“You are not wanted here. Go away from Hallstead Island or you will be very sorry you stayed.” Macy Stoddard had hoped to ease the grief of losing her parents in a fiery car crash by accepting a job as a private nurse to the wealthy and widowed Alexandria Hallstead. But her first sight of Summerplace is of a dark and forbidding home. She quickly finds its winding halls and shadowy rooms filled with secrets and suspicions. Alex seems happy to have Macy’s help, but others on the island, including Alex’s sinister servants and hostile relatives, are far less welcoming. Watching eyes, veiled threats…slowly, surely, the menacing spirit of Hallstead Island closes in around Macy. And she can only wonder if her story will become just one of the many secrets of Hallstead House…
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This was a nice afternoon read told from first person POV. Macy is a young character and that was reflected in her actions throughout the story. Some of the choices she made were questionable, but I thought her actions did have merit.
I liked the idea behind this novel. The fact that the characters were on an island rather than just at some creepy old house added an element of originality. The standoffish housekeeper and her husband and the other interesting guests that showed up throughout the book kept me wondering where the author was ultimately going. I like it when I can’t completely figure the story out.
There is a sweet little bit of romance but it didn’t take over the plot entirely. The mysterious happenings in Hallstead house are accompanied by the strange layout of the house itself and I thought the author did a really good job with her descriptions. You get more than just a cursory glimpse of what the house looks like inside and out.
What I didn’t love about this book:
The author seems to recount every single action of her characters, especially her main character. I don’t feel that I need a step-by-step announcement when the character is getting up, putting on slippers, opening a door, walking down the stairs, turning to the right, opening another door, etc. Simply telling me the character went down the stairs and entered whatever relevant room there is would be enough.
I also thought some of the dialogue felt a little forced and weird. Some of the things that Macy says just seemed out of place or strange.
Overall, I thought this was an enjoyable read and the author was great at giving sense of place and telling her story. If you enjoy books that have subtle mysteries, this would be a good choice.
This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through Netgalley.