review; Don’t Breathe a Word

On a soft summer night in Vermont, twelve-year-old Lisa went into the woods behind her house and never came out again. Before she disappeared, she told her little brother, Sam, about a door that led to a magical place where she would meet the King of the Fairies and become his queen.

Fifteen years later, Phoebe is in love with Sam, a practical, sensible man who doesn’t fear the dark and doesn’t have bad dreams—who, in fact, helps Phoebe ignore her own. But suddenly the couple is faced with a series of eerie, unexplained occurrences that challenge Sam’s hardheaded, realistic view of the world. As they question their reality, a terrible promise Sam made years ago is revealed—a promise that could destroy them all.goodreads

From the first moment I heard of this book I was intrigued. It seemed like a fairy tale for grown-ups. I was finally able to read it over the weekend and completely devoured it.

The chapters alternate between Pheobe (present day) and Lisa (fifteen years ago) which I thought was neat, particularly how the events relate and intertwine. I will admit I wasn’t expecting such a dark story (don’t pick this book up thinking you’re in for a light-hearted tale). It’s not often I come across a book that I will happily sacrifice sleep for, but Don’t Breathe a Word was one. Unfortunately, I’m a bit of a baby and the trapdoor-under-the-bed/shadow-figures-in-the-corner seemed all too real in the middle of the night.

When I read mysteries, I love trying to see if I can figure out Who Did It. I had my suspects, but in the end, I couldn’t have been more wrong. (I was a little disappointed with the big reveal. It just didn’t seem fair for readers playing along at home.)

Even though I absolutely loved Don’t Breathe a Word, I still have lingering questions that were not answered.

Glancing at the rest of Ms. McMahon’s books, it seems the covers are all very similar: close-up of a girl’s face. A bit uninspired, yes, but this one was perfect. The girl on the cover of this book was Lisa in my eyes. She looks every bit the part of a girl who wanted to be whisked away by the King of the Fairies.

There were two books that kept making their way into my thoughts as I read: The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton and The Caretaker of Lorne Field by Dave Zeltserman.

Despite the unanswered questions and the cop-out ending, overall I really enjoyed Don’t Breathe a Word and have since gone on to recommend it to others.

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