a novel engineer (jawastew) wrote in bookish,
a novel engineer

Dark Secrets 1: Legacy of Lies and Don't Tell by Elizabeth Chandler

Dark Secrets is the first volume in what I’m assuming will be a regular series of YA paranormal-romance-mystery-thriller duologies. In this first volume, Elizabeth Chandler, pseudonym for University of Rochester Professor Mary Claire Helldorfer, takes readers to the North Eastern town of Wisteria. Like any other small US town, the residents of Wisteria are all familiar with each other and share stories and strange pasts with visitors and tourists. Of course, because a river runs through the town, there’s a lot of strange activity residents ascribe to ghosts. If you’re familiar with some of the tenets of paranormal activity then you know how water is said to act as a conduit for spirits; wandering souls are attracted to the river and the town as a result for being so close to the Sycamore and two other creeks. Even though Dark Secrets is one volume, it’s composed of two complete novels: Legacy of Lies and Don’t Tell. Both explore not only the strange town of Wisteria, but the surge of ghost activity and deaths through the eyes of two long-time visitors that had me wondering just how safe this town actually is.

In the first story, Legacy of Lies, sixteen-year old Megan Tilby is sent to visit with her maternal grandmother. Megan’s mother doesn’t have the best relationship with Grandma Barnes. Megan has never seen her grandmother as a result. To help smooth things out between his wife and mother-in-law, Megan’s father has accepted Grandmother Barnes’ stiff, brief invitation to visit and it’s out of Tucson and in to Wisteria for the next two weeks. There are several reasons why Megan’s mother and grandmother don’t get along: she married outside of her race, her politics differ, and the fact that she adopted not only Megan, but two other children as well--to say Grandmother Barnes is uptight is putting it lightly. I found it strange that Megan is essentially a pawn in her family’s social agenda to gain pathos with her Grandmother and heal a rift Megan really has nothing to do with. This was even more confusing when, despite sending the invitation, her grandmother acts still as if she would rather not have Megan in her home. However, as the story unfolds I discovered there’s something more than a little strange going on in Scarborough House.

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Tags: category: young adult, review, xxx author last name: a-h

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