This was definitely my year of DNF books. I did not start out this year thinking I would have so many, but when I put down The Gunslinger earlier this year, something happened to me.
I suddenly felt like it was ok to put books down that I wasn’t enjoying rather than suffer through something I was not interested in.
So here we are with year another book that I DNF this year and I was shocked when this one went back to the library earlier than expected.
This should have been a book that I had great things to say about. I was willing to give it a few chapters to try and see if it improved but for me, it didn’t improve fast enough to justify continuing.
Canada, 1898. The only life Ruby Proulx has ever known is that of a nomad, traveling across the country with her snake-oil salesman father. She dreams of taking root somewhere, someday, but, until she can, she makes her way by reading tarot cards. Yet she never imagined her own life would take such a turn…
After one of her father’s medical “miracles” goes deadly wrong, Ruby evades authorities by hiding in the seaside resort town of Old Orchard, Maine, where her estranged Aunt Honoria owns the Hotel Belden, a unique residence that caters to Spiritualists—a place where Ruby should be safe as long as she can keep her dark secret hidden.
But Ruby’s plan begins to crumble after a psychic investigator checks into the hotel and senses Ruby is hiding more than she’s letting on. Now Ruby must do what she can to escape both his attention and Aunt Honoria’s insistence that she has a true gift, before she loses her precious new home and family forever (summary from Goodreads).
As I said, this was an interesting angle for a mystery series and one frankly I was excited to read. I love the idea of a supernatural woman using her powers for crime. I think it’s unique and intriguing, but something about Ruby didn’t work for me.
My issue was with her. I didn’t make a connection from the very beginning. I didn’t feel any sympathy for her. It’s a gamble to make a heroine a little more dark and gritty than the traditional perfect rich girl turned sleuth, so I admire the author for going in a different direction.
Right away it’s clear that Ruby has had a difficult life and has basically been a charlatan for a number of years hoping to earn enough money to have a ‘home’. I just didn’t feel that bad for her for some reason. I thought her circumstances unfortunate but nothing to the degree that I think I was supposed to be feeling.
I also didn’t like how the basically killed her love interest in the first chapter. It was like ‘oops my bad’ and then she expects her deadbeat father to help her out? She should have known that was coming. I suppose there is more to the accident than meets the eye and maybe we are meant to find out more about it later but personally I just wasn’t fully invested in the accident or the characters to continue.
The father was the worst. I mean I know we were supposed to think that, but he was really a terrible father and I had a hard time understanding why Ruby was so concerned for him or had such faith in him that he would help her out.
I am sure for the right reader this is a great series, for me I just had too many questions and not enough answers. I also wanted to connect with Ruby in a way that just wasn’t happening for me. I never warmed up to her and anything which made me sad because I think this book has promise for the right audience, which sadly just wasn’t me.
- Review copy provided by: Personal collection
This book counts toward: NA
- Hosted by: NA
- Books for Challenge Completed: NA
Recommendation: 1 out of 5 (DNF)
Genre: historical fiction, mystery, paranormal, fantasy