Uprooting her from her Manhattan apartment and shipping her to Alabama is her mother’s solution for Sylvie’s unhappiness. Her father’s cousin is restoring a family home in a town rich with her family’s history. And that’s where things start to get shady. As it turns out, her family has a lot more history than Sylvie ever knew. More unnerving, though, are the two guys that she can’t stop thinking about. Shawn Maddox, the resident golden boy, seems to be perfect in every way. But Rhys—a handsome, mysterious foreign guest of her cousin’s—has a hold on her that she doesn’t quite understand.
Then she starts seeing things. Sylvie’s lost nearly everything—is she starting to lose her mind as well? (Source:Goodreads)
From the beginning, Sylvie has a very strong voice:
It’s funny how so much can hinge on one missed step. Not funny ha-ha. Funny that the moment that should have been the pinnacle of my seventeen years on this planet ends up making me famous for the entirely wrong reason. So I really don’t mean funny so much as tragically ironic.
That is an early passage from the book that illustrates what a strong and perceptive personality she has. She also has a wonderful sense of humor, using phrases like the toes of my right foot were swollen like fat pink cocktail weenies and she feeds me like I’m an underweight turkey in September. There were so many little clever descriptions and asides like that, I could keep quoting for a long time. Sylvie is by far the most developed and fleshed out character in the story.
So, as far as the leading man -Rhys- goes…I definitely enjoyed his part in the book. Like I mentioned before, his character wasn’t as well developed as Sylvie’s, but he still definitely had a voice of his own. As to his name-that is pronounced “Reese” right? Because saying it “rice?” Not as awesome. Just sayin’. Anyway, he is mysterious and Welsh and pretty darn wonderful.
Anyway, back to the real star of the show. Sylvie was more than a little petulant at first, but I found it more amusing than annoying. The fact that she had so many misconceptions and assumptions about the South made me laugh. The thought of her relatives opening an inn that would be at least two hours away from the closest airport was unbelievable. The fact that the people that stayed there would come for such mundane and hopelessly rural activities such as antique shopping and hunting? Frightening!
I have experience with this type of attitude being from Oklahoma. I’ve been asked everything from “Have you ever seen a tumbleweed?” to “Wow, Oklahoma huh? So do people really live in teepees?” (By the way: yes I have, and no we don’t.)
The irresistable South (and the irresistable leading man) quickly grow on her though, and she starts embracing her roots and discovering things about her ancestors. I don’t want to give anything away on the supernatural end, because the story is pretty slow for awhile as it slowly builds up and Sylvie discovers what is going on. If I explained it, you would be pretty bored for awhile. That is the only gripe I have with the book actually, it just moved too slow. For about the first two hundred pages I didn’t mind, because I loved being in the South. But it was the middle section that really lagged for me. Don’t let that stop you from reading this though, because if you stick with it the story overall really is very good.
Far and away the best thing about this book is the writing. Rosemary Clement-Moore is a wonderful descriptive writer, and she brings the South to life in a wonderful way. It is one of my favorite settings and she does it proud. She was also great at writing tension and chemistry between the characters. Not only Sylvie and Rhys, but just the all the characters’ interactions in general.
So, overall I definitely recommend giving this a read if you’d like to escape to Alabama for awhile.