This Gothic contemporary romance, with a bit of suspense, is one of the best reads this year so far. It was named a LibraryReads book for August by librarians across the country (including the Media Maven). You know those books where the setting becomes a character? This is one such read. I was immediately drawn into the atmosphere-rich novel, and could barely put it down. Susan Elizabeth Phillips does an excellent job of setting the book on a remote island in Maine. Even more so, she describes the old Harp house as almost a person.
The heroine, Annie, is a puppeteer and actor. She’s a normal person like you and me. Mostly. The way that the puppets have a life of their own at first is charming, if a little creepy. She’s come to the island for inheritance purposes, and to fully be left her cottage she must spend an entire two months on the island. As a child she spent time there, and she was dreadfully picked on by Theo Harp, which was made all the worse after she developed a crush on him. Her only consolation was Theo’s sister, who was very friendly with the city girl.
And guess who else is on the island? Her childhood tormenter, Theo, is also there! He is presented in a very gothic way, the brooding villain/hero who Annie is determined to get revenge on. The two clash immediately, so when strange things start happening to Annie, she suspects that Theo is behind them. Despite this, she must face the escalating attraction to Theo she has and spend her two months on the island…without getting hurt or killed.
If you want to know what happens with the rest of the story, and drink in the rich and frigid Maine winter, consider checking the novel out here for the print book and here for the Audiobook. I never would have guessed the mystery, but even though it was surprising it made sense. I wonder if you will figure it out. Enjoy reading!