This was an audiobook review request that sounded super intriguing to me. I love retellings and books with themes based on things I like. I have been known to like some of Poe’s work, most notably The Raven.
So, thanks to the author for the review copy of this audiobook.
On the banks of Lake Drummond, on the edge of The Great Dismal Swamp, there is a tree in the shape of a woman.
On one dark, moonlit night, two artists met at The Lake Drummond Hotel, built directly on the borderline of North Carolina and Virginia. One was a young woman with the ability to see spirits trapped in trees, and stone, anchored to the earth beyond their years. Her gift was to draw them, and then, to set them free. The other was a dark man, haunted by visions that brought his stories of sadness and pain, and trapped in a life between the powers he sensed all around him, and a mundane existence attended by failure. They were Eleanore MacReady, Lenore, to her friends, and a young poet named Edgar Allen Poe, who traveled with a crow that was his secret, and almost constant companion, a bird named Grimm for the talented brothers of fairy-tale fame.
Their meeting drew them together in vision, and legend, and pitted their strange powers and quick minds against the depths of the Dismal Swamp itself, ancient legends, and time.
Once, upon a shoreline dreary, there was a tree. This is her story.
This is an interesting premise to be sure. This is a story about Edgar Allen Poe and Lenore, taking place on the borderline of North Carolina and Virginia. Around the same timeframe as Poe’s life as well, so… early-ish 1800s. It was definitely historic, at any rate.
Lenore MacReady has the ability to see spirits that are trapped on our plane of existence, and can free them by drawing them. Edgar Allen Poe is a writer who is often haunted by the dark stories that he writes.
When they meet by chance at a hotel in the Dismal Swamp, and meet a young woman with a wild story of spirits and murder, shenanigans are abound.
This was a well written story. Often dark, as you can imagine, since The Raven is just generally a darker work. It was quite a short listen, which was nice. I love an audiobook that I can fit into an afternoon.
The prose was lovely, and I found myself quite enthralled with the story as a result. This was also helped along quite a lot by the narration, I think. The characters were also really well done. Poe and Lenore have a certain… presence in my brain, and it’s hard to deviate from something like that, but this book managed to take them as characters and make them new and fresh to me.
The narrator, Gigi Shane, did a great job in my opinion. She nails the accent that I expected to hear for a lot of it, given that this this takes place in North Carolina/Virginia. She gave the characters really good voices, especially some of the male characters who had really grim and gravelly voices at times. It made this book a very entertaining listen. I think I liked it a lot more than I would have if I had read it in print. It’s one of those. Not at a a bad book if I had read it rather than listened, of course, but certainly entertaining having it be read to me instead. 4/5 stars!
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