A forgotten island holds the answers to more than one mystery in this haunting page-turner.
Charlotte and her parents live alone on Levay Island, surrounded by cliffs and separated from the coast of England by a misty sea. After her traumatic accident earlier in the year, she’s been confined to the island, struggling with memory lapses and plagued by the feeling that something isn’t quite right with her family.
In a small town across the water, Ajay is reeling from the disappearance of his friend Oleander. He can’t shake the dire circumstances under which she went missing or her erratic behavior in the days prior.
Ajay decides to retrace Oleander’s steps, and when his investigation leads him to Charlotte’s island, the two find kinship and a common goal in their search for truth. But to their dismay, it seems the more they try to probe the island’s secrets, the more it fights to stay forgotten.
Both the gloominess of Ajay’s seaside town and the crumbling grandeur of Charlotte’s island lend atmospheric dread that complements the story’s gothic elements: unreliable narrators, visions, uncanny occurrences, and more. Twists and turns abound, but the heart of the book is its poignant exploration of regret, grief, and loss. Ajay is of South Asian descent, bringing subtle tension to interactions with the otherwise predominantly White cast, including Charlotte and her parents.A modern gothic thriller with emotional depth. (Mystery. 14-18)
After four years working on a book, it’s hard to see it properly, and self-doubt eats away at you. This was particularly the case for this one, as so much of it was written during the darkest days of the pandemic, while juggling homeschooling and full-time work, and feeling like I was failing at everything. Having the first review be so positive means a lot.
I was particularly delighted because I adore gothic novels. At one point during the pandemic it seemed they were all I could read (which is probably why I wrote one!). I’m so glad I hit the right notes with this.