THE VISITORS

4/5 stars

  • Author: Catherine Burns
  • US Publication date 9.26.2017
  • Gallery/Scout Press

 

Let me just say this straight up: I LOVED this book. However……….“big but coming in now”………

A bunch of readers are not going to feel the same. If you’re looking for a heart-thumping thriller, you might want to skip this book for now. My mood as I started reading: I was burned out on baby abductions and murderous marital secrets. THE VISITORS was like a literary breath of fresh air for me! The book is interesting, unique, and, yes, spine-tingling despite the lack of car chases or police interrogations.

The book is going to attract people because it is described as the wonderful Emma Donoghue’s ROOM meets GREY GARDENS. To be compared to ROOM is a mighty long stretch and even after having read it can I barely see what the publisher meant by that reference. THE VISITORS is more like if Norman Bates were living with a spinster sister in GREY GARDENS. There is a Gothic feel, but the book is set in modern day, complete with cell phones and internet service.

This is an in-depth character study of an elderly brother and sister, Marion and John. Sounds so sweet and innocent, right? No. Nothing about Marion and John is ordinary or sweet or even traditional. They live together in a crumbling mansion that is overrun with rotting garbage, old stuffed animals and horrific secrets.

Once I started reading, I was utterly transfixed by the character of Marion. The story is told from her P.O.V and the author, Catherine Burns, does a phenomenal job of bringing Marion and John to life. Marion is a character that will stay with me for a long time. She grew up with a strict mother that still brow beats her (even though mom is dead now) and John, the brother, is a raging ogre. He vacillates between syrupy concern for Marion and lashing out at her in anger over trivialities.

Marion is pathetic, tragic, child-like. She has been told her whole life that she is stupid, clumsy and unworthy of love. She believes it. And so do I, as a reader. I found her to be quite a sympathetic character after all the abuse she has endured.

When John starts bringing in “the visitors” to live in the creepy basement, Marion turns a blind eye. Denial is her coping mechanism. And she does it well. Deny it, Marion, and it won’t be true. As Marion continues to daydream her life away, John, is free to carry on who knows what in the basement.

After John suffers a heart attack, we begin to see what Marion is really made of. WILL THE REAL MARION PLEASE EMERGE? The answer, my friends, is the pinnacle to this exceptional character driven novel.

Many thanks to NetGalley, the publisher Gallery Scout Press, and the author, Catherine Burns. The Visitors is scheduled for U.S. release on September 26.
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