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Tuesday, August 10, 2021

The Witching Tree by Alice Blanchard

 

 Although sucked into the town of Burning Lake and its ability to accommodate both Wicca and Christian inhabitants, the need for the first two books didn't manifest.

from description:  Welcome to Burning Lake, a small, isolated town with a dark history of witches and false accusations. Now, a modern-day witch has been murdered, and Detective Natalie Lockhart is reluctantly drawn deep into the case, in this atmospheric mystery from Alice Blanchard, The Witching Tree.

When the leader of the town's oldest coven is brutally murdered, detectives Natalie Lockhart and Luke Pittman are stunned, not only at the loss of a beloved member of the community, but by the terrible circumstances.

There are plenty of interesting elements, and I was happily disregarding a few things that bothered me.  One major cavil was with Natalie's  love triangle, living with one man and hankering for another.  She is still reeling from events in the previous books, so it is easy to feel some compassion for her situation, but it bothered me for several reasons.  

At any rate, I was willing to ignore several things until it ended in a cliff hanger!  No conclusion, no resolution.  It is one thing to leave a few threads dangling, but that was not the case.  Nothing is resolved. 

As I was reading, I was thinking this would make a good R.I.P book, but ending a mystery without a conclusion in and attempt to make the reader eager for the next book is inexcusable.  The Witching Tree was by no means great literature, but it was entertaining, and to have the book end abruptly with everything still in the air is unfair manipulation.  I won't be looking for the next book--I no longer care what happens to any of the inhabitants of Burning Lake.

NetGalley/St. Martin's Press
Mystery.  Dec. 7, 2021.  Print length:  336 pages.
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Although I haven't taken part in the R.I.P. challenge in several years, I'm always on the lookout for books that fit the tenor of the challenge because I especially enjoy spooky, eerie, witchy books in the fall.  

I'm looking forward to trying The Manningtree Witches at some point:  "Wolf Hall meets The Favourite in this beguiling debut novel that brilliantly brings to life the residents of a small English town in the grip of the seventeenth-century witch trials and the young woman tasked with saving them all from themselves."
 
Has anyone seen anything about the challenge this year?  I participated from 2006 -2016, after that I continued to read along with everyone else but without adding my name to the challenge posts.  

Do you have some R.I.P. books in mind?  Have you heard if anyone is sponsoring the challenge this year?

18 comments:

  1. I participated (unofficially) in last year's RIP challenge. I'll probably put together a stack of books to read this year too, since it's a good way to focus on some of the thrillers that have been languishing on my shelves. I don't know who's sponsoring it this year. Sorry.

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    1. :) The time of year is perfect for thrillers, supernatural, and classics like Dracula!

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  2. I haven't participate in the R.I.P. Challenge for years; and I love reading books that's creepy and Gothic. :) This books sounds intriguing but bummer about the ending. I can understand about the cliffhanger but to end it with no resolution sounds like a total disappointment.

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    1. Even though I haven't joined R.I.P. in years, I look forward to seeing what everyone is reading!

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  3. Well, that stinks. I understand why you are bummed. Not familiar with R.I.P but then I'm not really that into "spooky, eerie, witchy" books except as an occasional distraction.

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    1. It is frustrating to have a book fail to resolve the plot. I don't mind hints of the next book or a few loose threads, but I expect to know what happened and who the villain is. :( Oh, the R.I.P. was a wide choice of thrillers, suspense, fiction, films, contemporary or classic, and nonfiction. I indulged in all of them.

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  4. That's such a bummer. I can handle some books ending in cliffhangers, but not mysteries. I need everything to be solved by the end in those. I'm not familiar with the R.I.P challenge, but it sounds fun. I love a good eerily spooky story from time to time.

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    1. I don't mind an overarching plot that doesn't get resolved in one book, but this was just annoying. R.I.P. was a great challenge and the Between books would be perfect. The R.I.P challenge began in 2006 and this is the first August since then that I've nothing about it.

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  5. I'm not a fan of cliffhanger endings, especially when I have no idea that they're coming. And I just checked out a different book by this same author; I hope it has a better ending. Now I'm nervous to read it. ;D

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    1. I looked on Goodreads to see if the first two books in the series were cliffhangers and no one mentioned it. Blanchard also has written quite a few other books besides the Natalie Lockhart series. I hope yours has a conclusion, Lark!

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  6. I hadn't heard of this one but I've read several by the author-- Darkness Peering, The Breathtaker, A Breath After Drowning, and the first in this series, Trace of Evil. I enjoyed all of these titles, most found in the library.

    I don't think there was a major cliffhanger in the first one but some things were left unclear. Not a fan of cliffhangers! Not unless the next book is already available.

    I don't do the RIP anymore, but I did it a couple of times many years back. Enjoy!

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    1. Especially considering I was enjoying the book, the lack of resolution was irritating. I may give one of her other books a try, but I'm done with Natalie Lockhart. :)

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  7. It's still so hot, I can't conceptualize that in a couple of months it will be fall and (hopefully) cooler and time to indulge in spooky RIP reads. I have noted, however, on my never ending spreadsheet of books I am interesting in reading, a number of titles by Laura Purcell. She writes sort of creepy, gothic novels (so I have heard) and I want to give her a try.

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    1. I'm going to give Laura Purcell a look; I do like a good Gothic novel! And, yes, it is so hot that imagining fall feels longer every year!

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  8. I hate to rush the seasons as it seems are life is going by way too fast but, I can't wait for a RIP Challenge, I've participated for more than 10 years. I'm already making a list LOL

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    1. It is a fun challenge, and all though I haven't "registered" for several years, I look forward to it and participate on my own. :)

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  9. This sounded really good but a complete cliffhanger? Oh no... Like you, I want some closed threads. I'm so excited R.I.P. is back and have already started a spooky read. And, I have heard of The Manning Tree Witches too that sounds like a really good book.

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    1. No one likes to be left hanging after turning the last page!

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