Crooked Lane Books | 13 April 2021 | 304 pgs
Source: NetGalley 

40-year-old June Bennett returns to her childhood home at Avril Island after receiving news of her older sister's death. May Bennett had visited the family's lawyer regarding the property left by their late mother but unfortunately she died in a fatal car accident on her way back. The two sisters had always believed that their mother had sold off Avril Island ever since their father's disappearance decades ago but now that May has gone, June has no choice but to return to the Island to search for some answers. 

June couldn't remember much of her childhood times in Avril lsland, but the residents do remember the Bennetts clearly. She later learns from the residents that they believe her father may be murdered instead of disappeared as what her mother had claimed. June didn't know what to think of this new revelation, but she did reacquaint with their caretaker's son, Ezra, and soon find herself attracted to him. As June continues to dig into the past, strange things start happening around Avril lsland. First, the unexplained noises in the night and shadowy figures disappearing into the woods. Then, missing family possessions showing up and doors locking on their own. What secrets do Avril Island hold that the residents are reluctant to talk about it? 

This story has a few elements that held my attention. The atmospheric Avril lsland, the secrets and deceptions, and then there's the bond/dynamics between the two sisters and most of all, the alternating POVs between June and May, who's dead and seemed to be hovering around June. May's narrative was vague but it isn't without reason as her voice adds part of the intrigue to this story. Despite a thriller, I felt the strength lies instead in the relationship between the two sisters (their childhood in particularly) and the family dynamics of the Bennett family. Avril Island was another draw as it was well described. My only complaint was I wished there was more developments between the sisters in their adulthood. While June was an interesting character, she's not really likeable in some ways and some of her actions really puzzled me, to say the least. Nevertheless, it was an engaging read and I'll be curious to see what the author has in store for her next book. 
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12 Responses
  1. I like atmospheric settings and complex family dynamics. This sounds good even if it has some weak spots. Great review, Melody!

  2. Lark Says:

    I always like a book with an island setting. And that cover is beautiful!

  3. Melody Says:

    Wendy - Thanks, Wendy! It was a good read and I find May's narrative refreshing since I rarely come across a ghost narrator!

  4. Melody Says:

    Lark - I love a book with an island setting, too! There's something mysterious about them, isn't it?

  5. jenclair Says:

    Island settings, like boarding schools, are always a draw for me. Reducing the world to a tiny microcosm has benefits for a mystery or a thriller. I'm really curious about this one!

  6. Melody Says:

    Jenclair - I share the same sentiments, Jenclair. There's something mysterious about isolated setting, isn't it? This was an OK read to me for a thriller. More character-driven, I'd say.

  7. the bookworm Says:

    That's a great cover. Glad you enjoyed this one, I like atmospheric settings like Avril lsland. Great review.

  8. Iliana Says:

    That cover makes me think that this is a more of a spooky/supernatural type book. Which I guess there may be a bit of an element to that? Anyway, sounds like an interesting read.

  9. Melody Says:

    Naida - Thanks, Naida! There's something about atmospheric settings, isn't it? All the more better if the place is isolated. ;)

  10. Melody Says:

    Iliana - May is the ghost narrator here so I suppose this adds as a supernatural theme. Anyways, I find it interesting since ghost narrators are so rare. ;)

  11. I'm glad to hear you liked it overall. I've seen mixed reviews for this one, but I'm still intrigued by the island setting & ghost story.

  12. Melody Says:

    Diana - I found the atmospheric setting and the ghost narrative are the biggest strength in this story so overall it was an engaging read to me.

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