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Monday, October 2, 2017

#allthebookreviews: The Visitors by Catherine Burns @gallerybooks

The Visitors
by Catherine Burns
Gallery Books

🔥 Available NOW 🔥

A must read for those who love a character study!

Big thank you to Gallery Books for our copies in return for our honest reviews.

Marion Zetland lives with her domineering older brother, John in a decaying Georgian townhouse on the edge of a northern seaside resort. A timid spinster in her fifties who still sleeps with teddy bears, Marion does her best to shut out the shocking secret that John keeps in the cellar.

Until, suddenly, John has a heart attack and Marion is forced to go down to the cellar herself and face the gruesome truth that her brother has kept hidden.

As questions are asked and secrets unravel, maybe John isn't the only one with a dark side.

My Thoughts: 

Marion is a mousy girl who has always been told she's not pretty, that she will grow old alone and is ostracized by not only her mother, but the town that she lives in too.  From childhood to adulthood, she has secluded herself so as not to disappoint and not to be ridiculed by those around her.  Her older brother, John, while also oppressing and abusive, is the only one who actually will stand up for her.  When he dies, she has to go to the cellar and take care of the secrets he's been hiding.

Again, this is the type of book that I'm torn on.  While I loved the writing and the character study, I just couldn't get into the story line.  This is a character driven book through and through.  Told straight through Marion's view point, the author does and outstanding job of putting you into her mind.  As a reader, you feel for Marion, while also getting extremely frustrated with her.  You understand why she acts out at times and you want to lash out at her mother and those who treat her like a piece of shit.  You also see the sinister side in her and question whether this is a nature vs nurture kind of thing - which always fascinates me.  

The issues that I had were that it just ran too slow for me.  I found myself putting this down with no desire to pick it back up.  I couldn't concentrate on the chapters and felt my mind floating off into outer space a lot.  I didn't like the emails interspersed throughout the book.  Towards the end of the book I understood why they were included, but I found them more annoying than anything else.

At the end of the day, I think this is just a reader/book mismatch.  It's great for what it is supposed to be... it just didn't quite hit home with me at this time.  Anyone who likes character driven studies into the mind of a reclusive sociopath, definitely give this one a go.  And try to stay out of the cellar.

★★ 1/2

Jessica's Thoughts:

I'll start this out with, I can see this being one of those books that people will be divided on. THE VISITORS by Catherine Burns is a really eerie and creepy read, but it's not the fast paced and twisty thriller some people might be hoping for. This one is much more character focused and moves at a slower pace.

We follow Marion and John, brother and sister. They have anything but an ordinary or traditional relationship with one another. They live together in a creepy and crumbling mansion - full of trash, old toys, and plenty of dark secrets. John starts to bring in "the visitors" to the basement of their home - Marion turns a blind eye to it. She doesn't want to know what's going on beneath her. However, when John dies of a heart attack, she will have to face the horrific secrets he had and what was really going on in that basement.

This is told entirely from the viewpoint of Marion. Catherine Burns did a fantastic job bringing her and John to life. The intricate details of their lives, past and present, and the horrible abuse that Marion has endured (from bother her mother and her brother). This all comes together and shapes the present day Marion for the readers. She's been told her entire life that she's stupid and pathetic, something that she has taken to heart.

If you're looking for a fast moving thriller, then this won't be the book for you. This is very character driven and slow building. It was very dark, disturbing, and unsettling. If you want to know what's in the basement, then grab a copy of this beautiful book!

I give this 4/5 stars!

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