Saturday, 23 September 2017

The Visitors

Author: Catherine Burns
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Type: e-book
Source: NetGalley
Publisher: Gallery, Threshold Pocket Books
First Published: September 26, 2017
First Line: "Like a white bird, the scream flew up from the depths of the cellar, then became trapped inside Marion's head."

Book Description from GoodReadsMarion Zetland lives with her domineering older brother, John in a decaying Georgian townhouse on the edge of a northern seaside resort. A timid spinster in her fifties who still sleeps with teddy bears, Marion does her best to shut out the shocking secret that John keeps in the cellar.

Until, suddenly, John has a heart attack and Marion is forced to go down to the cellar herself and face the gruesome truth that her brother has kept hidden.

As questions are asked and secrets unravel, maybe John isn't the only one with a dark side.

My Rating: 2.5 stars (aka 'just okay')

Disclaimer: My sincere thanks to Gallery, Threshold Pocket Books for providing me with a digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

My Review: I finished this book and thought to myself 'Well, that wasn't the book I thought it would be'. I had expected a twisted, suspenseful kind of read with a touch of sinister but instead I got a drawn-out character study of the life of Marion, the spinster at the centre of the story. 

Marion is a woman who is child-like in her naivete, life experiences, mannerisms and relationships. Worldly she is not, and people (including Marion herself) don't expect much from her. During the first two-thirds of the book, the story jumps back and forth with a lot of detail about her early life and the many times she felt worthless, unloved, sad, pathetic etc. But even with this back story I didn't sympathize with her character. She's rather dull and readers are stuck in her head a lot of the time.  This isn't an exciting place to be since much of her time is spent pacifying herself with food, TV and a detailed fantasy life she has created. I would have preferred the focus to be on the Visitors who, sadly and surprisingly, were very tertiary characters.

Initially I was intrigued with the premise of the book but this ended up being a 'just okay' read for me. This book needed a healthy dose of tension, a focus on the 'Visitors' and not waiting until three-quarters through the book to reveal the major plot point (which was obvious to me by then).

This story is a look at the tragic life of a woman who has been beaten down her entire life. The fact that there are 'Visitors' in her home is, unfortunately, quite secondary to the focus on her inner thoughts. I kept reading in the hopes that things would turn around and I'd have a 'ah-ha!' moment but that never happened. This just wasn't a book for me.

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