ALLEGORY/DARK FICTION:  There is a “sickness” plaguing Paradise Grove that affects the Colstock family. When Bridgette Dawning learns a secret about the Reverend Colstock, she is killed for her knowledge. Years later when Mackenzie “Mac” Howell, a girl from the trailer park, sees Bridgette’s picture in the newspaper and learns of her death, she can’t help but feel for her. Mac continually sneaks over to Paradise Grove and somehow meets Bridgette. As Mac and Bridgette continue to get together secretly despite everyone’s intention to separate them, a forbidden relationship forms between the two. Mac is forced to marry her male best friend, but her feelings for Bridgette never truly go away. When Mac learns of a way to be together with Bridgette, will she risk everything for love?

What a good, short, fast-paced novella! The strange and secret mystery at its heart is quite gripping! At first there are so many things happening, and the plot moves so erratically, that the story is hard to follow, but eventually it evens out.  Many things, including the evil that plagues the town and how Mac is able to communicate with Bridgette, are never fully explained. This vagueness heightens the suspense but isn’t really scary enough to create much fear, leaving the reader feeling a bit let down. Even Mac and Bridgette don’t seem fully developed as characters, which makes it difficult for readers to care about them. Still, the book is a quick entertaining read with a little sprinkle of paranormal in an otherwise real dreary place!

Roslynn Ernst