Aug 1, 2018

ARC Review--Girl at the Grave by Teri Bailey Black

Valentine has spent years trying to outrun her mother's legacy. But small towns have long memories, and when a new string of murders occurs, all signs point to the daughter of a murderer.

Only one person believes Valentine is innocent—Rowan Blackshaw, the son of the man her mother killed all those years ago. Valentine vows to find the real killer, but when she finally uncovers the horrifying truth, she must choose to face her own dark secrets, even if it means losing Rowan in the end.

I received this ARC from the publisher for an honest and voluntary review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Teri Bailey Black's debut Girl at the Grave was a most surprising read! I don't think the description found on Goodreads gives the right idea, I mean it does but it forgets to mention that it takes place long ago in the 1849. Unless a year is mentioned on a book I always assume it's the current year. Unless it's an obvious dystopian and then you know it's some years into the future. Well, this description doesn't give any hint to its time period, not that it mattered, but I will say that it kind of threw me off when Chapter 1 is said to be in 1849! Lol.

Valentine has lived a rough life that past ten years, after her mother was hanged for a murder that she witnessed. Since then, she's pretty much been shunned, her father is always away at work, she's feel the pressures that society dictates her marrying after she finishes school. She's in her last year of schooling and is trying to figure out what to do with her life--like many a senior in high school--when the Rector in town, Mr. Oliver comes to tell her that her mother may have been innocent all along. And when she goes to talk to him the next day, she finds him dying! His last words...Poison! And so begins the chilling mystery that will soon take over Valentine's life.

Valentine is eager to know more about what Mr. Oliver was trying to tell her, but there's little to go on than what he said to her earlier. And to make matters more interesting, the ever popular Rowan Blackshaw has suddenly turned his attention towards her. And it must be said that Rowan's father is the man that Valentine's mother supposedly murdered. If that doesn't make for an interesting storyline I don't know what else could make this more intriguing! Yet, Teri proves to be up to the challenge!

Through all of this ordeal, there's still Valentine's friend Sam to consider. He's been her best friend for years and it's always been assumed that they will eventually marry. But when you add Rowan to the picture, it does present the ever so complicated love triangle. Though to be fair, I felt like it wasn't one where Valentine is pining for them both. She is truly trying to figure out which one she loves most (in that ever so special romantic way).

I was rather surprised to learn that there was more to the first murder, the one her mother supposedly killed a man. A great deal more in fact. One that will surely surprise readers to their very cores! And then, something even more shocking occurs! The death of Mr. Oliver though is only the beginning of the story. As time moves on, two more bodies are found, right on Valentine's property. It's very clear that someone might be trying to frame her for murder. 

Needless to say that Girl at the Grave was not without it's surprises! It was a book that twists and turns and has you trying to figure out who the murderer is and who else might be involved in the greater conspiracy taking over the town!

I feel like my only issue--and it was a rather big issue--was the pacing. Sure things were exciting when the murders were happening and we had the whole air of mystery going on. But then things settled down and life returned to normal. And it was this long length of normalcy that really had me dragging. I kept expecting something MORE to happen. Some hint to who the killer might be, just something to throw me another line and hook me into the story.

I think that's where the romance came in as, naturally, Valentine and Rowan start a somewhat forbidden love affair. It wasn't a sordid one, as Valentine's father is still away for work, traveling as he always does. Which I thought was odd to be leaving your child home alone for this. True, she's close to marrying age, but you'd think he'd worry about suitors calling who don't know the meaning behind the word "no". But alas, that never seemed to be an issue, as Valentine had her neighbor to periodically ask after her.

Girl at the Grave wasn't the story I was expecting to be, but I have to say that it was still a rather decent and intriguing read despite the pacing issue. Perhaps others might be used to this, but I'm not a reader that can handle too much downtime in the story without much happening in between other than the casual everyday tropes of life. The ending was highly satisfactory though! The mystery is solved naturally, and I feel like the majority of loose-ends were wrapped up. Though I wouldn't have minded seeing one more character again, but I liked how Teri ended this in a more nontraditional way, but yet still maintains the knowledge that all will be well!

Overall Rating 3.5/5 stars

Girl at the Grave releases August 7, 2018

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are an award all on their own! So my blog is an award free one! Thanks for any consideration though!