Publisher: Lake Union
In this gripping, atmospheric family drama, a young woman investigates the forty -year -old murder that inspired her mother’s bestselling novel, and uncovers devastating truths—and dangerous lies.
Reformed party girl Meg Ashley leads a life of a privilege, thanks to a bestselling horror novel her mother wrote decades ago. But Meg knows that the glow of their very public life hides a darker reality of lies, manipulation, and the heartbreak of her own solitary childhood. Desperate to break free of her mother, Meg accepts a proposal to write a scandalous, tell-all memoir.
Digging into the past—and her mother’s cult classic—draws Meg to Bonny Island, Georgia and an unusual woman said to be the inspiration for the book. At first, island life seems idyllic, but as Meg starts to ask tough questions, disturbing revelations come to light…including some about her mother.
Soon, Meg’s search leads her to question the facts of a decades-old murder. She’s warned to leave it alone, but as the lies pile up, Meg knows she’s getting close to finding a murderer. When her own life is threatened, Meg realizes the darkness found in her mother’s book is nothing compared to the chilling truth that lurks off the page.
I found another gem of a book that y’all need to add to your summer reading lists ASAP! This was such a compelling read, I simply devoured it and it could be the ultimate definition of a page turner. It has a totally unique and fascinating premise, characters that ranged from the relatable to the odd and scary, and a stunning atmosphere that was creepy and gorgeous at the same time. Don’t forget a crazy, multilayered mystery that goes back forty years and a hint of romance, what more could you want?!
This was a book within a book, what I like to call bookception, don’t be hesitant and assume it’s confusing because it’s not at all. Meg is the daughter of a super famous author best known for her cult classic, Kitten. It’s a classic seventies horror novel (think Carrie) and has a huge fan base. The formatting was genius and really gripped me, in between each chapter from Meg in present day you get excerpts from Kitten as well. I loved the kitschy vibe of these sections and if Mrs. Carpenter could go ahead and make Kitten a full length novel that would be great! The similarities between Kitten and what was actually happening in Meg’s life were eerie and awesome.
The atmosphere had me completely absorbed, Meg travels to the hotel Kitten was based on and it’s now a ramshackle pit with only a handful of people working there. It was simultaneously spooky and beautiful and I fell right down the rabbit hole alongside Meg as she tried to untangle a massive web of lies her mother wove. Doro is the hotels owner and part of the inspiration behind the book and was such a complex and interesting character as well.
This was a total binge read despite the complicated structure, it made me turn the pages faster as I grew desperate to know not only what Meg would uncover but also how Kitten ended. I’m blown away by how flawlessly Carpenter plotted this, it’s truly impressive. There is a lot of diversity here as the island has ties to Native American history which was a totally appreciated addition by me. I think it’s safe to say that Carpenter is the queen of Souther Gothic fiction, this book was a marvel.
Overall rating: 5/5
Thanks to the author for my review copy.