Friday, 17 May 2013

Thorn Abbey - Nancy Ohlin

Thorn Abby - Nancy Ohlin @Twitter
ISBN - 9781442464865
Publisher - Simon Pulse @Twitter
Release date - May 7th 2013
Find - Book Depository/Goodreads

'Becca was the perfect girlfriend: smart, gorgeous, and loved by everyone at New England’s premier boarding school, Thorn Abbey. But Becca’s dead. And her boyfriend, Max, can’t get over his loss.

Then Tess transfers to Thorn Abbey. She’s shy, insecure, and ordinary - everything that Becca wasn’t. And despite her roommate’s warnings, she falls for brooding Max.

Now Max finally has a reason to move on. Except it won’t be easy. Because Becca may be gone, but she’s not quite ready to let him go…'
- Goodreads

This is one I've been looking forward to since the day I first read about it. I have had an almost lifelong love of Daphne Du Maurier's work and Rebecca was the first of her novels I ever read so it has a special place in my reading history.

The action moves from a creepy mansion by the sea named Manderley to a creepy looking boarding school by the sea named Thorn Abbey, complete with cliffs, sailing and a general air of menace. The main character, Tess, is a new student at the school, completely out of her depth and out of place at prestigious Thorn Abbey. She doesn't look right, she doesn't wear the right clothes and she doesn't know the right people. Her new room-mate Devon veers between making her feel welcome and making her wish she'd never come to the school.

Tess meets Max, a fellow student, in one of her classes. She locks eyes with him in front of Franklin, Max's best friend, and that's it - she's in love! This where I started to not care quite as much what actually happened to Tess or whether she got the guy. We've all been there, met someone's eyes and thought yes, they're the one but, in my case at least, not the point of instant obsession that Tess develops. Every waking moment is spent thinking about and this only gets worse when she discovers that in a way she has become a replacement for Becca after her tragic death, living in her old dorm room and sharing with her old room-mate. Tess is quiet, unassuming, sorely lacking in confidence in her new surroundings and quite frankly needs to start making different new friends when Devon & the other girls tell her she's fat and start controlling what she eats! She's so busy worrying what Max, Devon & all the other students think of her and so intent on becoming better , becoming more beautiful that she loses sight of the fact that Tess is fine just as she is. Max actually says this to her at one point, that he likes her for who she is but of course Tess can't actually accept this and goes back to obsessing over whether her boyfriend is thinking of his dead girlfriend every time they kiss!

A ghostly retelling of Rebecca sounds like the perfect story to me but it never really got there, it wasn't quite creepy enough and although I will willingly admit I didn't see that ending coming, it was far too abrupt. It just finished, the end. I wanted more from the whole book if I'm being honest, I wanted more build-up to Tess & Max's romance, I wanted to know more about why everyone warned Tess to stay away from Max, I wanted to know more about Killian and especially more about Franklin. I'm half hoping there isn't a sequel or companion novella because maybe it should just end the way it did but on the other hand, maybe there should be something that lets us into the world of Thorn Abbey in more depth, a novella from Max's point of view or even Devon's - I think something is needed to get that extra layer of detail that is missing.

Even though it wasn't what I was expecting I did enjoy Thorn Abbey and will look out for anything else Ms Ohlin writes, I've already read Beauty which she wrote using the name Nancy Butcher and has just been reissued. Worth reading but definitely not as creepy or gothic as I was expecting sadly.

1 comment:

  1. Great review. It's too bad that this book wasn't all that you wanted it to be but 3 stars is a solid rating :) I think I might just have to look into reading this one myself when I have a chance and I'm hoping my library has this one in the system!
    - Kimberly @ Turning the Pages


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