The Vines


The Gettler family has a secret. For generations their family has been involved in medical research on New York’s North Brother Island, dating back to its original use as a contagion hospital in the early 1900s. Cora, a woman with a miraculous immune system, becomes tangled in the web of the Gettler men, as their goals shift from idealistic to cruel. In 2008, Finn, the one Gettler son to not be brought into the fold, discovers some unsettling tidbits about his family’s research, and he is determined to get to the root of the mystery. But will his fascination with Cora get in the way of his relationship with his longtime girlfriend Lily?

Shelley Nolden creates a timely thriller—both historic and contemporary in nature. While the switching between historical and contemporary takes a little time to get used to, the mystery introduced leaves readers wanting to devour the story and uncover its secrets. Every character in this book is incredibly unique with their own individual character arcs throughout—without overwhelming the reader with details. The history and science in the book is exceedingly well thought out, well researched, and fabulously detailed: down to the fun addition of Typhoid Mary. Where Ms. Nolden truly excels is the historical portions. In Cora, she created a truly relatable character and a fascinating timeline. On the other hand, in the contemporary section, Finn and Lily’s relationship falls a little flat, not really adding much to the story.  For fans of real-life history, science, and mysteries alike, Shelley Nolden weaves a magical story with an abundance of intrigue that will leave readers eager for a sequel.

Shailyn Rogers