Monday, June 15, 2015

Twisty Bellweather Rhapsody An Odd, Haunting Read

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Minnie Graves is not thrilled about being a bridesmaid for her sister's wedding.  The 12-year-old is trapped in a huge, creepy hotel in an itchy dress and shoes that pinch her feet.  Torture.  Then, things take a turn for the worse.  Much worse.  In an event that will haunt Minnie for the rest of her life, she witnesses the murder-suicide of a new bride and groom.

Fifteen years later, Minnie returns to the Bellweather Hotel to face her fears head-on.  She's not the only one in residence.  The old hotel is, in fact, teeming with guests.  Hundreds of high school musicians from around New York have converged there for the annual Statewide festival.  Among them are 17-year-old bassoonist Bertram ("Rabbit") Hatmaker and his dramatic, self-absorbed twin sister, Alice.  Running the event is cold, cruel Olivia Fabian.  Among those scarred by Olivia's sharp tongue are her daughter Jill, a flute prodigy; Natalie Wink Wilson, a pianist who is now the music director at the Hatmakers' school; and Fisher Brodie, a flamboyant Scottish symphony conductor.  Add in the Bellweather's ancient concierge, Harold Hastings, and you have a full cast of odd, intriguing characters whose individual stories play out as a snowstorm threatens to strand them all at the crumbling hotel.

When Alice discovers her roommate, Jill Fabian, hanging from the ceiling in the same room where the infamous murder-suicide took place fifteen years ago, it throws everything—and everyone—into a panic.  Especially when Jill's body, along with any evidence of her suicide, mysteriously vanishes.  While the Bellweather is searched for signs of the young flautist, the weather worsens, bringing with it the terrifying prospect of being snowed-in with a killer or, worse, the ghost of a murderous bride.

Bellweather Rhapsody, a sophomore novel by Kate Racculia, is a difficult book to describe.  It defies genre, really, with its mixture of high school drama, classic horror, dark comedy, and twisty mystery.  Some reviewers have said it's like Agatha Christie meets The Shining meets Glee.  Works for me.  All I know is, Bellweather Rhapsody tells a strange, haunting story that's full of didn't-see-that-one-coming twists and turns.  It's wholly compelling, though thoroughly depressing.  And weird.  While I didn't love the novel, it's one that's definitely stuck with me, if just because of its oddness.

(Readalikes:  a little like The Shining by Stephen King)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for strong language, violence/gore, and depictions of underage drinking

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find

2 comments:

  1. Well this one sounds intriguing but then you said it was kind if depressing. Now I'm not sure I should bother. Hmmm. Maybe when I'm in the mood for a mystery/horror/something unique?

    ReplyDelete
  2. This sounds decidedly odd. And interesting. I'm putting it on my list to check out. :-)

    ReplyDelete

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