Search This Blog

2024 Bookish Books Reading Challenge (Hosted by Yours Truly)

2024 Challenge Sign-Up Post

January Reviews Link-Up

February Reviews Link-Up

March Reviews Link-Up

April Reviews Link-Up

May Reviews Link-Up

June Reviews Link-Up

July Reviews Link-Up

August Reviews Link-Up

September Reviews Link-Up

October Reviews Link-Up

November Reviews Link-Up

December Reviews Link-Up

My Progress:

12 / 30 books. 40% done!

2024 Literary Escapes Challenge

- Alabama (1)
- Alaska
- Arizona (1)
- Arkansas
- California (3)
- Colorado (1)
- Connecticut
- Delaware
- Florida
- Georgia (1)
- Hawaii
- Idaho (2)
- Illinois (2)
- Indiana
- Iowa
- Kansas
- Kentucky (1)
- Louisiana (1)
- Maine (1)
- Maryland
- Massachusetts (2)
- Michigan
- Minnesota
- Mississippi
- Missouri
- Montana
- Nebraska (1)
- Nevada (1)
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York (4)
- North Carolina (4)
- North Dakota
- Ohio (1)
- Oklahoma (1)
- Oregon (2)
- Pennsylvania (1)
- Rhode Island (1)
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- Tennessee (1)
- Texas (3)
- Utah
- Vermont (2)
- Virginia (1)
- Washington (2)
- West Virginia
- Wisconsin (1)
- Wyoming
- Washington, D.C.* (1)

- Australia (1)
- Canada (1)
- England (10)
- France (1)
- Indonesia (1)
- Ireland (4)
- Italy (1)
- Scotland (2)
- The Netherlands (1)

My Progress:

27 / 51 states. 53% done!

2024 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

My Progress:

22 / 50 books. 44% done!

2024 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

23 / 50 books. 46% done!

Booklist Queen's 2024 Reading Challenge

My Progress:

48 / 50 books. 96% done!

2024 52 Club Reading Challenge

My Progress:

39 / 52 books. 75% done!

2024 Build Your Library Reading Challenge

My Progress:

26 / 40 books. 65% done!

2024 Pioneer Book Reading Challenge

15 / 40 books. 38% done!

2024 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

My Progress:

10 / 25 books. 40% done!

2024 Medical Examiner's Mystery Reading Challenge

2024 Mystery Marathon Reading Challenge

My Progress

12 / 26.2 miles. 46% done!

Mount TBR Reading Challenge

My Progress

25 / 100 books. 25% done!

2024 Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge

My Progress:

63 / 104 books. 61% done!

Around the Year in 52 Books Reading Challenge

My Progress

43 / 52 books. 83% done!

Disney Animated Movies Reading Challenge

My Progress

68 / 165 books. 41% done!
Friday, November 16, 2018

French's Newest Slower, More Meditative, But Compelling Nonetheless

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

A charmer with an uncanny knack for lucking his way out of every scrape, 28-year-old Toby Hennessy is celebrating his latest near-miss when his luck finally runs out.  When he surprises a pair of thieves in the act of robbing his flat, Toby is beaten and left for dead.  Although he survives, he suffers a traumatic brain injury that results in debilitating anxiety and panic attacks.  Needing a change of scenery, Toby flees Dublin for the Ivy House, his ancestral home in the country.  

Toby's idyllic country retreat is shattered when a skull is discovered inside a witch elm on the property.  When the remains are identified and motives are ascertained, Toby is left with a mystery to solve.  With the help of two cousins with whom he grew up, he tries to make sense of his past, a prospect that is suddenly much grimmer and perplexing than he ever thought.  His closest friends and relatives are keeping damning secrets—can Toby uncover the truth they're hiding?  Does he even want to?  

As much as I love the Dublin Murder Squad series by Irish crime writer Tana French, I admit I was intrigued when I heard she would be publishing her first standalone novel.  While The Witch Elm shares similarities with French's previous books, it's also quite different.  Slower moving and more meditative.  Which doesn't mean it's not compelling.  It is.  It's just engrossing in a different way.  Although the story revolves around a mysterious death and involves a police investigation, The Witch Elm is not a crime novel per se.  That is, it's not so much about solving a case as it is about looking inside the heads and hearts of some very intriguing characters.  While the action does ramp up toward the end, the book's finale is depressing and pointless, but also thought-provoking.  Overall, I liked The Witch Elm, although it's definitely not my favorite from French.  

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of other books by Tana French)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language, violence, drug use, sexual content, and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  I received an e-ARC of The Witch Elm from the generous folks at Penguin via those at Edelweiss.  Thank you!


  1. Your review reads as though this takes place in the late 1800s or early 1940s, but I realize it could be modern day. It sounds like this would be a good PBS mystery episode. :-)

    1. Really? Huh. I didn't mean to make the book sound old-fashioned, but I guess it does have kind of a timeless feel to it. It's set in present day, though.

  2. I will admit that I've been very curious about this first standalone book by Tana French. Doesn't this seem like the year that a lot of series authors are doing standalones? Looking forward to reading this or actually, I have it on audio and will listen to it.

  3. I like this author and I hope I can track this one down. Thanks for the post.


Comments make me feel special, so go crazy! Just keep it clean and civil. Feel free to speak your mind (I always do), but be aware that I will delete any offensive comments.

P.S.: Don't panic if your comment doesn't show up right away. I have to approve each one before it posts to prevent spam. It's annoying, but it works!

Blog Widget by LinkWithin


Tress of the Emerald Sea by Brandon Sanderson


The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain

Followin' with Bloglovin'


Followin' with Feedly

follow us in feedly

Grab my Button!

Blog Design by:

Blog Archive