THE GRAVE TENDER
Genre: Women’s Fiction / Psychological Suspense
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Date of Publication: April 11, 2017
Number of Pages: 248
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A chilling psychological suspense novel, The Grave Tender explores the dark boundaries people cross to save loved ones, and the limits of family bonds tested by the deepest of betrayals.
Endless questions from a shadow-filled East Texas childhood haunt Hadley Dixon. People said her mother, Winnie, was never quite right, but with one single, irreparable act, life as Hadley knew it was shattered. The aftershocks of that moonlit night left her reeling, but the secrets and lies had started long before.
When a widowed and pregnant Hadley returns years later, it’s not the safe harbor she expects. The mysteries surrounding a local boy’s disappearance remain, and the townspeople still whisper about Hadley’s strange and reclusive Uncle Eli—whispers about a monster in their midst.
But Hadley’s father and grandmother, the cornerstones of everything safe in her world, avoid her questions. If Hadley stays here, will she be giving her children the family they need or putting their lives in danger?
The hunt for answers takes a determined Hadley deep into the pine forests, in search of sunlight that will break through the canopy of lies long enough to reveal the truth.
“The Grave Tender will grasp you in its hooks from the beginning as you try to figure out the truth behind each character, because no one is truly what they seem … Addicting, easy to read, and hard to put down.” – Shelbi LeMeilleur, Insite Magazine
Haunting. Lyrical. Beautiful. Dark. At times, sickening.
Wow. (And look at that cover! It’s BEAUTIFUL!)
I feel obliged to say this book deals in some dark subjects that can be tough to read about and may not be suitable for everyone.
It was chilling, seeing life from Hadley’s point of view, especially when she was a child. Maxwell did an amazing job capturing the world of an eleven year old. An eleven year old born into a family with a crazy mama, a crazy uncle, a strong Gran, and a loving father.
I loved how well friendship was captured for the children. The best-friendship with Jude and the fluid, come-and-go friendship of the boys. And, of course, how tragedy and trauma can change and break even the strongest bonds.
But not all of the book is seen from the charming, semi-innocent view of an eleven year old. In the second-ish half of the book, it is a mother’s love and instinct to protect her children that pushes Hadley forward. As adult Hadley dives back into the past to try to free herself and her family from the ghosts of her ancestors, she realizes there was so much more she never knew.
The characters in this book have all experienced a range of pain, and it’s told in a way that these families could be those that live just down the road or across the street. They all have their secrets, some more damning than others, and each pays their own price for it.
It’s not often that I find atmosphere to be well-conveyed in books, but the oppressive heat and humidity of East Texas was palpable to this reader, as was the rain, the sunlight, the ambiance of the woods, and the insides of the homes–basically ALL the settings.
Despite some of the darker subject matter, I thought Maxwell’s writing was superb, and I look forward to reading more from her.
*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*
Eliza Maxwell lives in Texas with her ever patient husband, two impatient kids, a budgie named Sarah, and a bird dog who lives a tortured existence. She’s an artist and writer, an introvert and a British cop drama addict. A former bookseller with a lifelong love of the written word, she can often be found barefoot on the front porch lost in a good cup of coffee and a great book.
GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!
Grand Prize:The Bookworm Basket ($150 Value)
Signed paperback copy of THE GRAVE TENDER
$50 Amazon gift card
Plush decorative throw blanket (Smoke Grey)
Greatest opening lines of literature coffee mug
Taste of Texas Coffee variety pack
Ferrero Rocher Gift Cube
Library card socks
Paperback copy of THE LIFE WE BURY by Allen Eskens
Paperback copy of SISTERS ONE, TWO, THREE by Nancy Star
1st & 2nd Runners-Up:
Signed paperback copy of THE GRAVE TENDER
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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