Mr. Splitfoot by Samantha Hunt

Mr. Splitfoot* is Samantha Hunt’s latest novel and it’s a strange, intense journey for fans of Gothic fiction. Nat and Ruth are two teenagers living in the Love of Christ! Foster Home, Farm, and Mission. Exclamation point included. The founder of the home, Father Arthur, only wants the most extreme cases of child abandonment. He doesn’t want families that may reunite or have a long lost aunt step in, he wants the lost causes.


While this material is certainly dark, it’s mixed with enough humor and absurdity to keep the novel from becoming too grim. The Mother of Love of Christ! sings Black Sabbath’s “Mama, Mama, I’m Coming Home” to the motherless children as they do the heavy lifting and Ruth ponders the attractiveness of Jesus.

Ruth takes a long peek down her nose. “Yeah. Jesus is a hottie.” Ruth does love Jesus, same way she loves Lincoln, Robin Hood, Martin Luther King, and Nat. Handsome men who fight for justice.

Nat and Ruth, siblings by choice, know they need to find a way to earn a living before they age out of the home and that comes in the form of Mr. Splitfoot. He helps Nat speak to the dead. It begins with the other orphans, but soon draws the attention of the mysterious Mr. Bell, who brings Nat and Ruth a much more profitable clientele.

Interspersed with Nat and Ruth’s life as spiritualists is Cora’s story. Cora is Ruth’s pregnant niece. One day Ruth arrives unannounced, unable to speak, but insistent that Cora accompany her – destination unknown. Although the novel sounds – and is – very odd, it is also genuinely well-crafted. Samantha Hunt has written an intricately plotted, ghostly love story that I would highly recommend. It is a novel that I am certain will stick with me through the entirety of the coming year.

The beats and static, the clicks and clacks of a woman thinking hard about falling in love across space and time, across death. The way a mother whispers to her child. The way an old man sings, a record of lives lived.

I hope your reading year has started off as well as mine has. What was (is?) your first book of the year?

*I received a review copy of this novel in exchange for my honest opinion.

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  • Katie McD @ Bookish Tendencies

    I also really enjoyed this one. It was weird in all the right kind of ways. Glad it worked for you too 🙂

    • Rory O’Connor

      Weird in the right kind of ways describes it perfectly!

  • Kathy

    I really want to read this one but am waiting on the library to order it instead of buying it, myself. My library doesn’t coincide with my reading plans or tastes always, and they really need to get cracking on that. 😉

    • Rory O’Connor

      I am a librarian and I’m one of the people who processes the new books and gets them out to patrons…and sometimes the drive to be fast isn’t there! It can take way too long!

      • Kathy

        I’ve requested that my library order it and in the mean time, I received an ARC of it, so I’m excited to start it this week. I would love it if my library could pre-order the Indie Next list and have the books on or near release day, but I know that’s not living in reality (I get that it’s not like pre-ordering from Amazon). I’m just another Amazon Prime two-day shipping receive it on release day spoiled book addict who wants them all. lol

  • Andi

    Ghostly love story! Yes, yes it is! I just loved this one to bits.

    • Rory O’Connor

      Me too! I’m anticipating this being one of my favorites this year.

  • tanya (52 books or bust)

    I seem to be in the minority, but Mr Splitfoot did not work for me at all. I was hopeful and persevered through to the end, but it just wasn’t for me.

    • Rory O’Connor

      It took me a little while to get in to, but once I got into a reading rhythm with the story, all was well.

  • Bonnie

    I actually just added this one to my TBR but was still a bit on the fence. Thanks for solidifying its spot; I’m sure it appreciates it. 🙂

    • Rory O’Connor

      I bet. I hope you like it, it seems polarizing.

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