Title: Maplecroft (The Border Dispatches #1)
Author: Cherie Priest
Publication Date: September 1, 2014
Genre: Horror, Mystery
Find It: Goodreads, Amazon, B&N, Book Depository
Source: ARC received from publisher
Rating: 2 stars – you are getting very sleepy
Lizzie Borden took an axe and gave her mother forty whacks; and when she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one….
The people of Fall River, Massachusetts, fear me. Perhaps rightfully so. I remain a suspect in the brutal deaths of my father and his second wife despite the verdict of innocence at my trial. With our inheritance, my sister, Emma, and I have taken up residence in Maplecroft, a mansion near the sea and far from gossip and scrutiny.
But it is not far enough from the affliction that possessed my parents. Their characters, their very souls, were consumed from within by something that left malevolent entities in their place. It originates from the ocean’s depths, plaguing the populace with tides of nightmares and madness.
This evil cannot hide from me. No matter what guise it assumes, I will be waiting for it. With an axe.
Lizzie Borden and her sister are living as outcasts in Fall River, Massachusetts after the brutal murders of their father and step-mother. Though Lizzie is the main suspect, she goes free after a lengthy trial. Rumor and suspicion follow her but Lizzie has bigger things to worry about. Namely, a sinister illness that is slowly staking its claim on the inhabitants of Fall River, turning them into hideous creatures intent on spreading their infection and madness.
Like a lot of people, the story of the Borden murders is one that has fascinated me. I jumped at the chance to read this fictionalized version of what happened that grisly night. Unfortunately, while the book created a fantastically creepy and gothic setting, I found that I didn’t really connect with any of the characters and subsequently found myself falling out of interest with the book. It’s told from several POVs, which might have part of the problem. I didn’t feel like I every really got to know Lizzie or her sister. We also never really learn what happened that fateful night of their parents’ murders. You get a general idea of what must have happened but not a full account. Since the premise of the book is based on the mystery surrounding these murders, I wish we had gotten more insight into them.
As I said before, the setting is fantastically creepy and I definitely had a sense of dread the entire time I read the book. I found the pacing to be very slow though, another reason why I did not enjoy the book as much as I’d hoped to. The mystery of what Lizzie and her sister are actually fighting was also never fully explained and the ending was not a very satisfactory one. I came away from this book with more questions than answers.
In the end, this book lacked the character development and pacing that I needed to really invest in it. The author does a great job of creating a really dark, Gothic setting but it wasn’t enough to make this a compelling read for me. I would definitely read something else by this author, but I won’t be continuing with this series.