A couple of years ago I was introduced to Henry’s work by a friend’s recommendation of Lost Boy. I adored that novel and it’s something I want to go back and reread as it was so wonderful. Earlier this year I read The Mermaid, which I enjoyed but it didn’t hit me as hard as Lost Boy did. The Ghost Tree, however, had me gripped and staring in disbelief at the final page.
The Ghost Tree follows the residents of Smiths Hollow after two girls have been found ripped to pieces. Lauren, in particular, has a keen interest in the case as it is eerily similar to the murder of her father the year before. Well, that and because she had a vision of a monster dragging the girls remains through the woods. Things are changing in the town, forgotten memories are slowly resurfacing and life in Smiths Hollow won’t be the same again.
Although Lauren is the protagonist of the novel, each chapter changes to a different character’s perspective so you do get to know many different people in the community. I thought all of the characters were great, even the ones that you’re not supposed to like, you couldn’t help be excited when it came to their chapters again. I thought Lauren was a brilliant protagonist and it was great seeing her question everything. I also think Henry did an excellent job of showing the dilemmas and changes that teenage girls go through with Lauren’s friendship with Miranda. However, I think my favourite character has to be David – he was such a sweetie and surprisingly… insightful.
This novel kept me hooked right until the very end. I loved the way you would slowly learn more about the town and it’s residents. Whilst the novel is set in 1980s America, it still very much had a classic fairytale like quality to it, especially with how dark it was. I loved how all of the stories effortlessly entwined and how each of them were vital in moving the plot forward – there wasn’t any part of the novel that I didn’t understand why it was there. I also loved how there were times where certain chapters were only a paragraph or so long – I thought this was a brilliant way to build the tension and caused one scene to pack a bigger punch than I was expecting it to. The final line of the novel also had a huge impact which left me gutted when I turned the page and realised that was the end.
Before I start completely rambling, I will just end this by saying that I totally adored this novel: it was dark, mysterious and gripping – perfect for this time of year. If you like the fairytale mixed with horror, then this is the book for you.