Sophia Rose is here with a new romantic suspense for you. Come check out Spells For Forgetting by Adrienne Young and see why Sophia recommends this atmospheric tale.
A rural island community steeped in the mystical superstitions of its founders and haunted by an unsolved murder is upended by the return of the suspected killer in this deeply atmospheric novel.
Emery Blackwood’s life was forever changed on the eve of her high school graduation, when the love of her life, August Salt, was accused of murdering her best friend, Lily. Now, she is doing what her teenage self swore she never would: living a quiet existence among the community that fractured her world in two. She’d once longed to run away with August, eager to escape the misty, remote shores of Saiorse Island and chase new dreams; now, she maintains her late mother’s tea shop and cares for her ailing father. But just as the island, rooted in folklore and tradition, begins to show signs of strange happenings, August returns for the first time in fourteen years and unearths the past that no one wants to remember.
August Salt knows he is not welcome on Saiorse, not after the night that changed everything. As a fire raged on at the Salt family orchard, Lily Morgan was found dead in the dark woods, shaking the bedrock of their tight-knit community and branding August a murderer. When he returns to bury his mother’s ashes, he must confront the people who turned their backs on him and face the one wound from the past that has never healed—Emery. But the town has more than one reason to want August gone, and the emergence of deep betrayals and hidden promises that span generations threatens to reveal the truth behind Lily’s death once and for all.
Evocative and compelling, Spells for Forgetting is a vivid exploration of lost love and the unraveling of a small town and its many secrets.
Sophia Rose’s Review
Years ago, a teen boy set fire to an orchard and there are strong suspicions he murdered a teen girl. Now, years later, the mystical island he left under a dark cloud of suspicion is his destination. Something stirs with his return and secrets won’t stay buried.
Adrienne Young is a popular Young Adult author and I’ve been curious about her books for some time, but this atmospheric, adult standalone was my first engagement with her writing. Wow, she can make the very air of the story resonate with the reader.
Magical realism is employed early and to ominous effects to set a mood on this remote Washington State island. A storm is coming, the locals see in every omen and the storm is led by the return of August Salt. August made a huge teenage angsty mistake, but was it more than that and he killed a girl? That is what his old small community thinks. This includes the girl now woman who never got over what he did and that he left her behind. Emery never left the island and it is emotional when she sees August for the first time in years.
August had my heart from the beginning even as I learned he was an accused murderer. Lily Morgan was dead, and the orchard is now in the town’s hands, but August’s very presence stirs up the past and someone- a lot of someones want him gone. His first love seems to have moved on with another guy, though she didn’t and refused to commit. Now, there is an adult romance possibility and as the menace toward August grows, Emery is determined that August stick around and they unbury the truth once and for all.
This was an adult story, but it was not a long stretch to see the author was used to writing YA because the main characters seemed to be in an arrested development situation in that they had to deal with their teenage selves and that time. In fact, there are flashback timelines to reinforce this impression with me.
There is lag in bits of the middle so that I got impatient for the plot to get going, but after reading it I can see how some of that was set up and explanation for what comes later. The last quarter was the best, and this book ended on a high note for me. I had my suspicions early of what was really going on. I come from a small town so I can say this and still love where I came from. But sometimes small town roots, particularly isolated communities, can get twisted and growth is stunted so that people lose a sense of proportion and rightness. Not so great in real life, but oh so choice in a suspense story. I say all that because I enjoyed this darker aspect going on to give the murder mystery added complexity and made the denouement make a good sense the way it’s very ho-hum normalcy balances out what came before.
If you’re looking for a tasty atmospheric magical realism fall read, I highly recommend this one. Meanwhile, I’ll be bumping up a few from the author’s backlist on my reading list.
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