On the day her mother died, Daphne Forrest learns the devastating truth. She’d never really known the woman who raised her, not even her real name. Fueled to unravel the tragic mystery behind her mother’s secrets, Daphne abandons all she knows, traveling to the bucolic yet sinister town of Willoughby, Minnesota.
Navigating through the memories of her own bloody legacy, Daphne throws herself into the insular and haunting small town of her ancestors. She investigates the murder that led to her mother’s shame aided by charming, yet tortured, local, Edwin Monroe. Edwin has a unique understanding of the darkness in Willoughby, and how the town holds a lurking threat more foreboding than any unsolved murder.
As Daphne gets closer to the truth, Willoughby itself rebels against her. She bears witness to terrifying scenes from the past. Is her mother a murderer? Is that Daphne’s dark inheritance? And is she strong enough to battle an evil more frightening than her own past?
What I thought
I have to give a big shout out here to thank the ever-wonderful Ladies of Horror Fiction for introducing me to Meg Hafdahl’s writing! I was very impressed by Hafdahl’s debut novel, and I’m always glad to add another female horror author to my authors-to-watch list.
From the very first chapter, I had a hard time putting this one down. The writing was descriptive without being overdone, the characters were vivid and diverse, the town of Willoughby came to life, and at the end, I didn’t want the story to finish! I’m glad that this will be a series because I’m looking forward to more from Hafdahl!
My two favorite things about this book were the character of Daphne and the town of Willoughby. I loved watching Daphne’s character develop, and I especially appreciated the fact that she was a flawed character, not cookie-cutter, by any means. The town of Willoughby reminded me of Stephen King’s Derry so, of course, I loved it. I only wish we knew more about Willoughby’s evil background, but maybe that’s for future books.
All that being said, I’m so glad to have read this one–I enjoyed it so much. I don’t know what you call it, but this type of horror is one of my favorites–the kind where you have this sense of dread and unease to the point where you don’t want to stop reading because you have to know how it turns out (thriller, maybe? I dunno). I can’t wait to read more from Meg Hafdahl, and I’m definitely looking forward to the next book in this series!