October 24, 2013 Book Reviews 0 ★★

Harrowgate two-stars
on 09/24/2013
Pages: 287
Format: eARC

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Michael should be overjoyed by the birth of his son, but his wife, Sarah won't let him touch the baby or allow anyone to visit.

Greta, an intrusive, sinister doula has wormed her way into their lives, driving a wedge between Michael and his family. Every time he leaves the Harrowgate, he returns to find his beloved wife and baby altered. He feels his family slipping away and, as a malevolent force begins to creep in, Michael does what any new father would do—he fights to keep his family together.

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review by Travis Starnes

A dark and disturbing thriller about a family, life, and loss, Harrowgate  is a suspenseful mystery about a man who finds his new baby and wife slightly different every time he comes back home.  He must fight to keep his family together in the face of a malevolent force.

Although this book does dark and disturbing very well I really did not enjoy reading it.  On the positive side Maruyama has a good handle on writing suspense and mystery.  The plot and its various twists definitely have the potential for keeping the reader on the edge of their seats.  If this plot was in the hands of another writer it could possibly be an amazing tale.

The big issue however was that it was not written by someone else.  I found the writing to be extremely clunky and heavy handed.  Sentences have a very strange structure and I constantly found myself stopping and rereading a section to make sure I wasn’t misunderstanding what she was saying.  This isn’t a problem of pacing or story-telling but rather of basic structure.  I could never get into the story because of what felt like genuinely poor writing.

The other big issue with this book is the ending.  The buildup was well done and there were enough twists and turns for me to really want to know what was going to happen.  And in the end there isn’t a real climax.  Everything just sort of wraps up and the book ends leaving me as a reader wholly unsatisfied.  There was a lot of care taken with the front half of the book and it almost feels like Maruyama just didn’t have it in her to give the same attention to the second half.

It’s not the worst book I have read and it isn’t completely unreadable, but it is also not good.  The real tragedy is that the underlying story was fairly interesting and it had great potential to be good.

Rating Report
Overall: 2.3

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