Haunted by her sister’s disappearance, a troubled woman becomes consumed by past secrets in this gripping thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of The Vanishing Year.
When Hannah Maloney’s aunt dies in a car accident, she returns to her family’s castle in the Catskills and the epicenter of a childhood trauma: her sister’s unsolved disappearance. It’s been seventeen years, and though desperate to start a new life with her fiancé, Hannah is compelled to question the events of her last summer at Brackenhill.
When a human bone is found near the estate, Hannah is convinced it belongs to her long-lost sister. She launches her own investigation into that magical summer that ended in a nightmare. As strange happenings plague the castle, Hannah uncovers disturbing details about the past and startling realizations about her own repressed childhood memories.
Fuelled by guilt over her sister’s vanishing, Hannah becomes obsessed with discovering what happened all those years ago, but by the time Hannah realizes some mysteries are best left buried, it’s too late to stop digging. Overwhelmed by what she has exposed, Hannah isn’t sure her new life can survive her old ghosts.
My thoughts on the Girls of Brackenhill
It wasn’t my intention to read and review two stories involving hauntings back to back, just one of those coincidences that comes from not paying that much attention to the book you’re picking up next to read and assuming from the covers that they will be very different. Which, other than the ghosts, they were.
The Haunting of Brynn Wilder was a love story set in a sleepy town that welcomed Brynn with open arms and helped her heal. Rockwell, while small and sleepy, was a lot less welcoming for Hannah. In part, that might be because Hannah had a past with the town, one that ended when her older sister, went missing.
That day tore her life apart. She’s been rebuilding it ever since, along with a wall that means people find it hard to get to know her; and this includes her fiancé Huck. All this changes with a late night call that tells her her aunt, who she used to stay with in Brackenhill, has died in a car accident. She is next of kin so heads back to the town she once loved and then came to fear because of the memories it held.
Brackenhill is just like she remembered it. Old, rambling, and odd. Doors she can’t open. Corridors that go nowhere. Noises that just ‘aren’t right’. It’s no wonder Hannah finds herself sleepwalking, her head full of her sister and another young girl who went missing while she was visiting. They seem to be trying to tell her something. But what? And does she want to know the answer?
While badged as a thriller, this isn’t how I saw this book. Supernatural suspense seems a better fit. There are too many odd bumps in the night to make it anything but for me. Because it wasn’t what I was expecting, it took me a while to get my head around what I was reading, possibly a bit too long, which definitely had an impact on how much I enjoyed the book.
More than that, though, was Hannah. I just didn’t like her. Or rather, I didn’t like where she found herself. She seemed to spend a lot of time sleepwalking, waking up in strange places, or being confused. She didn’t take control until the end of the book. By which point, I was bored. Everything felt a bit ground-hog day.
I never like not liking a book because I know how much effort an author has put into writing it. And I also know that reading is such a personal thing. What doesn’t work for me, someone else will love. Which is why I don’t do star ratings. They feel too harsh. All I can say (after all this waffling), is that this book just wasn’t for me. Sorry!