Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Books Read: Darcie Chan - The Mill River Recluse

Disfigured by the blow of an abusive husband, the widow Mary McAllister has spent almost sixty years secluded in a white marble mansion overlooking the town of Mill River, Vermont. Her links to the outside world are few: the mail, an elderly priest, and a bedroom window with a view of the town below.

Most longtime residents of Mill River consider the marble house and its occupant peculiar, and few of them have ever seen Mary. But three newcomers - a police officer and his daughter and a new schoolteacher - are curious about the reclusive old woman. Only the town priest truly knows the Mill River recluse, and the secret she keeps . . . a secret that, once revealed, will change the town, and the lives of its residents, forever.

The Mill River Recluse was an instant hit with readers when Darcie Chan self-published it in the US eventually topping the New York Times bestseller list.  As a result the book was sold worldwide and has recently been published in paperback here in the UK.

To the residents of Mill River Mary McAllister is the batty old woman who lives in the big house on the hill that very few have ever seen so no-one really knows her story as to why she lives the way she does.

Throughout the book we are taken back in time to learn of the events that shaped Mary's life and turned her into the frightened house-bound person she has become.  She was never the most outgoing person in the first place but once you've read her story you can understand completely how her life has turned out this way.  The only visitors she receives were from Conor, her grandfather-in-law, and Father O'Brien, the local priest, whose attempts at getting Mary out of the house were always fraught with emotions.   

But the book is not just about Mary's story, we're also introduced to some of the other interesting characters from the town including 'crazy' Daisy who makes and sells her magic potions, local cop Leroy and his strange behaviour, his new colleague Kyle Hansen with his young daughter, and teacher Claudia, who have all recently moved to the town for a fresh start.

Although this was a sad book in parts, overall I found it an enjoyable book to read with enough intrigue to keep me interested.  I interviewed Darcie Chan last year about the success of The Mill River Recluse and having now read the book I'm delighted that Darcie is writing more books set in Mill River which will re-introduce us to the residents of the town as well as introducing us to some new characters.  Hopefully the second book will be published sometime this year.

Thank you to Sphere for sending me a proof copy of this book to review.

No comments:

Post a Comment