I received an ARC of this book for free from the publisher (Tin House Books) in exchange for an honest review.
This was an incredibly atmospheric read. The setting, particularly the marsh, had a life of its own. The author did a fabulous job describing the setting which helped set the tone and the mood for the novel.
As for the story itself, I was into it, but I wasn’t thrilled by it. I think it was because I had such high expectations going in. On the cover, the book is described as being reminiscent of Jane Eyre, which is one of my all time favorite books. It’s really tough to top that book. As I was reading the book, it was hard not to compare it to Jane Eyre. The story just didn’t move me as much as I would have liked it to. I never felt that connected to Virginia.
I did like the dual storylines of Virginia when she was adopted (which was the main storyline) and Virginia as an old woman. I think the alternation between the two were really well done. The author coordinated the unfolding of events between the two perfectly. The contemporary chapter would subtly reveal something that the next historical chapter would delve into in great detail.
For me, the strongest part of the book was Mr. Deering. He was a fearsome villain. I never knew what he was going to do because he was so unpredictable and creepy. It was so unsettling every time he entered Salt Winds. He’s one of the best villains I’ve encountered in literature this year.
Overall, this book has a fantastic setting and villain, but the story leaves more to be desired.