03 May 2016

"All Things Cease to Appear" by Elizabeth Brundage [A Book Review]



I was lucky enough to receive a complimentary three month subscription to the Book of the Month club.  I'm by no means obligated to write this review, but I decided to for this particular book.

When you first start reading Elizabeth Brundage, you are having dinner with the neighbors living nearest to the couple who moved to town recently - the Clares. Then there's a knock at the door - the husband, the unlikeable George Clare, is holding his child and the the little girl says to the couple who have opened their door to them, "Mommy's hurt."

Thus the mystery begins. Wife and mother, Catherine Clare has been killed. But by who? But wait, there's another story to tell first.

That's when we meet the original family who owned the farmhouse that the Clares now live in. The Hale family. And they suffered their family tragedy - one resulting in a death.

My first impression

There are no quotations in this book. You get used to it fairly quickly, though. It's definitely weird at first.

I noticed a lot of the words associated with this book are "chilling" and "haunted" and "suspense." Those aren't quite the words I would associate with this novel. Close, but not quite.

The mystery surrounding Catherine Clare's murder doesn't get addressed until much, much later in the book. What follows that initial scene is the background of the Hale family and the marriage between Catherine and her husband George. George proves to be a cunning, smarmy, unlikeable con who only seems to fall apart when his image is threatened. Catherine, more likeable, but annoyingly devoted to a man who she soon realizes doesn't like her one bit.

Then the Hale boys. All three are troubled, all are likeable. You meet Cole who becomes more part of the story than the other two, especially with his loving nature towards Catherine's daughter. The three boys are strongly connected to Catherine as she makes a home for her family in the farmhouse they used to grow up in.

The farmhouse itself is haunted, although don't expect the usual jumps and creepiness you'd find in a ghost story. This isn't like that. It's more like the awareness of another presence in the room and the memories of the death that happened in the Hale family that Catherine doesn't quite figure out until later too.

My overall impression

This is a book filled with unhappy people trying to make their life work. It was a book that switched around points of view a LOT and once I felt like I got going with a character, it would switch around. It felt like I was riding in a car with a person who kept pressing the breaks.

But this book did keep me interested and coming back to it. I wanted to see how the lives of these characters played out. And despite how I knew things were ending up for Catherine, I wanted her in some way to get out of the situation.

I would recommend this book, especially if you sort of are interested in a challenging, troubling mystery that keeps you coming back for more. Not my top five picks but certainly worth reading. It stays with you.

Last week I wrote a blog post asking, will justice be done? Will Catherine's killer get away with it or will he (or she) be caught?

Well....I can't tell you without giving too much away. I can tell you it isn't quite the clear cut ending and justice that I was hoping for, but it was worth it. The ending was fair and that's pretty awesome to me.

If you want to read this book, purchase it now through Amazon. I also highly recommend signing up for the Book of the Month Club. They're offering a 30% off a 3-month subscription if you use the coupon code MAY30. Purchase the subscription today!

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