Today I’m delighted to host the blog tour for Pine by Francine Toon.
In the shadow of the Highland Forest, Francine Toon captures the wildness of rural childhood and the intensity of small-town claustrophobia. In a place that can feel like the edge of the word, she unites the chill of the modern gothic with the pulse of a thriller.
It is the perfect novel for our haunted times.
Lauren and her father Niall live alone in the Highlands, in a small village surrounded by pine forest. When a woman stumbles out onto the road one Halloween night, Niall drives her back to their house in his pickup.
In the morning, she’s gone.
In a community where daughters rebel, men quietly rage, and drinking is a means of forgetting, mysteries like these are not out of the ordinary. The trapper found hanging with the dead animals for two weeks. Locked doors and stone circles. The disappearance of Lauren’s mother a decade ago.
Lauren looks for answer in her tarot cards, hoping she might one day be able to read her father’s turbulent mind. Neighbours know more than they let on but when local teenager Ann-Marie goes missing it’s no longre clear who she can trust.
It was the cover image that pulled me in first. So simple and yet so stunning with a lonely, ethereal feel to it and then that enticing synopsis promising a thrilling piece of modern gothic and oh my, it certainly lived up to it. Gothic fiction is stange, mysterious happenings usually in dark remote places. Francine has captured that essence brilliantly with Pine. The atmosphere she creates is intoxifying and she builds a palpable tension that urges you to read on and on until the end. Her writing is beautiful and the sense of mystery she creates breathtaking. Lauren seems trapped in a world where nothing is quite as it seems and she is desperate to make sense of it and the mysteries that surround her.
This is a truly stunning novel. I love Francine’s writing style and I became completely lost in her words. You can certainly see the poet within this writer.
Many thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me to take part in his blog tour and to the publisher, Doubleday (an imprint of PenguinRandomHouse) and Francine Toon for my review copy. This one is a keeper.
About the author
Francine Toon grew up in Sutherland and Fife, Scotland. Her poetry, written as Francine Elena, has appeared in The Sunday Times, The Best British Poetry 2013 and 2015 anthologies (Salt) and Poetry London, among other places. Pine was longlisted for the Deborah Rogers Foundation Writers Award. She lives in London and works in publishing.
You can follow Francine on Twitter at @FrancineElena
You can follow Doubleday on Twitter at @DoubledayUK