Disclaimer: This ARC was provided to my by NetGalley and Guernica Editions in exchange for an honest review. Thus, an honest review this will be.
I will have to admit that while I clicked like on the cover picture of this title in NetGalley, it wasn’t really the best cover I have seen, even though it turned out to be somewhat appropriate for the story. However, when I checked the synopsis provided, and peeked just a teeny bit at some reviews (not too much), I became really interested in the book. Because of that, I took the chance of requesting this. I wasn’t really hoping to be approved, especially since I am new and I just got some requests declined, but thankfully I was given a copy of this title. It took me around a month to finish this book, but to be honest, that was because I was holding off on finishing it because one, I was really liking it, and two, I kind of wanted to delay having to write my review (sorry!).
It is 1955, and the three Fayette sisters have lived their whole lives in the enchanting French Quarter of New Orleans. Though neglected by their parents, they share a close bond with one another–from afternoons in their small, shared bedroom, to trying to speak with ghosts beneath the sweeping trees in their garden. When the middle sister Constance disappears, the family believes she has run away, as she has done before; it is only the youngest–thirteen-year-old Bonavere (known as Bonnie)–who suspects there is more to it. Met only with grief from her family and resistance from the police, Bonnie embarks on a journey to bring her sister home, venturing through fabled Red Honey Swamp, and the city’s vibrant and brutal history. Unravelling the layers of her sister’s secret life, Bonnie discovers a pattern of girls found half-mad in the Louisiana swampland, and a connection to the wealthy, notorious Lasalle family. To rescue her sister, she must confront the realities of true violence, and the very nature of insanity.Synopsis taken from NetGalley, also seen at Guernica Editions
The story of this book drew me in. The writing is also quite beautiful. At times, it was to the point where I’m not even sure it’s appropriate for such language to come from the perspective of a character as young as Bonnie is. However, it did not put me off and besides, it was a different time period. Who am I to know how quickly kids mature at that time, in addition to the effect of the manner they were brought up in this particular tale? In any case, this was the type of story where I was put into suspense, and really felt for and with the characters. There were times when I got annoyed at Bonnie, the main character, for her very rash, and frankly, stupid decisions. However, there I see the naiveté and youthfulness that I was looking for. Children or teens, while having their heart in the right place, can and do make some unwise decisions which can make things worse, and which could have been avoided by being calm, or thinking just a bit more.
As mentioned, while I do get annoyed at Bonnie sometimes, I quite like her, and I did cheer her on as she went about trying to find her sister. I also liked the other characters, especially Bonnie’s friend Saul, as he is just a precious kid (he was partly the reason I got annoyed at Bonnie because I really just want to protect him). I also sympathized with Bonnie’s sisters, although I am not sure I fully understood them.
The story is another one of those that at some point I couldn’t stop reading, and I had to really force myself to pause because I wanted to finish some other titles first (I don’t think that happened but to be fair my other read was a 2-in-1 volume), among other things. It was also realistic with its themes and with the way it resolved some of the issues that developed, but it still had that surreal feeling brought about by the setting in New Orleans, and the other themes that come with it, such as voodoo, which brought about just enough creepiness to add to the whole plot. Despite not wanting to stop reading, I did not feel the need to rush myself or skim pages just to get to the reveal of what happened to Bonnie’s sister, or if there is any solution to the problems that popped up along the way. It was a tense ride, but I enjoyed it very much.
I will say I am not sure if the ending satisfied me, but is it really supposed to?
All in all, this is a story I’m glad I found and read. If you want a suspenseful read, with just a touch of the eerie and voodoo, and some nice use of language, you may like this. I know I did.
Bonavere Howl is available starting on May 1, 2019. You may check out more details at Guernica Editions.