The Keeper review

B&N description:

Some believe Bedford, Maine, is cursed. Its bloody past, endless rain, and the decay of its downtown portend a hopeless future. With the death of its paper mill, Bedford’s unemployed residents soon find themselves with far too much time to dwell on thoughts of Susan Marley. Once the local beauty, she’s now the local whore. Silently prowling the muddy streets, she watches eerily from the shadows, waiting for . . . something. And haunting the sleep of everyone in town with monstrous visions of violence and horror.

Those who are able will leave Bedford before the darkness fully ascends. But those who are trapped here, from Susan Marley’s long-suffering mother and younger sister to her guilt-ridden, alcoholic ex-lover to the destitute and faithless with nowhere else to go, will soon know the fullest and most terrible meaning of nightmare.

Why does so many bad things happen up in the Maine/New Hampshire area? I think I am going to avoid going there.  LOL. 

Susan Marley lived through a horrific childhood – just barely.  People she trusted betrayed her and the things she did to protect her little sister went unnoticed and unappreciated.  These incidents gave birth to an unstable Susan who strikes back at those around her in the only means she can – their dreams.  As the rains fall, the little town begins to drown both figuratively and literally.  Susan has a plan – an ultimate plan that will wipe the town off the face of the earth – and why shouldn’t she? People shunned her even though it was obvious she had been a victim of atrocities no one should visit on a child.  Rather than help or sympathize, they turned their backs and shut their minds, leaving her to cope the only way a child can.

I have to say the book was captivating as the characters all raced towards that appointed when they would have to atone for their sins.  I liked Susan’s younger sister but also couldn’t help but feel a sense of anger towards her as well because she shut out the memories of what Susan had done for her which made Susan’s sacrifice meaningless. 

Sarah Langan weaves a wrenching story of how families fail, parents are unworthy of their children, and how acts done in secret still have consequences.  I felt Susan’s pain even though she wasn’t the main character, her sister was.  I liked how Sarah brought out that because Susan intensely loved her family, she just as intensely hated them for failing her.  Why should they have picture perfect lives when hers had been filled with pain?

Sarah’s ending was perfect for the story – I was worried I’d be disappointed in it, that she would wrap it up too simply in the end, but that was not the case.  Her character development was excellent – I loathed the people she meant for me to loathe and loved the ones she meant me to love without consciously doing so.  Heart wrenching yet also inspiring, the story speaks of how it is never too late for dysfunctional families to find common ground.  I can’t say there isn’t a bit of gore factor to the book – I had to skim a few areas where Sarah’s descriptions of what was happening was a bit too graphic for me.

This would be a perfect book to read on Halloween night.  🙂  I give the book an A.

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