‘Family curses don’t exist. Sure, some families seem to suffer more pain than others, but a curse? An actual curse? I don’t think so.’
A family tragedy was the catalyst for Ian Perkins to return to the isolated cottage with his wife and young son. But now they are back, it seems yet more grief might befall the family.
There is still time to act, but that means Ian must face the uncomfortable truth about his past. And in doing so, he must uncover the truth behind the supposed family curse.
Wow! I was a little bit afraid of a plotline centered around a curse – it sounded a little bit too fantastical already for me and I hadn’t even started it – but I can tell you that I didn’t need worrying. Yes of course there’s this talk of a curse, something that is passed on from generation to generation, from father to son, and even when it wasn’t clear from the beginning what this curse really entails, it was obvious that the tree in this novel is tied to it. The tree is important in the past and present, it is described often and detailed and fed the creepy feeling that goes along with a curse, yet it didn’t dominate the story too much, it was verging but never over the top in his creation of a kind of surreal atmosphere.
I’m just going with a brief outline here: the main characters are Ian and Rachel. She’s acting strange, distant, they don’t talk anymore, she sleeps alone.. you get the drift. He’s researching his family history, a tedious job. He hopes to find answers there and get their marriage back on the rails, if he ever gets through the stacks and stacks of paper in his study. Weird things are happening, it’s all very mysterious and I didn’t know what was real and what wasn’t. Even though there were a lot of confusing events and no real answers, I didn’t even understand what he was trying to do compiling a family tree, it never annoyed me and I was and became invested in Ian’s life, even more so after he shared so many about his youth.
I really liked the character of Louisa, his grandmother, the most. She’s like a little ray of light in his past and it seems she was the only one friendly to him in his childhood and as a young adult. She’s straightforward, honest, righteous, kind. The contrast between her and his own parents was so big I felt it in my bones, the unfairness of it all.
I had no shortage of (in hindsight quite ridiculous) theories about what was going on but had to give the story its time to unfold by its own accord.
I was pretty astonished when I realised right at the very end of the novel what the author just told me. He took this idea, something that is a delicate thing, but not all that uncommon, and created a perfect plotline around it. This is a memorable story. It was poignant, honest, and it had me under its spell.
I received a free copy of this novel from publisher Hideaway Fall in exchange for my honest opinion.