Blog Tour: The Den by Abi Maxwell
Released: 16th May 2019
Publisher: Tinder Press
Genre: Literary Fiction
For readers of THE VIRGIN SUICIDES or THE GIRLS, a story of two extraordinary, magnetic women and their disappearances - a hundred years apart - from the small New England town they call home.
Henrietta and Jane are growing up in a farmhouse on the outskirts of town, their mother a remote artist, their father in thrall to the folklore and legend of their corner of New England. When Henrietta falls under the spell of Kaus, an outsider and petty criminal, Jane takes to trailing the couple, spying on their trysts, until one night, Henrietta vanishes into the woods.
Elspeth and Claire are sisters separated by an ocean. Elspeth's pregnancy at seventeen meant she was quickly married and sent away from her Scottish village to make a new life in America. When she comes to the attention of the local mill owner, a series of wrenching and violent events unfolds, culminating in her disappearance.
As Jane and Claire search in their own times for their missing sisters, each uncovers the strange legend of Cold Thursday, and of a family apparently transformed into coyotes. But what does his myth really mean? Are their sisters dead, destroyed by the men who desired them? Or have they made new lives, elsewhere, beyond the watchful eyes of the community they longed to escape?
I was completely spellbound by this book - I always tend to enjoy stories that follow characters in different time settings; paired with a plot surrounding sisters, I was intrigued.
There is something mystical and magical about the story, even as things unfurl and we uncover the mystery. Abi creates an intoxicating atmosphere that envelops you as a reader, and I completely escaped into it. I loved how well crafted the characters were, the author giving each sister a distinctive and compelling voice - Henrietta and Jane being more present day, while Elspeth and Clare spoke from some 150 years earlier.
The book moves through each of the four sisters, using separate points of view which helps give such insight into the mysteries held in the plot.
I adored the writing style, and will now hunt for Lake People, an earlier collection from the author which also sounds incredible. The Den is only a short novel (around 270 pages) so I won't say much more, but it's a perfect blend of mystery, family drama and myth, and is hauntingly beautiful in it's language and execution. Thanks to Anne Cater and Tinder Press for inviting me to be part of the tour, and for sending me a copy of this for review.