White Pines by Gemma Amor

Fleeing from the life she’s known after her husband asks for a divorce, Megan takes up residence in Taire-Faire, a house in rural Scotland she inherited from her grandmother. As soon as she arrives, the locals of the village treat her strangely, but it’s not the only weird occurrence she has to put up with. An island off the shore draws her attention, its pull leading Megan to unearth much about her past and future.

(WARNING: This review contains minor spoilers.)

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I was happy to finally give this book attention after hearing so much about it. White Pines had both aspects that worked and didn’t work for me, initially grasping me with its intriguing setup, losing me for a couple-hundred pages, then piquing my interest all over again. Following Megan after a separation from her husband, she hopes to start anew in a town she’s unknowingly connected to, the locals more than a little peculiar – I was fully intrigued with the cultish vibes. It was seeped in mystery with a beautiful backdrop, Scotland the perfect setting for a story like this. Amor honed in on atmosphere, and I enjoyed her writing, especially when it came to the darker elements, the most memorable being the disturbing scenes of body horror, where I was glued to the page. There was also a pretty neat villain with ties to mythology, Meg’s journey of self-discovery not constrained by a singular genre, but embracing a wider scope that left a lot to digest. That said, I found the middle portion dragged as momentum seemed to go back and forth, but I’ll admit that it hauled me back on track later on.

Other than the pacing issue, my first impression of Megan wasn’t favorable. When it comes to protagonists, I generally assess them a number of ways, the major factor being if I can actually stand them or not. The thing with Megan is that she was a bit of a horrible person in the beginning, and I couldn’t quite warm to the romance that I felt was unnecessary. There was little chemistry, as well as a complete lack of communication between Megan and Matthew; it didn’t come across as anything more than two co-workers constantly irritating each other, their bickering taking away from more important matters. However, it was clear Megan grew as a person over the course of the book, stepping up when she needed to, and this was probably one of its biggest strengths. When a character undergoes such a transition, well, it deserves acknowledgement.

In conclusion: Bursting with myth and magic, White Pines took the reader on a journey to the village of Laide, where the protagonist sought refuge after an abrupt break up with her husband. Amor’s writing style conveyed a lot, whether it was the beauty of the surroundings, or the horror of destiny. I found it dragged in the middle, but it was worth reaching the end, the plot picking up when events escalated. While I didn’t initially like the main character, she went on one heck of a journey, complete with a stunning outcome that left me wanting more of Amor’s imagination.

Notable Quote:

The sound went on, and on. It was terrible. It was the sound of pain, and suffering. It was the sound of death.

© Red Lace 2021

Goodreads ~ Twitter

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