“Moody, suspenseful … gorgeously written.”
— Julia Dahl, author of Invisible City
“Saturated with suspense.”
— Amber Cowie, author of Raven Lane
I adore everything Emily Carpenter writes and absolutely loved the first book in this “series,” Burying the Honeysuckle Girls. I put “series” in quotes because, while the books are linked, you absolutely do not need to read Burying the Honeysuckle Girls to enjoy the wonderfully thick atmosphere of Reviving the Hawthorn Sisters (Lake Union).
Eve Candler has maintained her grandmother’s charitable foundation in the eight years since her death. But Eve knows one secret that no one else does: Her grandmother, the famous Dove Jarrod, wasn’t a faith healer and evangelist — she was a con artist. Eve is working with a documentary team to capture the life of her “miracle worker” grandmother when she is assaulted by a stranger who threatens to expose the lies in Eve’s family and accuses Dove of murder.
Reviving the Hawthorn Sisters is a flawless dual timeline narrative — modern-day Eve, following the twisted path of her ancestor’s life to uncover a web of lies, deceit and murder; and the contrasting Depression-era Pritchard Psychiatric Hospital, a monstrous and evil insane asylum in 1930s Alabama. The two narratives are expertly woven together, each holding a mirror up to the other. Both women in the past and present are stalked by men threatening to expose their secrets, and the secrets themselves are intertwined in a way only Emily Carpenter can pull off.
What always sets Carpenter’s books apart is her Southern Gothic setting, and Reviving the Hawthorn Sisters is no exception. Everything about the story is steeped in deep Southern history, intrigue, mystery and a claustrophobic sense of dread. I can just see the Spanish moss, feel the humidity, smell the magnolias blooming.
With a bit of romance in the hunky Griff, a road trip adventure, and a bit of buried treasure, Reviving the Hawthorn Sisters is the escapist fiction I needed to occupy my weekend. I cannot recommend this book enough to any reader who loves Southern Gothic stories with a hint of the supernatural. I give it an easy million stars!
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