Willow Lamott’s best friend is a convicted killer, and no one in the small town of Gilt Hollow will let her forget it. Over four long years, she’s tried to fade into the background—but none of that matters when Ashton Keller comes striding into school, fresh out of juvie and fueled by revenge. The moment their eyes meet, Willow no longer feels invisible. Drawn to the vulnerability behind Ashton’s mask of rage, she sinks deeper into his sinister world and begins to question whether he’s a villain, a savior, or both.
Ashton thought he wanted vengeance, until Willow Lamott stepped back into his life. Now he longs to clear his name and become the person she sees in him. But the closer they get to uncovering the truth, the darker the secrets become, and Ashton wonders if his return to Gilt Hollow will destroy everyone he loves.
Lorie Langdon is a new author to me. I have read the Doon series, but I wasn't a real big fan of that young adult series. After reading the synopsis on the back of Gilt Hollow, the mystery intrigued me.
Unfortunately, Gilt Hollow really did not do it for me.
While the prose and dialogue were top touch, I really enjoyed how well Langdon allowed me to see and understand the mind of a whole bunch of eighteen year olds. The internal conflict that Willow felt with telling the truth about her friend Ashton and being shunned by her fellow students reminded me of my high school years. I enjoyed how the romance between Ashton and Willow seemed to pick up after they encountered each other again. The romance wasn't the whole point of the story, but it rang true for young love.
The mystery is what I had an issue with. First, the pace of the story dragged. Being an avid reader of mysteries and suspense, I expected there to be more moments of someone threatening Willow and trying to frame Ashton, but they were pretty laid back attempts. I skimmed a number of sections to move the story along. Second, I would have liked to have a flashback scene, either in the front of the book, or somewhere in Ashton or Willow's train of thought to show me actually what happened. A number of times Langdon alluded to what happened, but she never shows me what happened.
I really enjoyed the falling apart Victorian as the setting. It was spooky and great for the place for a mystery novel. Spider webs, noises at night, fear of ghosts . . . what a better setting. But when Langdon introduces the house and shows how much it has fallen apart, I would think that Ashton's family hasn't lived in it for decades, not four small years.
Gilt Hollow is an original, yet predictable coming of age novel for mature audiences. Young adults might be able to relate to Willow and Ashton as they struggle with standing against the crowd and forgiveness.
While Gilt Hollow may capture younger audiences, I had a hard time staying focused and really didn't like the mystery. It was too much of a "mystery" for me because I had no idea what actually happened in the past. The redeeming quality is the truthfulness of Langdon getting into the character's young minds.
I received a complimentary copy of Gilt Hollow from Blink Publishing and the opinions stated are all my own.
My Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars
As a mystery novel, do you need to actually understand what is going on? Does it ruin a story for you if you don't?