Synopsis according to Goodreads:
"One summer night in Vermont, 12-year-old Lisa went into the woods behind her house and never came out again. Before she disappeared, she told her little brother Sam about a door that led to a magical place where she would meet the King of the Fairies and become his queen.
Fifteen years later, Phoebe is in love with Sam , a practical, sensible man who doesn't fear the dark and doesn't have bad dreams—who, in fact, helps Phoebe ignore her own. But suddenly they are faced with a series of eerie, unexplained occurrences that challenge Sam’s hard-headed, realistic view of the world. As they question their reality, a terrible promise Sam made years ago is revealed and could destroy them all."
Don't Breathe a Word is incredibly compelling. In the way of all great psychological thrillers, it keeps you guessing, right until the end, what the true reality is.
What happened to Lisa? Who is to blame? How was it done?
All of this is played out, not by some savvy detective, but by a 35 year old woman with a string of bad boyfriends, a crappy home life, and plenty of quirk. She, like many of us, is an adult who is still figuring herself out. And while our pasts are nothing alike, I found myself cheering for her, relating to her, and laughing at her turns of phrase.
This novel is a roller coaster ride, flashing between Lisa in the past and Phoebe in the present. There are some disturbing themes in the book, utterly appropriate for the narrative, but reader beware. Also, some swearing (same context).
And although many reviewers I know hated the ending, I thought it was brilliant. This novel is definitely a psychological thriller, with one foot rooted in ancient mythology. It reminded me a bit of the old movie The Wicker Man, in that expectations are played with, reality is fluid, and it's the kind of horror that sidles up to you unexpectedly.
I recommend it for fans of psychological thrillers, dark mythology, magical realism, realistic female protagonists, being kept on the edge of your seat, and masterful storytelling.
Just don't read it while out in the woods.
Labels: book love, book review, creepy, don't breathe a word, fairytales, female protagonist, jennifer mcmahon, literary friday, magic, mystery, mythology, psychological, thriller