Margot is an orphan who really should have read some Shirley Jackson novels before going to live at a country estate with the Suttons.
The other orphans at Margot’s group home say she is “lucky” to have been chosen by the prestigious Suttons, but Margo soon realizes that the family has not “rescued” her out of the goodness of their hearts. She has been chosen to become a companion for their sick, silent daughter, Agatha. At first, helping Agatha and her mother, Laura, doesn’t seem so bad, but Laura’s behavior becomes stranger by the minute and the gothic estate is full of secrets.
What I liked:
In one simple word: Margot. She’s such a well-rounded character. If you read my previous post about YA novels, you know that I can’t stand to read a novel with a teenage protagonist who doesn’t act like a teenager. Margot is 100% teenager.
This novel reads a bit like a Shirley Jackson novel (think We Have Always Lived in the Castle). It has the Southern Gothic tone and old-school suspense that I love, and then there is a teenager who’s not familiar with any of that plopped right in the center of everything. I admit that I found myself getting frustrated with her a couple of times because she was too trusting, too naive, but what teenager in her situation wouldn’t be? Yes, I figured out the twist before she did, but that’s what added to the suspense! She was so realistic that I wanted to protect her, myself.
What I did not like:
I had a hard time buying into the romance between Barrett and Margot. It just happened so fast and then I felt that nothing really came of it. By the end of the novel, I was wondering why Barrett was there in the first place. I felt that the novel was more about the relationship between Margot and Agatha, so why include Barrett at all?
Given, this could be my own personal bias. I am not a teenage girl and am therefore not swooning for the only teenage boy in the story. He’s a sweet, handsome guy, so I’m sure the target audience will love him.
If you haven’t pre-ordered this one yet, do it! The writing is superb, the theme of misinterpreting one’s own history is explored all the way back to Adam and Eve, and it speaks to important lessons about what makes life worth living. Whether you are a young adult or not, you’ll find something to love about this dark tale, so head on to Amazon and pre-order. You won’t regret it.
Oh, and once you read it, let me know what you think in the comments!