Genre: Young Adult | Supernatural
Can Love Last Beyond the Grave?
Sylvie Davis is a ballerina who can’t dance. A broken leg ended her career, but Sylvie’s pain runs deeper. What broke her heart was her father’s death, and what’s breaking her spirit is her mother’s remarriage—a union that’s only driven an even deeper wedge into their already tenuous relationship.
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?
Summary: Sylvie Davis is sent to her late father's ancestral home for the summer in Alabama to recover from "The Accident" that ruined her career in ballet. Bitter and distraught, Sylvie begrudgingly adapts to her new historical residence even though there are some unsettling rules (ex. no dogs in the house), bewildering small-town beliefs/superstitions, and two young men that she develops conflicting/unbalancing feelings for. Even though the lush green gardens outside her home brighten her days, Sylvie's nights are haunted by a watcher in the windows and high-pitched howling noises from the nearby woods. Any attempts to discover the secrets of her father's Old South legacy are usually interrupted by the Teen Town Council/Shawn Maddox or the local ghost town (Cahawba) archaeological dig volunteer, Rhys Griffith. And when the legendary ghost stories begin to become reality, Sylvie takes it upon herself to set the past straight by uncovering the mysteries of Bluestone Hill.
Review: Sylvie was a rocky character for me, she either came off a stubbornly strong or frustratingly vulnerable and as much as I wanted to recognize her as an independent female lead, in my eye, she only succeeded in lacking confidence. I know she had good reason to be gloomy, but her coarse actions towards events in the story dampened my feelings towards her. On the other hand, Rhys was a highly witty and delightful character. He portrayed a compelling figure that actually revealed many of the stories historical facts and much-needed revelations that moved the tale along. Shawn also depicted a vibrant character who shined greatly as the small-town's favorite son, but who also had a darker more complex and intense side. The side-characters were all entertaining enough (somewhat excluding cousin Paula who was more of a downer than anything else) without distracting from the main leads -- a plus!
The story had an intriguing concept full of ghosts, folk-lore, history, mythology, etc. that it instantly appealed to me, but there was almost too much going on in each of those areas that they kind of eclipsed each other. Also, sadly, some parts that I felt were very important in the story were either anti-climatic/down-played and only slightly revealed right at the end (ex. the whole 'past-life' concept), thus I would have liked a bit more development altogether. I was entertained though by the spook-factor created from the local ghost beliefs/visions which added a little supernatural thrill. Plus, the romance sparks were there, just slightly hollow.
Likes: Personally, I did enjoy Sylvie's soy milk drinking/meat-substitute eating lifestyle since recently I've adapted to becoming a part-time vegan and got a hoot out of her reactions to the southern dishes. Also, the Welsh mythology was something all together new for me (and that's saying something for a historical/folk-lore Nut like me)!