Hello all 🙂 Today is my stop on the blog tour for Abi Maxwell’s The Den, published by Tinder Press. Thank you to Anne Cater and the publisher for sending me a free ARC!
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 Friday, 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?
While this wasn’t exactly what I expected, it was still an enjoyable read. I was immediately drawn into the atmospheric setting. I remember reading a quote somewhere once about the exceptionally short time an author has to grab a reader’s attention (I tried to find it to include here but I have no idea who said it or where I saw it!) My point is, this author succeeded in hooking me in from the very first page.
I always enjoy stories that bounce between two time periods; I love seeing how an author can link these two eras together. Maxwell did a good job of showing how the present can mirror the past, and kept me suitably intrigued by both timelines. There was a clear difference between the two, particularly in the dialogue, but also thematic similarities.
As I mentioned, this book wasn’t wholly what I expected it to be. I think I was expecting more of an emphasis on the supernatural elements – the myth surrounding Cold Friday and the coyotes. Instead, this was much more of a feminist story; I was pleasantly surprised by the book’s focus on the treatment of women throughout history and society’s expectations of female roles and behaviour. I did, however, appreciate the ambiguity that the coyote subplot provided; it made for a very interesting reading experience.
I would recommend this book to fans of historical fiction, feminist literature and small-town American settings!
I don’t know why this picture has come out so pale?! It looked fine when I took it! *sobs*
If you’re interested, you can check out the other stops on the tour. The Den releases tomorrow, May 16th!