Unsettling and Excellent
5 out of 5 stars
It wasn’t until I went back and read my review of the first book from Jess Lourey that I read (Unspeakable Things) that I realized that both of these stories take place in Lilydale. The funny part was because of the time difference, I had a completely different looking town in my head for Unspeakable Things as I did for Bloodline, but now that I know that, it does make sense, and it also sparks my intrigue into the interconnectedness of the two stories.
I don’t like to say things that I’ve said in other reviews before, especially things that I’ve said about other books from the same author, but in my last review I said this and it stands true for Bloodline as well: “Lourey wrote a book that skeeved me out on numerous levels. I kept feeling heebie-jeebies when reading it…”. I said it for Unspeakable Things and I’ll repeat it for Bloodline. Lourey has a way of skeeving me out. She is able to write books that had me feeling uneasy throughout the whole thing.
For the first time in a long time, I guessed the “main plot twist” in this one, and it was only because I was paying attention to the clues but also to the misdirection that Lourey was trying to use. Usually I fall for them all, but this time I was able to stay focused and figure it out. Now, that being said, the feeling I have (the wtf moment) in books that totally surprise me isn’t any better than the feeling of “yes I was right!” that I had when I actually guessed the plot twist.
I’m glad that Lourey and/or her publisher didn’t use any comparisons in the synopsis of this book – but it has a lot of the same tropes that other dystopian books have. But for some reason they felt so much more realistic in this one. I kept getting obvious Handmaid’s Tale vibes, but also Pleasantville, along with the “knowing someone is always watching” vibes that The Truman Show gave me. Now, this book isn’t really like any of these stories, but it still reminded me a lot of them.
Overall, just a fantastic book and one that I will be recommending to my friends and family. One that kept me unsettled throughout and one that won’t leave my brain for a while.
Perfect town. Perfect homes. Perfect families. It’s enough to drive some women mad…
In a tale inspired by real events, pregnant journalist Joan Harken is cautiously excited to follow her fiancé back to his Minnesota hometown. After spending a childhood on the move and chasing the screams and swirls of news-rich city life, she’s eager to settle down. Lilydale’s motto, “Come Home Forever,” couldn’t be more inviting.
And yet, something is off in the picture-perfect village.
The friendliness borders on intrusive. Joan can’t shake the feeling that every move she makes is being tracked. An archaic organization still seems to hold the town in thrall. So does the sinister secret of a little boy who vanished decades ago. And unless Joan is imagining things, a frighteningly familiar figure from her past is on watch in the shadows.
Her fiancé tells her she’s being paranoid. He might be right. Then again, she might have moved to the deadliest small town on earth.
Bloodline by Jess Lourey
Narrator: Whitney Dykhouse
Length: 9 hrs and 38 mins
Published by Brilliance Audio on January 1st 2021
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Also by this author: Unspeakable Things, Litani