Mary Rose Moreland and Simon Blake are the perfect couple: successful young professionals in Philadelphia, attractive, madly in love, and ready to start a life together. When they travel to England for Simon to ask her parents’ permission to marry Mary Rose, he learns an unsettling secret: Mary Rose disappeared when she was a little girl while the family was vacationing on a remote Scottish island. She reappeared mysteriously thirty-three days later in the exact same spot without a scratch on her and no memory of what had happened.
After Simon hears about this disturbing episode in Mary Rose’s childhood, he becomes obsessed with finding out what happened. He proceeds to launch his own investigation and arranges during their honeymoon for them to visit the island where she disappeared. But as Mary Rose’s behavior gets stranger after their engagement, the need for Simon to unlock the truth about her past grows even more urgent. What he uncovers is beyond his most terrifying fears.
I wasn’t sure what to think about this book when I first saw the synopsis, I couldn’t tell whether it was going to be a horror or something else. It turned out to be something else.
Going into this book I was impressed with the writing and the building of characters. Both elements really helped set the mysterious, brooding tone that this book portrays.
I began the book enjoying Simon’s character but eventually, like a lot of over-bearing husband characters, he got on my nerves. I understand the books whole thing was about protecting Mary Rose but the way he crawled around on all fours for her got really irritating. I understand this was done to add a layer to the story, however, I didn’t enjoy that aspect of it. I much prefer books that aren’t all loved up and mushy. I think my annoyance with the characters in this ruined a certain aspect of the book and made it less enjoyable for me overall.
I really liked the story for this one, however. A twenty year old mystery of how a young girl when missing on a mysterious and creepy Scottish island is definitely the sort of book I like. The tension and paranoia built throughout the story is superb and you’re really stuck wondering is Mary Rose dead? Is Mary Rose a portal to some sort of dark magic? Is the island really filled with paranormal things? It’s a great book that keeps you guessing all the way through.
This book does give all it secrets up at once, which normally isn’t my kind of mystery book, but it worked in this one. I know many people are disappointed by the ending but I thought it was equally shocking as it was poignant. Reading the afterthought bit about the original story of Mary Rose and Hitchcock’s ideas for a movie of it really helped me understand and appreciate how the novel ended.
I would recommend this novel for readers who have a slightly different taste in mysteries than me. If you like themes such as love and loss, then you will really get on with this one. I personally thought it was going to be more spooky and less emotional, but I still enjoyed the bulk of it.
Thanks to Netgalley, Adaptive Books and Sunshine Sachs for giving me the opportunity to read this in exchange for an honest review.