Pine is unsettling.
READ IF YOU…
- Want a moody read
- Are in the mood for feelings of being closed in a small town
- Want hints of the supernatural
Title: Pine | Author: Francine Toon| Rating: 3/5
An enigmatically dark read, Pine follows a young Lauren, living with her father in a small town in the Highlands. Her father, Niall, is a single parent after Lauren’s mother goes missing – presumed dead, and some, presume she was murdered by her husband.
Then, when local teen Ann-Marie goes missing, all fingers point to Niall. A drunk, whose wife mysteriously disappeared, he’s also as stuck as Lauren is in their community.
Pine is unsettling. I feel strangled and claustrophobic in this small, island town, with the dilapidated houses, coarse people, and whispers behind closed doors. I’d even go so far as to say it’s a modern rural gothic, with a sense of foreboding doom and walls that close in around you, rather than keep you safe.
I still can’t figure out if there was really a ghost or not in the story. There’s a “woman in white” who visits Niall and Lauren, and who leaves Lauren an old ring of her mother’s. It’s chilling that, even coming to the end of the book, I still don’t know what’s natural or supernatural. Was the woman in white a ghost, or was she a deranged woman who Niall knew about but didn’t want to frighten Lauren with?
I still don’t know.
But that’s not a bad thing. It adds to the chilling and sinister feel that pervades the book, and nods to the childhood innocence and confusion Lauren is experiencing.
And considering this is a debut novel, it’s impressive how suffocated I felt in this small town.