Primary Genre(s): Mystery, Thriller
Published: 9 April 2019 by Thomas & Mercer
Page count: 256
Memorable Factor: Low
Ending: Satisfying, if slightly convenient
Would I recommend it: Maybe
Commission Link: https://amzn.to/2XKYQL5
My rating: ★★★☆☆
Synopsis from Goodreads
Ignorant of civilization and cautioned against its evils, nineteen-year-old Wren and her two sisters, Sage and Evie, were raised in off-the-grid isolation in a primitive cabin in upstate New York. When the youngest grows gravely ill, their mother leaves with the child to get help from a nearby town. And they never return. As months pass, hope vanishes. Supplies are low. Livestock are dying. A brutal winter is bearing down. Then comes the stranger. He claims to be looking for the girls’ mother, and he’s not leaving without them. To escape, Wren and her sister must break the rule they’ve grown up with: never go beyond the forest.
Past the thicket of dread, they come upon a house on the other side of the pines. This is where Wren and Sage must confront something more chilling than the unknowable. They’ll discover what’s been hidden from them, what they’re running from, and the secrets that have left them in the dark their entire lives.
This is one of those books that is good for a quick read. It doesn’t ask much of the reader and it is easy to follow. Here are my pros and cons:
- The book is presented as two seemingly separate stories in an alternating chapter format until you reach the halfway mark where the stories merge. Both stories were interesting by themselves, and appeared to be the polar opposite of each other, so I found myself trying to anticipate how in the world the two stories would merge. I found that to be an effective way to tell the story.
- The pacing of the book was great. I thought the author’s writing style was easy to read, interesting things kept happening, and the story moved along at a very good pace. I read this book in about 3.5 hours. I wouldn’t say it was unputdownable, but it was interesting enough to keep me reading on a lazy afternoon.
- The Nicolette character was driving me nuts at the beginning of the story. This is a pro because her character at least invoked some emotion in me!
- This story is described as a “chilling novel of psychological suspense”. I disagree. I think it was a good story, with some interesting twists and turns, but I personally wouldn’t describe it as “chilling” or “psychological suspense”. If anything it was a family drama/mystery.
- I wish I had felt a little bit more connected to the sisters, Wren and Sage. They felt a little artificial to me, and I couldn’t quite relate to them or empathize with their situation as much as I think the author intended. I can’t pinpoint why exactly, but I felt like the story would have benefited if their characters had been a little more developed.
- Some of the situations in the book seemed to be a tad too convenient to be believed. Just a little too tidy and coincidental. Then again, stranger things have happened in real life I guess!
- I feel like I needed a little more backstory on the girls’ situation. I understand what happened, but I didn’t feel like I got quite enough about why it happened. Again, maybe the author didn’t want us to know why, but I think the book would have benefited from more detail in that respect.
I have a term I use for books like this – surface read. Everything about the story was on the surface — there was no emotional depth for me, no real connection with the characters. I did enjoy the plot (even if it was a tad convenient) and I wasn’t bored. Identifying this as a surface read doesn’t mean I think the book was bad… for me it just means it lacked some depth and probably won’t be very memorable for me overall.
This was my first Minka Kent book and based on her writing style alone I will very likely read another book she has written.
Thank you NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer for a free electronic ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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