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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Don't Breathe a Word - Jennifer McMahon

Released May 17, 2011

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

Don't Breathe a Word is a creepy, yet romantic tale involving fairies and family secrets. The opening introduces Phoebe, a young woman who lives near a town where a young girl disappears. Fifteen years later, Phoebe and the missing girl's brother, Sam, are in a steady relationship. Sam receives a clue that his sister is still alive. Soon, they're invited to spend time with Sam's cousin in a remote cabin, only they learn the person they're with is not Sam's cousin. A mysterious girl tells police Sam and Phoebe were holding her hostage, and the owner of the cabin denies they were staying there. Neither know what to make of the situation, but that's only the start of the strange occurrences that will reveal what really happened all those years ago.

Because Don't Breathe a Word is set in Vermont, it really drew me into the book. While Reliance is a fictional town, it's obviously based on Bristol. There really is a Lord's Prayer rock. The prayer was carved into the rock at the request of a man who, as a young boy, navigated tricky roads to deliver logs to sawmills. The rock was the point at which he knew he'd safely made his trip. When that boy became a doctor, he hired a carver to put the prayer into the rock. If you ever find your way to Bristol, I highly recommend visiting the rock and also the nearby Bristol Memorial Park Gorge. Kids can splash in the river near the picnic area, and then walk the trails to look at the cascading gorge.

Don't Breathe a Word is certainly creepy, but extremely mesmerizing. The relationships between the characters were strong, and I definitely liked Phoebe best. I'm not sure I loved the ending, but it does work.

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