A young man arrives in a small town, hoping to leave his past behind him, but
everything changes when he takes a job in a peculiar old shop, and meets a lonely
Whoever described this novel as a ‘modern-gothic thriller‘ got it spot on. The creepy curiousity shoppe Berry & Vincent, with its gruesome inventory, was macabre. It’s owner, Mr. Vincent was memorable to say the least. Mr. Vincent, though small, elderly, and stooped, exuded a vibe of evil malevolence. The town itself seemed corrupted by the very fact that Berry & Vincent’s was located within it. After Teddy works for a while at Berry & Vincent, the reader questions whether he has come to be infected by the malignance that permeates the store and its owner. Has Mr. Vincent met his nemesis?
“Rumours are like rot here, they spread.”
The narrative alternated in chapters between Teddy and Ada. Both of these characters were very lonely people – so much so that they both exhibited an air of desperation. Both were attempting to outrun their pasts. Both lived their lives as outsiders, never really feeling accepted. Teddy and Ada had parents who should never have had children. Teddy is fearful that strangers will equate him with the sins of his father. Ada is fearful that her childhood experiences of growing up in a house in which her mother didn’t show her any caring or affection will somehow carry over to her young four-year-old son, Albie.
“Some people shouldn’t be parents. They are broken, then they break their children.”
The story was told with eloquent and atmospheric prose and descriptions. “There was a pain in my middle, as if my stomach has teeth and it is eating every other part of me.” AND “She has so many sharp edges. She sharpened them herself when she was a girl. To cut her father’s fingers.”
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the cover which fit the novel to perfection. Finally, a cover designed by someone who has actually read the book!
This is Ronnie Turner’s second novel, and now I’m eager to go back and read her debut “Lies Between Us“. I found “So Pretty” to be dark, chilling, haunting, disturbing, and very well written. A book of damaged people, toxic atmosphere, and addled minds. It makes the reader wonder about genetics. Are we predestined to follow in our father’s footsteps? And evil… ? Monsters ARE real. Recommended for readers who don’t mind being a tad terrified while they read, and those who don’t mind an ending which will chill you to the bone.
This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Orenda Books via Anne Cater in order that I could participate in this blog tour.ISBN: 9781914585593 – ASIN: B0BF5Y2XLZ – 331 pages
To be published January 19, 2023 by Orenda Books