Thursday, July 5, 2007

On The Edge Of The Woods by Diane Tyrrel

Spoilers Alert!

Book Description

It was a white elephant of a house – a turn-of-the-century rambling manor in the shadows of the Sierras, full of intriguing nooks and crannies, rich with architectural details and delights. Architect Stacy Addison knew that she had come home the moment she saw it. And even though it needed months of renovations, nothing would stop Stacy from buying this beautiful house on the edge of a fairy tale-like forest. Not the fact that it was hours from her life and job in San Francisco, or that her intriguing new neighbor Brand Vandevere had wanted the house first. Especially not that.

But then come the threatening notes, the phone hang-ups – and the harassment. Someone doesn’t want Stacy in the house, and will stop at nothing to see her leave. But not just the house, Stacy slowly realizes. Someone wants her gone – permanently…

This compelling gothic romance was told in a thoroughly modern, readable way. Narrated by Stacy, in the first person point-of-view, the prose was clear and clean, sprinkled with phrases that I find charming, such as "dusty with the lace of velvety old spider webs", "bundle of papers, each sheet sheer and precious as gold leaf" and "longed for the old house like a lover”.

Stacy and Brand were strong, well-developed characters; their chemistry was good. Stacy was a modern and intuitive girl who longed for Brand, whom she thought was unattainable, due to his involvement with Alana. I felt her emotions, her desire and pining for Brand, her fears and suspicions, her dreams. Brand was the strong, silent and enigmatic kind of guy. Thanks to his journal entries in the beginning of the story, we knew that he was as strongly attracted to Stacy as she was to him. As the story unfolded, we saw that he was sweet too.

For a debut effort, the author did a very good job with the atmosphere - I felt a touch of menace and mystery throughout the story. The settings were vividly described; the main characters well-fleshed out. The sheer number of characters who appeared would keep you guessing till the end as to who the villain was.

What bothered me:

1. Stacy and Brand's romance took too long to culminate. There were many misunderstandings that got in the way, the biggest being Brand and Alana’s ambiguous relationship. This love triangle wasn’t resolved until the last quarter of the story, hence Stacy and Brand wasted a lot of time moping and pining for each other. But when they finally got together, it was so very good.

2. The misunderstanding over who the “Creeper” was – I felt cheated as I thought it was too easy. Stacy could have easily cleared this misunderstanding, instead of jumping to and holding on to her own conclusion.

3. Some plots were superfluous, such as the mystery over the absence of Stacy's brother, Brand's sister and her paintings and the children in the woods. These plots just cluttered up the flow of the story.

Conclusion: This was a gripping story that kept me reading until 1.00 am, two days in a row. I would definitely read another book by this author.

My rating3
Sensuality ratingSubtle

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