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Thursday, May 13, 2021

Promising Premise Doesn't Pan Out in Historical Mystery

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

I usually write my own plot summaries, but this one captures the essence of After Alice Fell by Kim Taylor Blakemore so well, I decided to use it instead...

Until she discovers the truth of her sister’s death, no one will rest in peace.

New Hampshire, 1865. Marion Abbott is summoned to Brawders House asylum to collect the body of her sister, Alice. She’d been found dead after falling four stories from a steep-pitched roof. Officially: an accident. Confidentially: suicide. But Marion believes a third option: murder.

Returning to her family home to stay with her brother and his second wife, the recently widowed Marion is expected to quiet her feelings of guilt and grief—to let go of the dead and embrace the living. But that’s not easy in this house full of haunting memories.

Just when the search for the truth seems hopeless, a stranger approaches Marion with chilling words: I saw her fall.

Now Marion is more determined than ever to find out what happened that night at Brawders, and why. With no one she can trust, Marion may risk her own life to uncover the secrets buried with Alice in the family plot.

The premise of After Alice Fell is simple, but oh so intriguing!  I love a mystery, especially one with a Gothic feel that centers on a creepy old asylum.  Considering all this, I expected to like the book more.  Problem is, the story moves along at a glacial pace, so slowly that I almost put it down several times.  The pace picks up in the second half of the novel, but it's still a bit of a slog.  In addition, the characters are off-putting and unlikable.  Add in a predictable plot that isn't nearly as twisty as I wanted it to be and you've got a tale that I wanted to love and just...didn't.  Although I had high expectations for this one, in the end it turned out to be an average read for me.  Bummer.

(Readalikes:  A little like Woman 99 by Greer McAllister)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for brief, mild language (no F-bombs), violence, blood/gore, and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  I received an e-ARC of After Alice Fell from the generous folks at Lake Union Publishing via those at NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!
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Reading

<i>Reading</i>
Kill Her Twice by Stacey Lee

Listening

<i>Listening</i>
My Lady Jane by Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand, and Jodi Meadows



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