The Mill River Recluse – Darcie Chan

Title : The Mill River Recluse
Author : Darcie Chan
First published in : 2011
Genre : Contemporary
Edition : Ballantine Books
Pages : 367
Status : read from 02/27/21 to 03/08/21
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Synopsis : From the outside, Mill River looks like any sleepy little Vermont town where everyone knows everyone and people never need to lock their doors. There are newcomers for whom this appeals, from police officer Kyle Hansen and his daughter Rowen, who are starting over after heartache, to Claudia Simon, the schoolteacher who is determined to reinvent herself.
But on closer inspection, there are those in Mill River – including a stealthy arsonist, a covetous nurse, and a pilfering priest – who have things they wish to hide. None more than the widow Mary McAllister, who for the past sixty years has secluded herself in her marble mansion overlooking the town. Most of the residents have never even seen the peculiar woman. Only the priest, Father O’Brien, knows the deep secrets that keep Mary isolated–and that, once revealed, will forever change the community.

Review : It has been a long while since I had The Mill River Recluse on my shelves. I received this novel, with two other ones, thanks to another blogger, who decided to unhaul some of her books. I already read Yesterday’s Sun by Amanda Brooke last year, one of the other titles I got, and I wanted to give a try to this novel written by Darcie Chan.
At the beginning, I have to say I had some difficulties to go deep into the story. There were lots of characters and several time changes. As English is not my mother tongue, it was sometimes hard to follow everything. However, in the next chapters, the author gave new details about the main characters and their background, which helped me to understand a little bit more what they were going through. Since then, I really appreciated what I was reading. Indeed, the story has a lot of twists and sub-plots. All of them contribute to the heavy atmosphere and suspense of the book. These elements definitely make The Mill River Recluse a page-turner.
As for the characters, I liked meeting most of them. I especially felt close to Mary, who has several common points with me. Even if she is considered as a witch by the Mill River’s inhabitants, I had some compassion for her. This was the same for Claudia and Kyle, who are secondary characters but still important to the story. I was delighted to follow their relationship and I hoped it would be better and stronger chapter after chapter. I won’t say too much about it now, because I don’t want to spoil you. Nonetheless, I can already say that I want to learn more about them in the next books of the series.
About Darcie Chan’s writing, I have to say that I have been convinced. She managed to faithfully transpose Mary’s emotions and panic attacks. She also perfectly described the landscapes and the atmosphere of Mill River. As a reader, I had sometimes the impression to be right there, with the characters. I felt like I was a part of this big family. The Mill River Recluse warmed my heart and this is exactly what I needed!
To conclude, I had a great time discovering The Mill River Recluse. This first novel is really captivating and I am more than interested in reading the next titles of the trilogy. I wish I will find back my favorite characters and finally have answers to my questions.

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