Saving Grace Devine by Catherine Cavendish

Saving Grace Devine by Catherine Cavendish
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Horror, Paranormal, Historical, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (204 pages)
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Can the living help the dead…and at what cost?

When Alex Fletcher finds a painting of a drowned girl, she’s unnerved. When the girl in the painting opens her eyes, she is terrified. And when the girl appears to her as an apparition and begs her for help, Alex can’t refuse.

But as she digs further into Grace’s past, she is embroiled in supernatural forces she cannot control, and a timeslip back to 1912 brings her face to face with the man who killed Grace and the demonic spirit of his long-dead mother. With such nightmarish forces stacked against her, Alex’s options are few. Somehow she must save Grace, but to do so, she must pay an unimaginable price.

It’s easy to brush away a fleeting glance of something dark and wispy as a figment of your imagination, but what happens when the form begins to take on a curiously human shape?

One of the most important things any good ghost story needs is a gloomy, isolated setting. What makes Arnsay an even better place for Alex to figure out who or what has been following her around is how perfectly ordinary this community appears to be at first glance. Many small towns are slightly obsessed with the people who put them on the map, but what makes this one unique is how its chosen to remember Grace and her family. Their reactions to the legends surrounding her life and death are nearly as intriguing as Alex’s increasingly bizarre encounters with the paranormal.

It would have been helpful to have more character development in this piece. Alex’s reactions to the spirits she encounters are well done, but it was difficult for me to get a sense of the personality she had before all of this began. So much time was spent on showing how her paranormal encounters affected her that I didn’t get to know much about Alex as an individual.

Strong pacing made it hard for me to put this book down. Hints about the backstories of the ghosts that are haunting Alex pop up pretty early on in the plot. At times they involve some rather detailed flashbacks, yet jumping into a previous era for a little while made the present even more interesting due to how closely everything is tied together.

Saving Grace Devine is a solid choice for anyone who enjoys the darker, more unpredictable side of paranormal fiction. This is one of the creepier tales I’ve read recently, and I’m looking forward to reading it again.

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