Posted in Behind the Pages

Behind the Pages Q & A with Eileen O’Finlan author of Kelegeen #behindthepagesgroup @EileenOFinlan

We had the absolute pleasure of having Eileen O’Finlan join us for an insightful hour answering our questions in our the Behind the Pages Goodreads group. I’m excited to share some of that discussion here with you today. Hope you enjoy the interview just as much as we did.

Hi Eileen, Can you please share with us how it feels knowing that the Pope has a copy of Kelegeen? Do you know if he has read it? Did you receive any feedback from him? Can you give us a little bit of insight into how it all came about?

Thanks so much for having me. I’m very excited to be interviewed by Behind the Pages. I greatly enjoy being part of the Traveling Friends so when you came up with this new group I knew it would be awesome!

Hi Norma, I work for the Diocese of Worcester, so I have a bit of an inside advantage. I asked the bishop (who’s office is across the hall from me) if he could get a copy to the pope. The bishop had already read Kelegeen and loved it, so I thought he’d be okay with that. He was happy to do it and a month or two after I asked him, a priest friend of his who works at the Vatican came to visit brought a copy back with him. I signed it and included a short note. The bishop assured me that his friend had brought it directly to the Pope’s residence.

I did receive a thank you letter from the pope – well actually from his secretary, but on his behalf.

I have no idea if the pope has read it or not. I sent it to him because one of the main characters, Father O’Malley, is a priest. His work among his people embodies what Pope Francis has been calling for more of in regards to pastoral care so I thought he might enjoy it. Also, there has, understandably, been a lot of negativity around priests and the Catholic Church in recent years, but I work day in and day out with many priests and I know that the majority are devout, dedicated, people striving to live out their calling. They’re not perfect, no one is, but they do their best to live a holy life and to live it for the people they serve. I hoped the pope would find it uplifting to see that acknowledged.

If you were to describe Kelegeen in three words which words would you choose?

That’s a difficult question! I’ve thought about it for a while. I think the best three words would be “evocative”, “tragic”, and “hopeful.”

This was an extremely hard book for me to read….it really got under my skin. Did you find while writing it that it deeply affected you as well?

Norma, I take the fact that this book got under your skin as a huge compliment, so thank you for that! It means, as a writer, I did my job. To write about something like the Great Hunger and not have it elicit a visceral response in the reader would be a failure. Not that I was trying to bring my readers down, but I did want to convey the reality of what happened, the massive tragedy of it, as well as the resilience of the people who endured it. I also wanted to show the undaunted spirit of a people immersed in faith and hope in the face of such an event.

It certainly did have an impact on me. Some of my own ancestors came to America to escape the Great Hunger. After researching the history and writing Kelegeen, I have developed a profound respect for them. I’m proud to have come from their stock.

What was the inspiration behind Kelegeen?

I majored in history as an undergraduate. When I was taking a course in Irish history and studying the Great Hunger (aka the Irish Potato Famine) my professor suggested that as a creative exercise I keep a diary as if I were a parish priest in Ireland at the time of the Hunger. After completing that project, I realized I had the basis for a novel and it grew from there.

What does your writing process or day look like?

I can’t describe a typical writing day because at this point, I don’t have one. I still work a full-time job so I fit writing in when I can. I do facilitate a writing workshop on Wednesday nights so I know that from 7-9:30 p.m. on Wednesdays I’ll be writing. I’ve recently started to take my laptop to the town library on weekends or days off. I like to write in long stretches of time so a five hour writing stint is about normal for me.

So of course I have to ask you this question because I am totally a “cover girl”….LOL Did you have a hand in the cover design or a vision of what you wanted it to look like? I think the cover is hauntingly beautiful.

Thank you. I love the cover, too. My publisher, BWL Publishing, Inc. has a great cover artist named Michelle Lee. Michelle sends a link to a stock photo site to BWL’s authors. She lets us chose up to 3 pictures to send to her from the site. Then she does her magic with them. When I saw the picture of the young woman, I just couldn’t stop looking at her. I thought, “That’s Meg. She has to be on the cover.”

Can you share with us how the title came about and what the name means to you? I am not familiar with the name Kelegeen is that an Irish name? I really do like it though!

Kelegeen is the name of the town where the story is set. It’s fictional – there is no real town in Ireland with that name. My original title was The Hungerdance, but that was back when I wrote the first draft over 20 years ago. In the meantime, The Hunger Games became a phenomenal hit and because I didn’t want to cause any confusion I decided I should change the title. I settled on Kelegeen because though the story focuses on specific main characters, the story of the people of Kelegeen is certainly on display in the novel. Father O’Malley is that pastor of all the Catholics in Kelegeen so his concern is for all of them. They interact and depend upon one another. Kelegeen is a very interdependent community and that was a huge key to survival.

How did you come up with the character names? Is there a connection of any kind of why you choose the ones that you did.

The names just sort of came to me. Of course the Irish characters, for the most part, have typically Irish names. Here’s a secret, though – many of the characters’ names got changed in the final draft. My amazing editor and fellow BWL author, Eileen Charbonneau, picked up on the fact that I had a plethora of characters whose names all began with the letter M. She suggested I change some of them. I hadn’t even realized I done that! So, Dr. Martin Parker was originally Dr. Martin Matthews, Brendan was Michael, and Meg’s mother, Deirdre was Maeve. That last was the hardest one for me to change. I still think of Deirdre as Maeve.

I know that you are a reader as well as a writer. Please share with us your favourite genre.

Historical ficition is my favorite genre, but I also like paranormal, some horror (I love Stephen King and Anne Rice). Mostly, I love a well-written story. Great characters and plot are more important to me than genre when it comes to reading.

I’d love to know if you are working on something else and if there is going to be a follow-up book to Kelegeen.

Oh yes!!! I am working on the sequel to Kelegeen. I was planning to write a sequel anyway, but I expected to write another historical fiction book first. However, so many readers have asked for the sequel that I decided I’d better write that one next. Once it’s finished, I’ll dive right into that other book I was going to write next. Right now the characters of both books are competing for space in my head. It’s getting a bit crowded in there! LOL!

How much research went into writing Kelegeen?

A lot! That’s true for any book, but I think for historical fiction it’s especially true. As I mentioned earlier, this book came about from an assignment in an Irish history course. But the research was no where near over when the course finished. I was researching right up to the final draft.

We touched based a little bit above about how this novel affected me deeply and sometimes when I close a book the whole novel is lost to me. But I can say that wasn’t the case with this one, it will always stay with me. It was an extremely memorable and profound read. You definitely portrayed the historical aspect to this novel extremely well!

Hmmm, now I can’t remember where I was going with this to ask a question but I’m leaving this comment in and if it comes back to me — I will edit with my question. LOL

Thank you so much, Norma. That is truly the greatest complement you could have given me.

How long did it take you to write Kelegeen?

That’s a hard question to answer. I began it over 20 years ago. I think I worked off and on for about 4-5 years before I had a completed first draft. Then I took another year or so to edit and write more drafts. When I thought it was ready, I tried to get it published, but it just didn’t happen so I set it aside for a long time (as in several years). But then I connected with the author I mentioned in an earlier post, Eileen Charbonneau, and sent it to her for editing. She did an incredible job. She is so thorough and gives enormously helpful feedback. With her suggestions, I rewrote the entire novel which took about a year. So, all told, it was probably about 7-8 years, though not consecutive years and with a huge break in the between drafts.

Were there any publishing struggles that you might of come across or have any insight into that process to share with us?

As mentioned earlier, when I first tried selling it, I had no luck. Now I realize that’s because it wasn’t ready. It didn’t deserve to be published at that time so I’m actually glad that it wasn’t. It’s a much better book now after Eileen’s editing and my rewriting.

As for finding a publisher, I was extremely fortunate – again thanks to Eileen Charbonneau. She thought it would be a good fit for the company that publishes her novels so she contacted the publisher and asked if they would consider it. The publisher agreed, I sent the manuscript, and before I knew it I had an offer. This is not a route to publishing that happens often. I sometimes still can’t believe it all worked out the way it did.

Is there anything significant that you would like to share with us about Kelegeen? I’m open to anything that comes to mind!

One thing that comes to mind is the amount of comments I’ve recieved from readers who’ve told me that they’d heard of the Potato Famine, but never really knew any details about it. They had no idea how devestating it was for the people who endured it. Several readers have said they were overwhelemed by it and just couldn’t understand why it had been presented as a mere footnote in history classes. So, I hope readers learn a bit of Irish history with which they may not have been very familiar.

Another thing I love is when readers tell me that it reminds them of their parents or grandparents who came over from Ireland and the stories they told. It lets me know I got the “feel” right.

What would you ultimately like to see &/or hear from a reader after reading your book? What is the ultimate compliment to you as a writer?

Norma, you gave me the ultimate complement when you wrote that the story stayed with you after you finished it. We voracious readers gobble up books so fast sometimes it’s difficult to remember them even if we really enjoyed them. So when someone tells me that the story and/or the characters stayed with them long afterwards, that’s huge. It means a lot!

Eileen (Eileen’s Editor) I loved Kelegeen! You inspire me as a writer and reader. What draws you to the historical fiction genre? Do you research before and during your writing?

Hi Eileen! Hey everybody – this is the awesome editor & writer I’ve been lauding in my previous posts!

I’ve always loved history. It seems to be in my DNA. My parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins – we’re all in love with history. Family gatherings could as easily inspire talk of historical events as they could anything else.

It’s difficult to express exactly, but there’s something about history that profoundly touches me. I love learning about how people lived at various times, how ideals, mores, attitudes, etc. changed over time, how people coped with all sorts of events. Life was very different in the past, but at the same time, there is still so much in the human spirit that resonates today. You can write about characters in any time period, keep them very much people of their own time (which I believe is very important to do), and still connect with them on an emotional level.

And, yes, I research before and during the writing period. A lot!

Cindy As Norma said, “Kelegeen” can be a difficult book to read as it really tugs on the heartstrings. As the reader, I felt like I was going though the Great Hunger along with your characters. There was always a glimmer of hope – mostly through the characters’ deep faith. Will the sequel continue on with the strong faith and hope for the future?

Hi Cindy! The Irish were very committed to their Catholic faith. In fact, though some charitable organizations offered the starving Irish food and assistance, a great number of them refused it because it was offered ONLY on the condition that they become Protestant. They weren’t willing to give up their faith even if it meant starving to death. Their faith really did get them through even if “getting through” meant dying with the strong belief of eternal life with Christ – an existence infinitely better than what they had on earth.

Yes, the sequel will have the faith element in it. It has to because when the Irish came to America they encountered a land populated by Protestant Yankees who did not like or truts them. Remember the “No Irish Need Apply” signs in the “Help Wanted” ads? They also faced the political No Knothing party that gained power at that time. The No Knothings were very anti-Catholic and anti-immigrant to the point of wanting to send them all back. So the Irish had their hands full once again with the folks who held the power. And again they relied on a steadfast grip on their faith.

Cindy Do you have a working title for the sequel?

Right the working title is Erin’s Children, but that could change.

Cindy There is so much historical reference that went into the book. How did you research? Online, library, specialists, etc? What is the ratio of time spent on research/writing?

All of the above! When I first started writing I didn’t have access to quick Internet searches or databases like we have today. Most of my early research came from books. I also spent a lot of time in the library and at home reading and taking notes. With the sequel I have more options. I’m still reading a lot of books, but I’m also using online sources. I’m setting the sequel in Worcester, Massachusetts. I work in Worcester and live in a suburb just outside of Worcester. I have access to great resources in the Worcester Historical Museum, the Worcester Public Library, Preservation Worcester, and the American Antiquarian Society to name a few. I’ve met with staff at the Worcester Historical Museum. One of the writers in my workshop is a docent for Preservation Worcester. She recently took me on a private walking tour of Worcester’s historic Crown Hill district which is where my main characters would have worked and lived. She even got me into one of the houses. The owner keeps it very much as it was when it was built in the 1850s. He took me on a private 2 hour tour of the house. By about the time we finished, I had it in my mind exactly where and how that house will fit into the story.

Ration of times spent on research vs writing is hard for me to figure (you just asked me a math question – I’m hopeless at math.) I’d have to guess that they’re pretty close when you figure writing includes first and consecutive drafts. That’s a lot of time and work, but the research that goes into it is pretty close to the same. It’s just a different discipline.

Cindy Since American English is your first language, how do you come up with the Irish brogue for your characters? Do you know someone from Ireland and copy his/her accent or does it just happen within your mind?

I’ve heard the Irish brogue often enough to replicate it in writing so long as I don’t overdo it. I didn’t want to write it in dialect as that’s far too distracting for the reader. I couldn’t have anyway, even if I’d wanted to since I don’t know it that well. I tried to put some of the Irish way of speaking into the novel to give it the right feel without being too heavy-handed and risking stereotyping or just plain sounding silly.

Thank you so much, Eileen for joining us this evening!! I absolutely loved this discussion and for being so candid with us!!!

What Eileen has to say about us 

Thanks so much to the Traveling Sisters for interviewing me in the Behind the Pages with the Traveling Sisters group. I had a blast responding to all the well thought out and insightfull questions.

For more Q & A , highlights to Kelegeen you can find the full Q & A here

Posted in Reviews

The Nanny by Gilly Macmillan @HarperCollinsCa #BookReview #travelingsistersread

Slow-burn, upsetting, & deceptively appealing!

I fell in love with Gilly Macmillan and her books after reading WHAT SHE KNEW and since have subsequently read or have snatched myself up all of her other books so I have them on hand.  I have a habit of “collecting” author’s books after loving one. I did have every intention of reading them but some of my ARC’s have gotten in the way of reading authors that I favour and enjoy.  So I was beyond ecstatic when I received a physical ARC of THE NANNY.   

THE NANNY by GILLY MACMILLAN is a haunting, dark, eerie, mysterious, and suspenseful psychological thriller that is packed full of buried family secrets, lies, deceit, obsession, regrets, distrust, and dysfunctional familial dynamics.  Unfortunately, this book didn’t immediately grab my attention because I didn’t immediately connect with the writing style and found the story to be painstakingly slow in the beginning. So I put the novel aside for a day and then jumped right back into it, then I was able to fully immerse myself in this tale and I ended up quite enjoying it. 

GILLY MACMILLAN delivers a slow-going, atmospheric, intriguing, and unsettling tale here that subtly shifts in tone from perplexing to comprehension about 20% in for me.  Even though I did get a little bit annoyed and impatient in the beginning because of my disconnect here once I did comprehend and “get” what I was reading the remainder of the book went quite smoothly for me.

The story is told in multiple alternating perspectives between a detective, Jo (our protagonist), her mother Virginia, and my absolute favourite an unknown narrator which adds intrigue and this evil sense of foreboding to the narrative.  I thoroughly enjoyed Jo’s daughter Ruby and found myself more drawn to her character than to our main character here. Jo’s character was really maddening and totally frustrated me. I might have yelled at her and shook my head multiple times at her while I was reading this book.  Why couldn’t she just see what was happening? She definitely had blinders on!

Norma’s Stats:
Cover: An eye-catching, creepy, sinister, intriguing, suspenseful, and extremely fitting representation to storyline. This cover definitely caught my attention and I love the creepiness and gothic vibe to it! 
Title: A straightforward and fitting representation to storyline. 
Writing/Prose: Well-written, vivid, suspenseful, engaging, captivating, and readable. I didn’t immediately connect to the writing style like I have with other books by this author but once I did, it was smooth sailing from there.
Plot: Slow-moving, complex, slightly convoluted, sinister, suspenseful, unsettling, wicked, steadily-paced, enjoyable and entertaining. 
Ending: I was thoroughly satisfied. 
Overall: 3.5 Stars! This isn’t a fast-paced or edge-of-your-seat thriller by no means it is one that delves deep into the characters lives and leaves you with these puzzling subtle clues along the way to piece together piece by piece. Would recommend!

Thank you so much to HarperCollins Canada for gifting me a physical ARC.

Posted in Reviews, Sister Reads, The Sisters Recommend

The Speed of Falling Objects by Nancy Richardson Fischer @nfischerauthor @InkyardPress @HarperCollins

Oct 1 is pub date for THE SPEED OF FALLING OBJECTS by NANCY RICHARDSON FISCHER and it’s a not to be missed YA adventure story of survival!

Norma’s Review

Strength, endurance, & love!

*One Word – Truth*

THE SPEED OF FALLING OBJECTS by NANCY RICHARDSON FISCHER is an entertaining, action-packed, suspenseful, thrilling, and edge-of-your-seat YA survivalist story that immediately hooked and captivated me. The backdrop of the Amazon rainforest and the premise of this novel totally intrigued and enthralled me, I was totally taken with this adventurous tale and loved Danny’s story. The action was so fierce that I literally could not put this book down.

NANCY RICHARDSON FISCHER delivers an atmospheric, vividly descriptive, fascinating, adventurous, engaging, and well-written coming-of-age story here that is packed full of adventure, explores a complex father-daughter relationship, and a touch of romance to lighten the mood.

Danger “Danny” Danielle Warren and her TV celebrity survivalist dad were interesting characters to say the least. Even though the father wasn’t the greatest dad out there he definitely had his purpose in this story and I loved how Danny ended up coming to terms with so many different aspects to her character. She definitely grew as a character and the underlying message and love emanating from the words written were extremely palpable and packed quite the punch. Danny was definitely the shining star in this novel!

Brenda’s review

I took a step out of my normal here with reading The Speed of Falling Objects, and I am so glad I did.  What a great surprise this one was. I loved the self-discovery adventure here I took with our main character Danger “Danny” Danielle Warren.

The Speed of Falling Objects has all the elements here to make this a thrilling edge of your seat emotional YA adventure for me.  It’s an action-packed story of survival, a coming of age story with a touch of romance.  

Nancy Richardson Fischer does such a great job here creating exciting characters.  I am not a big fan of young voices at times, and it took me a bit to get into the head of Danny.  Once I was, I was hooked and loved the personal and emotional conflicts Danny experiences and the adventure she took me on.  I enjoyed seeing her grow and develop with each page. Now her Dad Cougar is a very unlikable character here, making his character a hard one to enjoy but he creates some interesting dynamics here to the story of survival for both the jungle and Danny. 

The rainforest is brought alive and I was fascinated and terrified at the same time with the dangerous bugs and reptiles in the story.  There is a lot of danger here and there is no shying away from details. It did feel at times a bit much with one thing after another; however I enjoy the thrilling fight of survival.  I highly recommend it. 

Thank you to Nancy Richardson Fischer for thinking of us and giving us the opportunity to read something different than we usually do.  

Norma’s Stats:
Cover: A beautiful, eye-catching, appealing, intriguing and fitting representation to storyline. I love the fall colours to the cover design.
Title: Intriguing, interesting, metaphorical and a meaningful and significant representation to storyline.
Writing/Prose: Beautifully written, expressive, passionate, vividly descriptive, engaging, and compulsively readable. I immediately connected with the author’s prose.
Plot: Detailed, atmospheric, suspenseful, interesting, authentic, action-packed, fast-paced, and entertaining.
Ending: A deeply touching, satisfying and great ending that made me ugly cry.
Overall: I absolutely loved the adventurous and emotional journey this book took me on! Would highly recommend!

Posted in Reviews

Christmas Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella @randomhouse @KinsellaSophie #travelingsistersread #bookreview

Norma’s Review

Hilarious, delightful, & heartwarming!

I couldn’t be more excited that Becky Brandon née Bloomwood is back in this latest installment to the Shopaholic Series. This is one series that I eagerly and patiently wait for the next installment. Thank you so much, SOPHIE KINSELLA for writing such a fabulous and entertaining character. I absolutely adore Becky and you! CHRISTMAS SHOPAHOLIC did not disappoint me at all in fact it exceeded all my expectations!

CHRISTMAS SHOPAHOLIC (Shopaholic #9) by SOPHIE KINSELLA is a lighthearted, entertaining, and fun festive read that had me laughing-out-loud hysterically right from the very start. You can’t help but fall in love with Becky and be amused by all of her farcical antics. She is definitely a one of a kind character that is so darn entertaining and lovely.

SOPHIE KINSELLA delivers a fast-paced, amusing, fun, and well-written read here that has us following along with Becky as she has been tasked to host Christmas for the very first time. This book was extremely fun and I was definitely entertained by Becky and all of her holiday season mishaps.

Norma’s Stats:
Cover: An intriguing, festive, adorable, lovely, amusing, colorful, and whimsical book cover that depicts this storyline well.
Title: The title speaks for itself! 🙂
Writing/Prose: Humorous, engaging, fun, smart, and well-written.
Plot: Engaging, fast-paced, fun, cute, captivating, humorous, heartfelt, and entertaining.
Ending: I was thoroughly touched and moved in the end leaving me with a great big satisfied smile on my face! Definitely a feel-good ending!
Overall: I loved spending time with Becky! She is by far my most favourite character ever!! I want to be Becky’s BFF! This book will definitely put you in the holiday spirit! Would highly recommend!

Thank you so much to NetGalley, The Dial Press / Random House Publishing Group and Sophie Kinsella for the opportunity to read this fabulous book! I absolutely loved the escape into Becky’s world!

Posted in Reviews, Sister Reads

Well Met by Jen DeLuca @BerkleyPub #travelingsistersread #bookreview

It’s been a while since Norma and I have had some different thoughts on a book we have read together. As always, it made for an interesting discussion between Two Sisters with two different views.

Norma’s review

WELL MET by JEN DELUCA is an adorable, charming, heartwarming, romantic, and sweet lighthearted rom-com that captured my heart and attention.  I was immediately hooked and fully absorbed within this tale. I absolutely loved the small town atmosphere and the Renaissance Faire elements to the storyline, and got a kick out of the hate to love relationship between Emily and Simon.  

I’ve always had this fascination and appeal to renaissance times so I absolutely loved the Renaissance Faire backdrop to this story.  It was definitely fun experiencing that through the eyes of the characters. The playacting and Simon’s secret alter ego was extremely attractive and swoon-worthy!!  Loved his character!

JEN DELUCA delivers a fast-paced, amusing, and well-written read here that had the perfect mix of humour, romantic moments, steam, tension, and warmth.  I thoroughly enjoyed watching the relationship between Emily and Simon grow and thought that they had some good chemistry happening there. The supporting cast was also great and complimented the dynamics of the storyline extremely well.

Brenda’s review

Well Met starts off with such a great opening line and it hooked me in right away.  I was smitten with the story theme here with enemies to lovers and the Renaissance Faire adds something different and fun to the story. 

At about the halfway mark, things started to slow down for me and I wanted to feel more tension, suspense and substance to the characters and their relationships.  It’s not an easy thing to pull off for this picky non-romantic soul and I am in the minority here with my thoughts. 

Norma’s Stats:

Cover:  An intriguing, cutesy, colorful, playful and amusing cover that depicts this storyline well.

Title: I have a foggy idea of what “Well Met” means, as for the meaning behind the title I see how creative, fitting, and intriguing it is in relation to the storyline. 

Writing/Prose: Witty, engaging, smart, and well-written. 

Plot: Charming, fast-paced, fun, sweet, steamy, romantic, captivating, humorous, heartfelt, and entertaining.

Ending:  A lovely feel-good and satisfying ending that put a big smile on my face!

Overall: A laugh-out-loud rom-com with a lovely heroine and a fabulous romantic hero that is absolutely swoon worthy!  Would highly recommend!

Thank you so much to Elisha at Berkley Publishing for our complimentary copies!

Posted in Reviews, The Sisters Recommend, Traveling Friends Reads, Traveling Sisters Reads

The Whisper Man by Alex North @CeladonBooks @alexnorth @about_thethrill

Hot supreme diggity dang! We are busting out a groove here and boogieing to the beat of excitement with this Traveling Friends group read. We all had a such a hard time putting this one down once we started reading it. It’s one fabulosity read.

Brenda’s review

Alex North does some mighty fine footwork here with this creepy, unnerving, and captivating dark, suspenseful thriller.  It has all the elements here to make this a spooky and compelling read for me. There are some supernatural overtones here that send my imagination into overdrive with some unexplainable elements to this story. That dark and twisted thriller mind of mine had me a little unnerved here while reading this story.   It’s a police procedural with a glimpse into a dangerous and broken killer. It has well-layered characters with complicated and compelling relationship between father and son. I loved the dynamics here between the characters.  

Alex North does such a great job here with Jake who stole the show for us.  It’s not easy to pull off a creepy, story with a child character being the centre of it and he nailed it here for us.  We loved the eerie feeling going on here with the whispering but never felt disturbed by it. The story is entertaining and fun yet just enough dark and twisted.  Just the way I love it! 

I highly enjoyed the time I spend with this spooky story and the characters along with my Traveling Friends!!  I highly recommend it. 

Norma’s review

Suspenseful, a little bit spooky, & definitely full of heart!

THE WHISPER MAN by ALEX NORTH is an engrossing, fast-paced, tense, dark, and eerie novel that had me fully immersed in this story right from the very start. What and who “The Whisper Man” is and represents in this tale is downright brilliant, unnerving and definitely has this creepy and spooky vibe resonating throughout this novel. The following rhyme definitely gave me the chills.

If you leave a door half open, soon you’ll hear the whispers spoken.
If you play outside alone, soon you won’t be going home.
If your window’s left unlatched, you’ll hear him tapping at the glass. 
If you’re lonely, sad, and blue, the Whisper Man will come for you.

Although I wouldn’t necessarily say that this novel creeped me out though or scared me out of my wits but it definitely had an underlying spook factor with the supernatural overtones to the story. I found to be quite absorbing and appealing.

ALEX NORTH delivers an atmospheric, intriguing, well-written and irresistibly unsettling thriller here that thoroughly entertained me. The little boy in this book definitely stole the show for me! He was the shining star and I loved his character so much!! He reminded me so much of the little boy in the movie The Sixth Sense.

The story is told in short chapters from alternating perspectives of Tom Kennedy, Jake (his son), DI Amanda Beck, and DI Pete Willis. I was never confused once and I absolutely loved the short chapters as it definitely helped to keep the pacing high to easily hold your attention. 

Lindsay’s review

Intense. Haunting. Addictive. Engrossing. Chilling.

Seven-year-old Jake and his widowed father, Tom, move to Featherbank. A new town for a new start after the passing of Jake’s mom. Featherbank has a past filled with secrets. Jake seems connected to some of these long buried stories and secrets of the small town. Not long after moving to Featherbank, a young boy goes missing which stirs up old memories of a serial killer who once lived in there.

This was a spine-tingling, heart-pounding, sleep-with-the-lights-on story! I am not one for reading scary stories (I’m a big chicken!), but this was so engrossing that I became addicted to the novel from the very start. I couldn’t put it down once I began this shocking and unforgettable journey. The frightening parts were not gory or over-detailed, but simply created an extreme feeling of tension and nervousness that I couldn’t shake. The characters were fantastic! I was invested in them from the first chapter. The changing narratives was perfectly executed and added multiple layers to this mesmerizing novel. Simply put, the writing was excellent! I look forward to what Alex North comes out with next.

We read this one along with our Traveling Sister Kim! Check out her review here

Norma’s Stats:
Cover: An eye-catching, relevant, eerie, sinister, brilliant, intriguing, suspenseful, and extremely fitting representation to storyline. This cover definitely caught my attention and I love it! 
Title: Appealing, creepy, suspenseful, significant, intriguing and absolutely love how the title plays so fittingly and meaningfully into storyline. 
Writing/Prose: Well-written, vivid, suspenseful, engaging, captivating, and fluid. I thoroughly enjoyed the writing! 
Plot: Chilling, sinister, suspenseful, unsettling, moving, riveting, fast-paced, clever, absorbing, enjoyable and extremely entertaining. 
Ending: Spine-tingling, rewarding, and thoroughly satisfying!
Overall: An excellent read that had me thoroughly engrossed and immersed in this tale from start to finish! And learning that this story was inspired by the author’s own son who told him he was playing with “the boy in the floor” was quite clever and in itself frightening. I highly recommend!

Thank you so much to Celadon Books for gifting us and our Traveling Sisters a copy of this book. It was an absolute pleasure reading and discussing this book in our group.

#travelingsistersread #travelingfriendsread