“Adrienne Young is a well-known YA author, however, this book is not YA.”
Review by Rayleigh Setser
Emery Blackwood’s life changed forever the night her best friend was found dead and the love of her life, August Salt, was accused of murdering her. Years later, she is doing what her teenage self swore she never living a quiet existence on the misty, remote shores of Saoirse Island and running the family’s business, Blackwood’s Tea Shoppe Herbal Tonics & Tea Leaf Readings. But when the island, rooted in folklore and magic, begins to show signs of strange happenings, Emery knows that something is coming. The morning she wakes to find that every single tree on Saoirse has turned color in a single night, August returns for the first time in fourteen years and unearths the past that the town has tried desperately to forget.
August knows he is not welcome on Saoirse, not after the night everything changed. As a fire raged on at the Salt family orchard, Lily Morgan was found dead in the dark woods, shaking the bedrock of their tight-knit community and branding August a murderer. When he returns to bury his mother’s ashes, he must confront the people who turned their backs on him and face the one wound from his past that has never healed—Emery. But the town has more than one reason to want August gone, and the emergence of deep betrayals and hidden promises spanning generations threaten to reveal the truth behind Lily’s mysterious death once and for all.
Release Date: 11/27/22
Genre: Fantasy | Contemporary
I requested this book from my library in January of 2023, and waited until June 2023 for it to come in! That being said, the expectations were very high and I have mixed emotions after reading the ending. Hubby and I binged almost the entire audiobook in two days (car trips for the win!) and both of us were deeply invested in the story. We were captivated by the writing and perplexed by the mystery; it seemed like the perfect combination. But the ending just fell flat in my opinion, and I feel a little disappointed. I don't want to give anything away so I'll not talk about details, but it felt very rushed and cut off without a real resolution. If it's a setup for a sequel, then I'll forgive it a little more, but to my knowledge, it's not part of a series. However, aside from the ending (literally, the last 5%), hubby and I both really enjoyed the audiobook during our vacation. As I mentioned before, the writing was dramatic and pulled you into the story; and the plot was a complicated weave of emotions and twists that never let you feel confident about discovering the ending for yourself, but it was fun to pause the book and throw theories at each other (several of which were right!)! The best way that I know to describe this book is "Where the Crawdads Sing, but add witches". It's a brilliant mystery and a perfect Autumn read with its cozy spooks! I do want to mention that Adrienne Young is a well-known YA author, however, this book is not YA (which I didn't read beforehand...oops). The characters do have flashbacks to their teen lives, however, all of the characters are in their thirties and there are a couple of mildly detailed spicy scenes (one of which is teen). Due to the spice and the open, casual talk of nighttime relations, I would not recommend this to readers under 18*. *original rating is 4 stars as an adult reader, but for the Literature Approved audience, 3 stars is the best rating. Usually I wouldn't post the review here since I did enjoy the book, but with Young being known as a mostly clean YA author, I felt that it was necessary to inform readers of the content and target audience of her newest book.
Action & Gore:
4. Some action (some mildly detailed fight scenes).
Romance & Spice:
6. Stronger content (two on-page sex scenes with tame descriptions).
Cursing & Vulgarity:
6. Strong cursing (mild cursing paired with 3-10 strong words).
Other Trigger/Content Notices:
Some topics include: Teen pregnancy, underage drinking and smoking (including weed), and casual sex.
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