Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Those Across the River; Christopher Buehlman

 
Title: Those Across the River
Author: Christopher Buehlman
Publication Year: 2011
Publisher: Ace
Edition: ARC
Source: Amazon Vine
Location: Georgia
Date Completed: 9/19/2011 
Rating: 4/5
Recommend: yes

1935 was not the best year for former university history professor, Frank Nichols. Frank loses his teaching job after his indiscreet affair with Eudora (Dora), the wife of an influential professor is made public. Eudora, who is only 20 years old was married to a much older man, and is in the process of a divorce so that she and Frank together.  Frank is also older than Dora by 12 years.  After Frank is unable to find work around Ann Arbor, where jobs are scarce in the mid-1930s, he learns that he has inherited some property in rural Whitbrow, Georgia, from an aunt he had never even met, Frank convinces Dora that moving to Georgia may just be the fresh start the couple needs, in a place where no one knows anything about them. 

Frank decides to ignore his aunt's specific instructions in her will warning him he should not live in the house he inherited. She states instead that he should sell the property as soon as possible.  The couple, however, thinks the house seems perfect for them. Dora gets a teaching job at the local school, and Frank hopes to pursue his dream of doing some research about his ancestors in the hopes of writing a book. Frank's grandfather, Lucien Savoyard was reported to be a cruel, confederate plantation owner, who refused to free his slaves after the emancipation.

As the couple tries to settle into small town life, things begin to take an unpleasant turn for the couple.  Frank, who had served in World War 1 is plagued by flashbacks of the war.  In addition, rumors about a massacre that occurred years ago around the plantation "across the river", further intensify the bad dreams and flashbacks he is experiencing. The townspeople friendly but, a suspicious lot who believe evil lurks in the woods nearby which leads to the river. They perform a monthly ritual to coincide with the new moon to keep the evil spirits a way.

The suspense and tension build at a steady pace in this story. The reader knows something big will most likely happen, but when and what?  There is an interesting blend of history and horror in this novel which made this a somewhat unusual, but yet addictive read. I thought the first person POV intensified the reading experience for me, and although some may be unhappy with the resolution, I thought, Those Across the River, was a pretty good debut novel overall. I'm hoping I will see more from this author in the future.

25 comments:

  1. History and horror sound like an odd combination at first but it's really not when you think about it. This book sounds good to me.

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  2. It sounds spooky! It also sounds like Dora would've been better off with someone closer to her own age. :-D

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  3. I love the concept. I'm a chicken though, so it would probably scare me.

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  4. I like the idea that there is something wrong with the house. The time period it is set in interests me too.

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  5. Just the book I need. I am kind of addicted to "other-wordly" kind of books and I kind of like History :) I am adding this to wishlist :)

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  6. This book sounds like it would make a great choice for the RIP Challenge. I really like scary books, and it seems as if this one is kind of spooky, so it will be going on the ever growing list. Thanks for a great review!

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  7. This sounds like a delightfully creepy read for the fall! I much prefer creepy over scary.

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  8. I like the sounds of this one...spooky good!

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  9. That is an interesting mix - history and horror. I can't say that I've ever read anything like that, though I'm not big on the horror stuff. This sounds like it is quite suspenseful, though, and given your endorsement, I want to check it out further.
    Great review :)

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  10. You've made me very curious about this book. I love creepy and I love history, so I'm definitely going to keep it in mind.

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  11. I keep reading great reviews on this one. I really think I need this now. Thanks for the review.

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  12. i like the sound of horror plus history- sounds sort of irresistible!

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  13. You and I always seem to be on the same reading trail. I haven't read this one yet, but it caught my eye the other day.

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  14. This sounds like a good mix. I will have to see about getting a copy.

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  15. This sounds really good to me. I love a creepy book once in a while.

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  16. Your last paragraph has so made me want to read this one!

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  17. I'm intrigued! A blend of history and horror...I like the sound of that. I may have to keep this in mind for a different kind of Halloween read.

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  18. I have this one, and it sounds like a really interesting read. I'll probably be scared, and have nightmares. I need to get to this one soon.

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  19. this sounds like one i would really enjoy! and with halloween right around the corner (can you believe it's almost october!?) i think it's about time i start reading some horror books and scaring myself half to death.

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  20. I've had a hard time getting into this but maybe I'll give it another try

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  21. I like the looks of this one. Creepy and perfect for fall!

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  22. I like the mix of themes in this book. It sounds as if there are some pretty intense scenes especially surrounding Frank's flashbacks. I'm very curious about the warning Frank's aunt left in her will about not moving into the house which he subsequently ignored...maybe it's tied in with his flashbacks?!

    Thank you for an intriguing and enjoyable review, Diane.

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  23. Tagged this book in Goodreads in the as-to-read shelf when it gets a wide release. Spooky with the inherited house and dark family history.

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  24. Why do people always live in houses after being warned not to? Because there would be no books or movies if they didn't!

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  25. I don't want to read much of your review because I just got this book. I'm glad to see it out there in the blog universe though.

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