By Nancy Ohlin
Published 2013 by Simon Pulse
Tess has just transferred to the imposing Thorn Abbey and soon hears many stories of the beautiful girl who lived in her room before her, Becca. Becca seems to have been loved by all, including the very handsome and charming Max, but she died tragically in a boating accident. Or did she? Tess is about to uncover the truth.
All right, someone remind me why I requested the e-galley of this book because I'm having a very difficult time remembering. Maybe I thought it sounded dark and creepy? Maybe I have a thing for imposing boarding school stories? Who knows? Whatever the reason was, it wasn't good enough because I find myself wishing I hadn't bothered with this book. That's not to say it was the most awful thing I've read, just that it wasn't very good. At first, I was intrigued - the premise sounded interesting and I do seem to enjoy a good creepy boarding school story. Additionally, the pacing is well-done - the chapters are short enough to keep you turning the pages and the suspense is executed nicely. However, it doesn't take terribly long for the plot to veer off-course. Tess' instant love for Max and resulting obsession with Becca is pretty annoying - and this is the main focus of the book. So you can see where this book and I started to part ways. I did not like how dense and wishy-washy Tess was - I mean, I get that supernatural forces would probably not be one's first explanation for a roommate's strange behavior but if you're in a creepy boarding school story, chances are pretty good that there's a ghost involved. The storyline with Killian and Tess seemed incredibly out of place and I still don't really see its purpose. I both liked and hated the ending - I liked how the Becca/Devon storyline finished out, but I hated everything else about the end. In the acknowledgements, the author thanks Daphne du Maurier for inspiring her to write this story and, after thinking about it, I'm pretty sure this is at least part of the reason why I didn't enjoy this book. Looking back on it, it's quite clearly derivative of Rebecca - another book I really disliked. I can see this book having its fans - creepy boarding school story, after all - but it really did not work well for me.
Thanks to the publisher for a digital advance reader's copy, provided via Edelweiss.