Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2014-10-06
- Reviewer: Staff
In Watkins’s slow-building haunted house novel, the new home that’s supposed to save a disintegrating family turns out to hold horrors from the past. Bill Andersen moves to the titular Maine island with his reluctant wife, Karen, and their eight-year-old twin daughters. The four of them find strange things around their house, including cave paintings in the cellar, a beautiful forest that transforms into a dismal marsh, and an old box containing a mysterious document. These elements are linked to an ancient curse that soon entangles them and threatens to destroy everything they hold dear. Meanwhile, Karen and Bill wrestle with their faltering marriage and their respective attractions to islanders Dex and Maggie. The human drama and supernatural dread intertwine, and Watkins keeps the reader invested in Bill and Karen’s fates, though the twins are primarily vehicles for the exposition of clues. However, at times the horror seems like an afterthought, and the unquestioned use of conventional tropes—particularly the dreary cliché of the Native curse—prevent the plot from truly taking off. (BookLife)