronologically.

Please note these books do contain some foul language. The folks in Venari have potty mouths.

Cover Artists:
Reviews:The Coycaterpillar Reads on Amazon wrote:

Banished is the newest offering from one of my favourite indie authors, Lou Yardley. She teaches us that deception is a fruit best left well alone. Every village has its secrets and Elkbury is no exception, the residents will find this out the hard way. Wren, Hedwin and the villagers will come to regret no questioning everything. On the outside it seems they all have the perfect life – a safe village to live out their lives, no death and disease, all thanks to a secret ceremony called The Banishment. You know what they say about illusions, they are there to be shattered.

The Banishment ceremony should ensure that murder isn’t a part of Elkbury but alas with the confines of human nature it has found a way to take root once again. Starting Banished immediately had my back teeth crunching and my stomach churning. Slowly, slowly, kind of like leaving a back gate open, the doubts start creeping in. Once they were embedded in my brain they would multiply and fester and the more I looked around the more I feared for the residents. They say that finding out the truth will set you free but what if the truth will tear you apart?

A.J on Amazon wrote:

Elkbury is a quiet village, off the beaten path. Life seems good there—no one dies of illness or old age, they simply go through a ceremony known as the Banishment if symptoms of either appear, and life goes on for the rest of Elkbury’s citizens. The Order facilitates the Banishment, but keeps the details a closely guarded secret. The people believe the ceremony is for the greater good—but is it?

The initial setting of this book gave me definite vibes of The Village: A small, isolated town that obviously harbors some ugly secrets, but no one knows who to believe or the truth about major aspects of their lives.

Outsiders rarely travel to Elkbury, and if they do, they often don’t leave. The town is surrounded by a dense forest inhabited by daemons, making the passage dangerous. But the Order seems to keep the daemons at bay, and life goes on. I enjoyed the set up, and it made for a perfect backdrop for the rest of the story.

There are a lot of characters mentioned in this book, but it’s written in such a way that the individual characters aren’t really the focus. It’s the village, the Order, and the secrets it’s hiding that really made this a compelling story. And as the story progresses, I appreciated the format more and more. This is a book where you probably don’t want to get too attached to any character…

As things begin to unravel in Elkbury, there are more than daemons and secrets to plague the residents. Ancient bargains with inhuman beings come into play, just as undead begin to appear. At that point, the story goes from The Village vibes to almost a zombie-apocalypse feel. Fun times.

There’s clearly more at work in this world than what is presented, and with each chapter, something new (and usually disturbing) comes to light. With each revelation, the tension increased and the pace speed up. By the 85% mark, it was hard to put this book down and I still wasn’t sure if anyone was going to survive—and Elkbury was still imploding.

Without spoilers, the ending was like nothing I could have predicted. The author did a good job with that twist. And that’s all I’m going to say.

I’m personally torn on how to classify this book. It definitely has some fantasy elements, but the story is so dark and gory in parts, I’m also leaning toward calling it horror. Is fantasy horror a thing? If not, it should be, because Banished would be right at home in that category.

If you like horror or dark fantasy, creepy villages, or zombie apocalypse-type settings, definitely check out this book.

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