Failed academic Frank Nichols and his wife, Eudora, have arrived in the sleepy Georgia town of Whitbrow, where Frank hopes to write a history of his family's old estate-the Savoyard Plantation- and the horrors that occurred there. At first, the quaint, rural ways of their new neighbors seem to be everything they wanted. But there is an unspoken dread that the townsfolk have lived with for generations. A presence that demands sacrifice. It comes from the shadowy woods across the river, where the ruins of Savoyard still stand. Where a longstanding debt of blood has never been forgotten. A debt that has been waiting patiently for Frank Nichols's homecoming...
Buehlman packs suspense and secrets into his debut novel, set in the deceptively quiet fictional town of Whitbrow, Ga., just after the Great Depression. When unemployed soldier Frank Nichols inherits a house from his last living relative, he ignores the disjointed note from his deceased aunt warning him away and moves in along with his girlfriend, Dora. At first, everything is idyllic, but as Frank uncovers strange superstitions concerning the woods across the river-the site of his great-grandfather's plantation-the mysterious inhabitants of those woods are starting to take notice of him. The era is vividly rendered, complete with Jim Crow laws, vigilante justice, and racial tensions. The elegant prose and heavy foreshadowing keep readers on their toes right up until the big reveal, but once the monster is out of the bag, the novel clumsily muscles its way to a formulaic finale. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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September 06, 2011
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