books · Family · Salem · Salem Witch Trials

The Fifth Petal by Brunonia Barry [Review]

Initially when I finished this novel today, I thought it had taken me forever to read but in reality it only took 7 days. I’m not quite sure why I thought it took me longer. Anyway, here is my review:

This novel is set in Salem, home of the Salem Witch Trials. It follows a case that is opened after the sudden death of a local boy. This boy is said to have been killed by one of the town’s local witches, Rose. This death makes the chief of police consider the fact that it could be connected to a cold case from several years ago. A case in which Rose was at the center of at that time as well. We are also introduced to Callie who is the only known survivor of the “Goddess Murders.” Her mother was one of the women who were killed in that case and the killer was never found and Callie was shipped off to grow up in the state foster care program. All this time she has believed that Rose was dead but soon discovers that she isn’t once the story airs about the young man who was possibly murdered by her. Callie heads back to a territory that she has not so wonderful memories of. She returns to a place filled with superstition, betrayal, and revenge. True to the manner of a Salem Witch based novel, we have our characters who are the accused, the accusers, the believers, and the non believers. We see what some are willing to do in order to protect what they think is rightfully theirs, even if it means employing “black magic” or witchcraft. We also see what others are willing to overlook if it means “saving face.” And what would a novel of this subject be without some love? There is a healthy dash of love affairs and finding love in this story. Not too much romance but enough to keep the story going. And for this subject, you do have to have the aspect of a love story. Face the facts, love is probably the top reason people turn to this type of lifestyle. Either the want of love or the want of revenge on someone who was loved but was hurt by the one they loved.

I would have to give this novel a rating of 3 stars out of 5 only because I felt as though it moved a bit too slow at first and then everything was rushed at the end. There are still some points of the story that I was hoping would have some closure but they didn’t. Maybe this is why I thought it took me so long to read. I do appreciate the bit of history in it along with the mystery/thriller aspect. The novel unravels in about a years time with bits of flashback thrown in. I will admit that the way Barry wrote the story makes you wonder if witchcraft is indeed real. She doesn’t use fanciful events to touch on the possibility of witchcraft, she uses events that cause the reader to stop and wonder and I appreciated that aspect. This is my first novel by this author and I am definitely interested in reading her other works even if this novel is not at the top of my list of books that I enjoyed reading.

I received a copy of this novel from Blogging for Books program in exchange for an honest review.



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