Friday, September 27, 2013

Book Review: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

Amazon's Book Description:

You stop fearing the Devil when you're holding his hand...
Nothing much exciting rolls through Violet White's sleepy, seaside town...until River West comes along. River rents the guesthouse behind Violet's crumbling estate, and as eerie, grim things start to happen, Violet begins to wonder about the boy living in her backyard. Is River just a crooked-smiling liar with pretty eyes and a mysterious past? Or could he be something more? Violet's grandmother always warned her about the Devil, but she never said he could be a dark-haired boy who takes naps in the sun, who likes coffee, who kisses you in a cemetery...who makes you want to kiss back. Violet's already so knee-deep in love, she can't see straight. And that's just how River likes it.

               What I Thought:

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea is one of those novels that I had to mull over before writing my review.  There were things I loved about the novel. First of all, I loved the cover. It felt moody and dangerous and brought to mind old Gothic tales. I loved the first line: “You stop fearing the devil when you hold his hand.”       I loved the description of the Citizen – the neglected mansion that serves as a backdrop for much of the story. I loved that there was this creepy quality the author was able to maintain throughout most of the book. I loved the concept of the story – then again, maybe not.  Therein lies my problem.

The main character is Violet White. She and her twin brother are on their own, living in the Citizen while their artistic parents paint in Europe.  She's quirky and lonely and vulnerable.   In other words, she’s pretty much the perfect girl for the bad-boy River West.  River is a lying liar who lies.  He possesses supernatural powers which he uses to manipulate others.  It’s this manipulation that bothers me.   Perhaps it’s because the author presented him in such a way, that I found myself wanting him to be redeemed.  Surely, he couldn't be all that bad – yet, he was.  He’s the guy that parents have nightmares about and that teenage girls want to fix...

Back to Violet:   Violet’s reaction to River made me cringe. I wanted to pull her from the pages of the book and give her a good shake.  Good Golly Miss Mollie! Get that girl some common sense! 

About the climax:  It didn't hit the right notes for me.  It just felt too convenient.  Without going into detail (you may want to read the book and I don’t want to spoil it), there are worse things than River West - hard to believe but true.

Tucholke excels at creating atmosphere.   I could almost feel the “evil” peering into my window and for all the struggles I had with Violet and River, I enjoyed her writing style. 

My Rating:  3 1/2 stars

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

Author:  April Genevieve Tucholke

  • Print Length: 369 pages
  • Publisher: Dial (August 15, 2013)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC

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