Book Review: In the Vines

IN THE VINES | Shannon Kirk
07.17.2018 | Thomas & Mercer
Rating: 5/5 stars

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Mary Olivia Pentecost, better known as Mop, was born into wealth. Her family hails from old money and lives tucked away on large estates in New England. All of her life Mop has been close to her Aunty Liv. That is until two years ago when her mother mysteriously died at Liv’s estate. The story of her death was that one night in the back cottage where she usually stayed, she fell asleep with a lit cigarette in her hand, which ultimately caused a fire. Waking in a burning down cottage, Mop’s mother discovered her body in flames and decided the only solution was to jump into the ocean from a nearby cliff. This decision ultimately killed her, although no body has been found to corroborate the story.

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I only know that insanity creates fabrications of reason in each person’s mind so inexplicable to the outside, there can be no way to diagram any sort of rationale.

Over the course of the two years since Mop’s mother died the tragedy has held Mop and Aunty Liv in its grasp. Aunty Liv has shut away her home. Literally layering locked chains upon the gates to keep visitors out. Mop has become a shadow of her former self. In an attempt to heal, Mop decides the time has come to reunite with Liv and sneaks onto her to estate. What she finds there is a world of darker secrets than she could ever imagine. Are the bonds of family strong enough to forgive all the wrongs Mop has found?

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This is not a delusion. Watch, listen, burn these details to your mind. Everything is wrong, everything is off. This is not delusion. This is real.

IN THE VINES is a slow-burn journey into the lives of a family hiding a myriad of secrets. Kirk expertly paces IN THE VINES to unravel the actual events of Mop’s mother’s death two years ago, as well as the current situation we find Mop and Aunty Liv in. There is mystery surrounding every page of this book, as the reader stays in a state of confusion for many of the first chapters. That state of confusion is exactly what continued to drive me to binge read this book. I desperately needed to understand what was happening with Mop and Aunty Liv currently and what exactly happened in the past. Through the use of alternating narratives with timeline changes, the reader is able to catch up to both storylines almost simultaneously. Once you realize what exactly has happened and is currently happening there’s no stopping with reading this book. Just when you think that will be enough to sell you, let me also mention that Kirk has some of the most beautiful writing I’ve recently read. I was transported to New England through her atmospheric and realistic writing style. This book is one I highly recommend picking up this summer, but please know if you’re looking for an instant thriller, this isn’t that. It’s methodical, entertaining, and downright shocking at moments. All worth the slow-burn to get to a fantastic ending!

Who is the best to protect you from yourself? Is it you? Is it family? Is it a spirit? Who?

A special thank you to Thomas & Mercer for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review!

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