Monday, October 3, 2022

Hold Back the Tide by Melinda Salisbury


So whenever I stay over at someone's house, I immediately stalk their bookshelves, so when I did a kitten-sit and saw that my sister had a copy of Melinda Salisbury's latest, I was all over that like white on rice. Salisbury is the author of THE SIN EATER'S DAUGHTER, which a lot of my friends didn't like but I actually thought was a lot of fun, and this Scotland-set The Village-esque claustrophobic horror novel sounded it was going to be absolutely perfect for Spooky Month.

Alva is the daughter of the master of the loch. For centuries he and his kin have looked over the loch and monitored the water levels. But now, things are different. The water levels are falling. Strange things are also happening. Animals are dying and traps are being ripped apart. Alva knows that he should tell the village elders but for some reason he's being secretive about it. She can't help but wonder if the reasons for that are as sinister as the ones behind her mother's disappearance.

This is a really good story but less is definitely more going in. Some of the reviews have big spoilers. For my part, I will say that I enjoyed the sort of Lovecraftian horror angle (except, you know, without the Lovecraftian racism) and the small village politics. There's even some cute boys and hints of romance and the heroine is unbelievably strong in a Katniss Everdeen sort of way. The ending is kind of a downer, though, so if you don't like downer endings I would recommend against this book. It definitely took some of the shine off the polish, if you know what I meant. But apart from that, this was an enjoyable way to spend my afternoon.

3 to 3.5 out of 5 stars

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