Paperback, 272 pages
Expected publication: June 11th 2019 by Gallery Books (first published July 5th 2018)
A twisty and propulsive read, this dark psychological thriller of sibling rivalry, love, betrayal, and the dire consequences of family fallout brilliantly plays on our fears of loneliness and abandonment, harkening to the modern gothic bestsellers by Ruth Ware and Liz Nugent.
Is a story ever just a story?
|2018 Cover Design|
Mac, a retired academic and writer, is working on a new collection of folktales, inspired by local legends, and at the insistence of her only child, Arthur, she hires a young assistant, Lucie, to live in a cottage on her property and help her transcribe them. What Arthur doesn’t know is that his mother is determined to keep the secrets of her past from ever being discovered. And what Mac doesn’t know is that Lucie has a few complicated secrets of her own.
The creaking presence of an ancient water mill next to Mac’s property that used to grind wheat into flour serves as an eerie counterpoint for these two women as they circle warily around each other, haunted by the local legend of two long-dead sisters, ready to point accusing fingers from the pages of history.
This atmospheric page turner evocatively gives voice to the question: What happens when you fall in love with the wrong person?
This book is a re-release. It was first published in July 2018 under the same name. It also has a new cover. Not sure why the new packaging but the new cover is much better than the old one, IMHO. You can just imagine old bones being ground up by the old mill. Chilling, eh?
I wish the book had been half as compelling as the cover. It has some outstanding ratings and reviews on Goodreads so maybe this just isn’t my cup of tea and take this all with a grain of salt. I think I wanted to love this but came away disappointed. I feel like a bit of a bully giving low ratings. Realistically 2.5 would be an average rating out of 5. So, over all, just okay for me.
It’s really bad when you want to gush over something but are only left with regret. This book was not something I could completely invest in. It had two unreliable characters. Not one but two! I mean, really? I couldn’t and wouldn’t want to root for them. That alone made it a struggle for me to get to the end of the title. Plus it had another trope I really despise: a story inside a story.
It is hard enough sometimes to follow the main plot of a book. When you add another entirely different storyline, it becomes a convoluted mess. Add again to that the fact that pieces of this story inside the story has some bearing on the main plot and my mind starts to scramble. For some people, this trope is their jam. Not for me, unfortunately. I completely skipped the story inside the story in Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell and still enjoyed it. Mainly, I don’t want to be further confused by an alternate storyline that may or may not have a bearing on the current plot.
I got to a point where I wondered why I was still reading this. I didn’t care about the characters. Their actions as time went on made me hate them more and more. Evil brewed in them both. Mac, the seventy year old mom of Arthur, unraveled and treated him horribly. Lucie knew she shouldn’t sleep with her sister’s husband but seemed to like him more knowing it might upset her sister when she found out. They both went out of their way to be buttheads.
Were there light moments? Sure. Mac’s son, Arthur seemed to bring the light to the darkness of this. Not sure why he felt Lucie was the girl for him. I wanted to tell him to run and take his tasty treats to someone who deserved them more.
Like I said earlier, rooting for the characters make me push through books like this. With such unlikable protagonists, I was underwhelmed. I wanted to move on. It was a definite struggle for me. But then again, I am not the right market for this book.
This may be your total jam. So don’t pass it up based on this review. Refer to all the other 4 ad 5 star ratings this book received on Goodreads. Make your own decision. This could be your cup of spooky tea.
I received this as an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) in return for an honest review. I thank NetGalley, the publisher and the author for allowing me to read this title.