The Witch of Tin Mountain by Paulette Kennedy
Release Date (UK): 6th Dec 2022
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
I obtained an eBook ARC (advanced reader copy) of this novel via NetGalley for the purpose of reading and reviewing. It can currently be pre-ordered online in both eBook and paperback formats.
Gracelynn Doherty has special talents just like her Granny and she uses them to help make cures for the folk of Tin Mountain. Despite helping many a family, Gracelynn and her Granny are still treated with suspicion and as outcasts from the community. Though accusations of witchcraft are never far from folks’ minds, Gracelynn’s family, for the most part, live a peaceful life.
That is until the travelling preacher, Josiah Bellflower, comes to town with promises of healing both the people and the land. However, he is not what he seems and is old enemy come back to haunt Granny after 50 years. With his arrival comes a curse upon Tin Mountain and the pretending preacher swiftly turns the town against Gracelynn and her grandmother with his manipulative and cunning ways.
With Granny falling sick, it is up to Gracelynn to uncover the past and save not just herself but her family and the folks of Tin Mountain from Bellflower’s vengeance and deadly deceptions.
Set in the Depression era, the story is gripping from the very start with a compelling story of mystery, peril and the supernatural. From the start, I was immersed in the world of Tin Mountain and it’s haunting atmosphere. The Ozark setting as well as being developed through the descriptive writing was built upon through the language and colloquialisms used, which I felt really gave it character and suited the story well.
The story is told through two points of view, Gracelynn Doherty’s story in first person in 1931 and Deirdre Werner’s in third person in 1981. I felt that by using a different perspective for each it made it easier to keep track of which character the story was focusing on and helped differentiate the points in time. The two timelines really aided to build the story and drew parallels between the events of the past and the present (of the book).
I thought it was cleverly done how the sections in the past gradually revealed secrets and history without ever giving too much away so that it would affect the impact of the mysteries and events in Gracelynn’s story. Both characters were engaging and likeable, and though they shared some similarities, I felt they were still distinct from each other in their thoughts and behaviour.
Kennedy created a haunting atmosphere throughout and tension that steadily increased as the story went on. There was a real sense of threat developed, in both timelines, as both characters struggled with deviance and machinations employed by Bellflower. There were also tender moments that provided a breathing space for the reader and a change of pace.
The story built up to the climatic events of the final chapters and whilst they were full of action, it never felt rushed. The ending itself felt satisfying and touching with the characters finally rewarded for all the battles they had to go through.
I found The Witch of Tin Mountain by Paulette Kennedy utterly enthralling and loved every minute of reading it. The characters with their secrets and struggles were engaging and the haunting atmosphere created just added to the feeling of suspense and tension. In fact, as you might have noticed, I could find nothing that I did not like or would change about this story, which is a rare thing indeed.
This is one of my top reads so far this year and I will definitely be recommending others to pick up this book up when it is released in December (in the UK).