Ever since Margot was born, it’s been just her and her mother. No answers to Margot’s questions about what came before. No history to hold on to. No relative to speak of. Just the two of them, stuck in their run-down apartment, struggling to get along.
But that’s not enough for Margot. She wants family. She wants a past. And she just found the key she needs to get it: A photograph, pointing her to a town called Phalene. Pointing her home. Only, when Margot gets there, it’s not what she bargained for.
Margot’s mother left for a reason. But was it to hide her past? Or was it to protect Margot from what’s still there?
The only thing Margot knows for sure is there’s poison in their family tree, and their roots are dug so deeply into Phalene that now that she’s there, she might never escape.
This is my first reading experience with this author. I’d heard good things about her first book, Wilder Girls, so I jumped at the opportunity to read her newest release.
The reader is immediately thrust into Margot’s life – neglected and emotionally abused by her mother and without a support system. She’s basically on her own, and it’s easy to sympathize with her. The author’s writing style is descriptive without overloading the reader with details – which is always a plus for me. She paints a bleak picture of the small town setting where Margot finds her family, and the moment she arrives, you know something’s off kilter.
Other than one very odd discovery and Margot’s increasing feelings of unease, not much happens in the first half of the book. Once things get going, the pace picks up and things become very….bizarre. I’d picked up on several hints, but hoped the story would take a different direction.
This is an original plot, and although I’m usually a fan of the weird and strange, this grim story was mostly a miss for me. Looking at other reviews, I’m in the minority on this one, and it won’t keep me from reading future books by this author.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.