Tuesday, January 28, 2014
The Fate of Mercy Alban
This book was on the recommended list at my local library. Since I found it quite intriguing, I checked it out and was able to finish it within a night. It was a simple read that had wonderful potential to be an amazing mystery, but sadly fell short with respect to structure and plot.
What I liked about the book was that Wendy Webb was able to create several characters that I truly wanted to like and learn more about. The main character Grace struggled with wanting to be free of her family's history, but at the same needs that family's pull in the small town where she grew up when a series of deaths and unfortunate events start happening. Webb introduces a sweet minister from the church about a mile from her family's home that is instantly likeable, almost reads like the boy next door. The house itself is also a character rich in the history of how it was built with the backstory of a curse passed on from the harvested wood it was created from.
However, the story itself suffered from several issues. In terms of story editing, it ended and began with third person point of view, but the main part of the story is told in first person point of view. This is one of my biggest pet-peeves. The point of view cannot change several times within the story. It is either all third person or all first person. I suppose I am a little old-fashioned in that respect, but that is how it should be. Secondly, the reality of the storyline seemed a little off. A minister jumping into bed with the main character so quickly in the book seemed rather unlikely, especially since the religious views of Grace were not well established. Thirdly, the reading of the unpublished novel within the novel did not work for me. It was very dull in spots with this addition and seemed to make the story slow down greatly. Lastly, it seemed like the actual "ghost story" was kind of lost or skipped over because of the found unpublished novel. It would have be far more interesting to give a little more background on Grace's grandmother and her Irish or Celtic magical roots. I wanted more of that part of Grace's history and of the backstory of her aunts.
Overall, it was a good attempt at a campy ghost story. It reminded me of something that one might tell around a campfire with friends about a cursed house and how those that lived there once had never been heard from again. I really wanted to like this story and parts of it I did. If you are looking for a new take on a ghost story that gives you all the thrill rides of a murder mystery, then you will probably want to skip this one. But if you are someone who enjoys a campy ghost story that gets its point across without explaining everything in detail, then you may want to pick this book up some dark and stormy night.
Rating: 2 out of 5
I borrowed this book from my local library; I was not asked to do a review of this book.
The image was taken from Good Reads.