THE MISSING YEARS | Lexie Elliott
04.23.2019 | Berkley
Rating: 4/5 stars
Ailsa Calder has just inherited half of a house. The other half is owned by her father who disappeared without a trace twenty-seven years ago. The Manse is an eerie, old Scottish manor isolated on the outskirts of a small town. There is limited cell service and the nearest neighbor has a strange obsession with the home. Ailsa can’t rent the place or sell it. Does she want to live in it? Does The Manse want her to live there?
Relocating from bustling London to The Manse to take care of related estate issues, as well as mourn the loss of her mother, Ailsa can’t seem to find her footing. Not only is she out of her element in the Scottish Highlands, but she has also invited her half-sister, Carrie, to live with her. The two haven’t spoken in years and are essentially strangers. As bizarre things start to happen to Ailsa within The Manse she can’t help but wonder what she has signed up for. Is someone watching her? Why won’t the neighborhood animals come onto the grounds of the property?
The darkness seems to be staring in at me, but even as I tug the drapes shut, I can’t help wondering whether that is the equivalent of an ostrich sticking its head in the sand – if there’s something out there, shouldn’t I be able to see it? And anyways, what if the something is inside rather than out?
When buzz first started coming out about THE MISSING YEARS, I knew it was a book I needed to read! I love when homes become characters in stories and The Manse certainly is a character all on it’s own within the pages of this book. How would you feel about living in an isolated estate where the doors seem to open and close on their own? Where the windows and lights you swore you closed or turned off keep doing the opposite?
Ailsa is completely out of her element in both the house and the surrounding town. She is starting to feel like she is going insane. Lexie Elliott does a fantastic job of building this feeling for the reader by creating an extremely isolated atmosphere. Ailsa is essentially on her own, despite choosing to invite her half-sister to live with her. She doesn’t feel that she has many allies living in the town either, as they all have preconceived notions about her based on her father’s disappearance.
Love makes a furnace of the soul.
I felt that Ailsa made for a strong main character. She had a vulnerable side that made her easy for the reader to connect with. The mystery surrounding both The Manse and her father’s disappearance solidify that relationship, as the reader feels the pull to keep reading as Ailsa digs deeper into the past. The connections she builds with her half-sister, her neighbors, and those she meets in town all open doors to more information into Ailsa’s life, which help to fully flesh out her character.
I greatly enjoyed the way this story progressed and how the facts surrounding both The Manse and Ailsa’s father were revealed, however, future reader be warned: things start out a little slow. The first chapter is filled with all sorts of important information that can feel a bit overwhelming, but trust me, push through! There is also a bit of what I would categorize as a paranormal undertone. I don’t want to give important parts of the plot away, so I’ll leave it with the warning that you may need to suspend your belief at points. There are certain sections where you have to be okay with embracing the weird. If you can handle a slow burn and a bit of the paranormal, then add this one to your TBR!
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Disclosure: Thank you to Berkley Books for providing me with free copy in exchange for my honest review!