My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Publication date: Sept 11, 2012
Maddy looked hopeful and beautiful in that moment. What would it feel like, I wondered, to crack the brush against her skull? An awful notion. She was mine, and I was hers. And yet she had a lovely face — I could not stop myself from thinking this — certainly lovelier than my own. But what did Nathan think? A horrid question. If Nathan ever chose one of us, the fantasy would be broken. Floodwaters would rise.
Jane Silverlake has been friends with Madeline Lee and Nathan Ashe since they pulled her out of her solitary world that had enveloped her since her mother’s death. They shared everything together, including the knowledge of Jane’s supernatural “gift” — the ability to hear and see the “souls” of objects around her, and transfer that power to others via touch. Nathan comes back from war a different person, and joins up with a dangerous cult. When he goes missing from one of the cult’s secret gatherings, Jane and Maddy take it upon themselves to discover what has happened to him, not just to rescue him, but because Jane fears that somehow she herself may have been the one to bring harm upon him.
This book is written with lyrical intricacy and a Gothic flair that hearkens back to classics such as Wuthering Heights or Dracula, with other-worldly imagery befitting Jane’s ability. Once it got going, the story held my attention, and the characters were complex and unpredictable.
The narration goes back and forth between present and past as Jane recalls the events leading up to Nathan’s disappearance, which was confusing at times, and made it hard to grasp any sense of chronology. Once Jane started discovering more about who — or what — she really is, it got to be delve a bit too much in paganistic mysticism for my tastes, which made the resolution not at all what I was expecting, and a bit “out there” for what I thought was a historical fiction novel with a bit of supernatural power involved; it really ended up being more fantasy/mysticism than I expected.
Overall: Fans of Gothic literature may enjoy this dark mystery if you don’t mind the pagan mysticism thrown in. Personally, it just wasn’t my cup of tea.
Thank you to the publisher for providing me a review copy of this novel!