Thursday, October 31, 2013

Harrowgate by Kate Maruyama

It's time for a Halloween surprise! Today's review is actually written by my good friend Rachel. With her help I hope to bring a bit more variety to the reviews on Reading Amidst the Chaos, so please help me welcome her to the RAtChaos family!


Michael should be overjoyed by the birth of his son, but his wife, Sarah won't let him touch the baby or allow anyone to visit. Greta, an intrusive, sinister doula has wormed her way into their lives, driving a wedge between Michael and his family. Every time he leaves the Harrowgate, he returns to find his beloved wife and baby altered. He feels his family slipping away and, as a malevolent force begins to creep in, Michael does what any new father would do--he fights to keep his family together. Kate Maruyama’s debut novel, Harrowgate, is a chilling, richly detailed story of love, loss, and the haunted place that lies between.

Harrowgate is the perfect Halloween read for those interested in being spooked in a more contemplative and slowly suspenseful way.  While there is a shocking discovery, the author offers it at the beginning and with little emotion.  Rather, the anticipation while reading comes from trying, with the characters, to understand how this new world might hurt those involved.

I appreciated the author not getting caught up in explaining the unexplainable.  She presents the reader with the supernatural in a very natural world and expects him or her to accept this.  However, it is impressive and surprising how quickly the characters also accept these phenomena.  While it speaks to how far we will go to protect the ones we love, a clear theme of the book, I do think my own reactions would be more dramatic.  Once again, though, this understatement was so the author could focus on the quieter psychological intensity and confusion of such circumstances.

The issues I had with the book arose more from the doula character’s story-arch.  It is no secret that she’s the nemesis, however, you spend most of the book unsure of why.  When the inevitable discovery and fighting of evil comes, there is little true explanation and even less of a tangible resolution.  This was the part of the book in which I needed clear clarification rather than a murky and too easy ending.

Despite these issues, I’d give this book a solid B and recommend it as an easy, engaging, entertaining read for those willing to accept the simplicity of a not-so-simple situation.

Overall Feeling - B

Series - Series

*Title requested from NetGalley*