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Marion Zetland lives with her domineering older brother, John, in a crumbling mansion on the edge of a northern seaside resort. A timid spinster in her 50s who still sleeps with teddy bears, Marion does her best to live by John's rules, even if it means turning a blind eye to the noises she hears coming from behind the cellar door...and turning a blind eye to the women's laundry in the hamper that isn't hers. For years she's buried the signs of John's devastating secret into the deep recesses of her mind - until the day John is crippled by a heart attack, and Marion becomes the only one whose shoulders are fit to bear his secret. Forced to go down to the cellar and face what her brother has kept hidden, Marion discovers more about herself than she ever thought possible. As the truth is slowly unraveled, we finally begin to understand: Maybe John isn't the only one with a dark side....
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By lacey on 10-23-17
I really loved and appreciated the literary value here--this book reads, at least for the first several chapters, as--well, what would you call it if it's southern gothic but you're not sure that it's set in the south--suburban gothic, maybe. It reads like Flannery O'Connor, Shirley Jackson, or Donna Tartt--that thick, beautifully overwrought sense of space and time, combined with a creeping sense of dread that you feel but can't name as it just gets darker and darker.
However, the real joy in O'Connor, Jackson, or Tartt is that they reward you--either with a crashing thundering climax, or with continuous character growth, or both--and this one didn't do that. Instead it floundered somewhere between repetitiveness, predictableness, frustration, and--well, just getting grosser and sadder--and, like other reviewers have said, when the climax came, it was too little, too late, and I really just wanted a shower. I'm left with uncomfortable flashbacks that I wish I didn't have, with nothing to ponder or chew on, and I wish I'd read something else.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful
By cristina on 10-23-17
Excellent writing, So-So Plot
The character development is excellent. Little by little, true evil and coldness unveiled. A woman who lives in her imagination.....For some reason, it's mesmerizing. You are hooked. Except not much happens (which explains why the publisher's plot reveals something that doesn't happen until well into the novel...because there's not much else to describe the plot). And YET, the writing is so good that I will quickly download Ms. Burns' next novel. I couldn't put it down.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful