The premise immediately caught my attention– a mysterious death in a small town in Vermont, a diary containing secrets, the past and the present intersecting. Sign me up! The novel alternates between several main voices, including the historical diarist in question, Sara Harrison Shea, Ruthie, the teenaged current occupant of Sara’s home, and Katherine, an artist who has journeyed to West Hall to get answers surrounding her husband’s death. McMahon does a beautiful job of painting a picture of an isolated Vermont town, and I enjoyed her descriptions of the wintry isolation. Where the book starts to go down hill is around the 30% mark. Somewhere, the plot jumps the shark and I found it hard to stay engaged with the rest of the novel. Honestly, I would have really enjoyed it more of the book had focused less on the present and more on the past, which I think McMahon writes about with much more excitement and zest.
That said, don’t necessarily pass this one by– so far my review seems to be in the minority on Goodreads. I really like the suggestion that another reader made about this being more YA than adult thriller/mystery. It’s a good bedside book for those evening where you’re looking to read a few chapters before sleep.
Have you read any of McMahon’s other works?
Available for pre-order from Amazon, and will be available February 11th, 2014.
xo The Book Bird
Disclaimer: I received an advance copy of this novel for review from the publisher via NetGalley.