Newly-wed Sarah was delighted to move in with her mother-in-law, Martha, a widower who had raised her son, by herself, on an isolated Midwest farm.
A kid from a broken home who had been raised in a group house in Chicago, Sarah had struggled to put herself through college on scholarships. She considered herself to be self-reliant and willing to work hard for her dreams. She wanted only one thing, a real family. Todd was the love of her life, so that she was sure that she'd love Martha, too.
It never occurred to Sarah that Martha would see her as competition, to be eliminated.
First off, I would like to say this is my first horror book. So kudos to me for making that first jump towards reading a horror book. It wasn't like I expect though. I was expecting to be just scared crapless.
Like I started reading this novella at midnight. I was going for the whole, "This is going to scare me so bad I'm going to have nightmares!" atmosphere.
Unfortunately, it didn't scare me at all. It was more of a romantic suspense book, which is what I'm really use to. I was surprised by the lack of scare power in this book. It had such great reviews, and it seemed like a good premise.
But it just didn't wow me. I think the main problem for me is that I was never included in the action parts. Like clearly there was a lot going on, but I just felt like my girlfriend was telling me a scary story about her girlfriend and what she went through.
I wanted to be part of the scare factor. I wanted to be shocked and have nightmares. Instead I listened on to what my girlfriend had to say. It was an interesting story, but to me, it just didn't include me into the action. Therefore, it wasn't SO finger biting or anything. It was just bleh.
But I will say she's an awesome writer, I just wished I enjoyed it more.
Characters: Believable and true. I could feel that these characters were realistic. Especially Todd. There are some men, who shall not be named, who do not feel their mothers do anything wrong. Ever.
So that, to me, is so realistic. I've seen it happen where the daughter and the mother-in-law don't get along and the husband refuses to believe his mother is "that bad". So that to me felt believable.
The only thing I can complain about in this section is how she told us their background story. She just dumped it on us. This is a typical example of exposition dump.
I wish that the author and the editor sat down and talked about this a little bit more. I wish they talked about a lot more as a matter of fact.
Plot: This was clearly well developed. I just didn't feel part of the action. I wanted to be part of it. It was just the way the story was told that just threw me off.
The author clearly worked this whole thing out perfectly.
Dialogue: This was a huge issue to me and part of the heart of the problem. The characters only had, at the most, ten lines of dialogue in the WHOLE novella.
That is just ridiculous.
Characters talk ALL THE TIME and should be allowed to talk. There should be conversations in the text and allow us to see into their personalities. The only was I was able to tell the mother-in-law was bad was because of her actions.
I don't even know what she SOUNDS like. Which is just wrong. I want to feel her evil. I want to hear her snub towards the daughter-in-law. I want to be able to see the difference in the way she talks to Todd and Sarah. I want to hear the sugar sweetness that she caters to Todd, and the rock hard hate she feels towards Sarah. I want to hear her spit out Sarah's name like it's venom.
I wanted the mother-in-law to corner her and say every loathing thing she could think of to Sarah and have Sarah talk back to her in the same matter.
In short: I wanted confrontation in words and not only in actions!
I wanted the build up the tension in the conversations!
I wanted to hear Sarah and Todd argue in their bedroom and the mother-in-law to overhear it and grin maliciously!
I just wanted more in this department.
I understand that this is a novella, but come on! I need something more than just hear Sarah complaining about what her mother-in-law did. I want to hear the pathetic excuses the mother had for her actions!
I just wanted to hear the characters more, and Sarah describe the actions less.
Setting: I do love how Carrie Green incorporated the country theme to the whole plot. It worked wonderfully.
I could feel the isolation that Sarah felt. I wish I could hear her complain to her husband about it. That would have been nice.
Ending: A bit rushed, but I love the last line. It was beautiful and rounded out the whole ending with a bow on top.
Symbolism: Yes, there is a category for this! I love how she incorporated violets from beginning to end. And how she unraveled the meaning at the end. I thought I understood what they meant, but she broke it down like a shot gun. It was nice and understated. And it rounded out the ending as well.
Overall: Would I recommend this book?
Eh. I don't know.
I would give her bonus points for writing talent. She can obviously write. And I would give her another chance.
But I don't know if I would recommend this to someone with my high expectations. If it was free, then yes I would. It's only like 0.99 cents, so give it a shot and tell me what you think.
I would be cautious that's all. And please read other reviews. It could have been just me, but I just didn't like it. I know it could be SO MUCH BETTER and THAT'S what drives me bananas. I wish I could have sat down with them (the author and the editor) and had a nice long chat about where I expect the book to grow. I would been on her like white on rice to make sure the book came out like it should have.
I would have loved to been her beta reader and tell her what I really thought needed improvement.
However, this is life. Just read it and tell me what you think. And please, never stop feeding your need to read! :)