Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Don't Breathe a Word by Jennifer McMahon


Synopsis From Back Cover:

On a soft summer night in Vermont, twelve-year-old Lisa went into the woods behind her house and never came out again.  Before she disappeared, she told her little brothers, Sam, about a door that led to a magical place where she would meet the King of the Fairies and become his queen.


Fifteen years later, Phoebe is in love with Sam, a practical, sensible man who doesn't fear the dark and doesn't have bad dreams -  who, in face helps Phoebe ignore her own.  But suddenly the couple is faced with a series of eerie, unexplained occurrences that challenge Sam's hardheaded, realistic view of the world.  And they question their reality, a terrible promise Sam made years ago is revealed - a promise that could destroy them all.

Randy Susan Meyers, the author of The Murderer's Daughters, said this book is "...a perverse fairyland where Rosemary's baby could be at home."  I think I could end this review now, just by quoting her, but I'm not sure that would really be fair.  I just wish she hadn't said it, so I would be the first to do so.  Instead I'm going to have to elaborate a bit more and try to tell you what I thought of this one in my own words.  I'm not sure I'm going to be able to do it justice.  So if my review doesn't leave you wanting to read it, just take my word for it and read it anyway.

When we first meet Phoebe, she is twenty years old and not really sure what she is doing.  She is having sex with her married boss who is forty years older than her, and doesn't seem to have a sense of direction to follow.  She appears to be someone going through the motions of life, but never really connecting with anything.  That doesn't seem to change until the day that twelve year old Lisa disappeared inside the confines of an abandoned village in the woods.

Fifteen years later, Phoebe is now dating Sam, Lisa's younger brother, and the past is about to slam them in the face.  Out of the blue, two events happen that are about to shake them to their core.  Evie, Sam's cousin, who was around at the time Lisa's disappears call and asks to meet Sam and Phoebe at a cabin in the woods.  They are going to spend time together over the weekend and talk about old time, namely Lisa's disappearance.  At the same time, Phoebe receives a phone call from a young girl telling Sam where to look for Lisa's book of fairies.  For all intensive purposes, the phone calls seems to be from an unaged Lisa.

When the weekend trip takes a turn for the nightmarish, Sam and Phoebe are forced to find out what really happened fifteen years ago.  The journey will shake Phoebe's faith in Sam and in everything else she thought she knew.  She's scared to death to tell Sam she's pregnant and is starting to believe the maybe the Dark Man of her childhood dreams is in fact real.  Maybe there really is a magic door under the bed that allows him in to steal you away.  Maybe the King of the Fairies does exist and is just waiting for the right time to snatch her out of the shadows.

I can't give too many other plot points without giving the story away, but I will say what I loved about this the most is the way it left me thinking about it at the end.  I loved the questions it was forcing me to ask as I read along.  What does Evie (the real one) know that she isn't telling?  What secrets are being kept by Sam's mother?  Is the King of the Fairires really going to make Sam keep his childhood promise, give up his first born?   As I read the book, I almost felt as if I was being pulled in two different directions.  On one had you have a horrific story of childhood abduction and the consequences of it.  On the other side I was, at times, almost forced to believe that Lisa really did go with the King of the Fairies, how else would you be able to explain the bizarre,  frightening behavior being displayed by almost everyone involved.

In the end though, the author brilliantly combined a story of one family's dark descent into their own family mythology with just enough "fantasy" to make you believe that maybe, just maybe, fairies really do exist.

I would like to thank Trish of TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to read/review this book.  If you would like to read other reviews on it, please visit the tour page.

Challenges: GLBT, M&S

15 comments:

bermudaonion said...

I love a book that keeps me thinking after I've read it. You've convinced me that I need to read this one.

carolsnotebook said...

This one sounds awesome. I'll have to read it soon. Great review.

Yvette said...

This sounds really REALLY intriguing, Ryan. And although I generally am tired of photo cover shots of young people being used for any and all books lately, I really do like this one. The child has a haunted aspect about her.

Great review.

Jo said...

Color me intrigued. I hadn't heard of this book, but now I'm looking to see if my library can get it. Nice review!!

Simcha said...

While this book sounds much too dark for me I really want to know how to story plays out. Perhaps I'll stick my foot in the deep end just this once and give the book at try.

Staci said...

Don't worry...you did a great job of convincing me I need to read this one. I'm lucky to have received a copy from a great book blogger...now I must carve some time out to read it!

Ceri said...

Wow. This sounds incredible. Love this review - completely intrigued by the story now! :D

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Oh! I thought this was more a contemporary YA than it was a paranormal book. Guess I'll be looking at this book more closely!

Michelle (Red Headed Book Child) said...

I can not wait to read this!

Michelle @ The True Book Addict said...

Wow! I had no idea that this book was about what you described. I am going to have to get my hands on it, I'm afraid. You're always adding books to my wishlist! Great review!

Kaye said...

I wasn't too sure what this one was all about but I am intrigued by your reaction to the book. Thanks for the great review, Ryan. Have a great weekend and happy reading!

Oregon Kimm said...

I just finished this book the other day. I thought it was fantastic! One of those, boy..I didn't see that coming books! I don't usually read suspense, so I walked into the story blindly. So spooky and eerie!

Great review!

My anxious life said...

I want to read this! First the cover is great... second the title! I love it!!!

Angie

XOXO Angela's Anxious Life

heathertlc said...

I love a book that keeps me thinking after I turn the last page. Have you read her other books? I've heard that they all have that same effect ...

Thanks for being a part of the tour!

Elizabeth said...

I enjoyed this book, but it was a little odd.

My review is on:

http://silversolara.blogspot.com