The Rattled Bones: {ARC Review}

Publication date: August 22nd, 2017
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Series: None
Format: e-ARC
Source: Netgalley
Unearthing years of buried secrets, Rilla Brae is haunted by ghostly visions tied to the tainted history of a mysterious island in this haunting novel from the author of The Girl Who Fell.

Maine-bred, independent Rilla Brae is no stranger to the deep. She knows the rhythms of hard work and harder seas. But when she experiences the sudden death of her father, the veil between the living and the dead blurs and she begins to be haunted by a girl on a nearby, uninhabited island. The girl floats a song over the waves, and it is as beautiful as it is terrifying. Familiar and distant.

Then Rilla meets Sam, a University of Southern Maine archeology student tasked with excavating the very island where the ghostly girl has appeared. Sam sifts the earth looking for the cultural remains of an island people who were forcibly evicted by the state nearly a hundred years ago. Sam tells Rilla the island has a history no locals talk about—if they know about it at all—due to the shame the events brought to the working waterfront community. All Rilla knows for sure is that the island has always been there—an eerie presence anchored in the stormy sea. Now Sam’s work and the ghostly girl’s song lure Rilla to the island’s shores.

As Rilla helps Sam to unearth the island’s many secrets, Rilla’s visions grow—until the two discover a tragedy kept silent for years. And it’s a tragedy that has everything to do with Rilla’s past. 

** I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.**

Wow, this was delightfully dark and creepy! I literally could not put this one down after I started it. It was such an engrossing story that I constantly had to know what was going to happen next. 

Shannon M. Parker did a fantastic job writing about this Maine fishing town with a dark past, and the girl that is the key to unlocking it all. 

I really enjoyed Rilla's character. She had a tough air about her since her father's death, and the fact that her mother essentially went crazy when she was younger. Since it is just her and her maternal grandmother, Rilla has to continue her father's work by catching the lobster everyday. She faces hostility from all of the other fishermen because they believe that a woman has no place on the sea. But she is strong and resilient because it is her family's legacy, and she will not be scared off by others. 

Soon after her father's death, she begins seeing a strange young woman on the island of Malaga, right near her town. Rilla also begins to hear a haunting song when she is in the water and near the seemingly empty island. She honestly believes that she is going crazy, like her mother because her mother would talk to the "Water people" and tried to walk into the ocean with heavy rocks on her when Rilla was younger. That event caused her to be hospitalized and out of Rilla's life. But it's not until university student Sam comes to her town that Rilla starts to believe that she is seeing more than just hallucinations, she might be seeing the past. 

I loved Sam and Rilla. Sam was so sweet and understanding of everything, and you could tell that he cared for Rilla and the story of Malaga. Rilla's transformation from grief stricken daughter to this determined person eager to find out the truth about her town was very well done. It felt very real, especially when she was going through issues with her friend and crappy boyfriend. 

The mystery of the island was mesmerizing. I had literally never heard of this event in history but after I finished this book, I immediately Googled it and found plenty of information. It really was a heartbreaking and dark time in Maine's history, and Shannon Parker did a great job of telling it by incorporating a ghost story with it. 

The racism and erasure that the residents of Malaga and their descendants faced is sadly still happening today. 

This story will literally hook you from the beginning and put you under its spell as Sam and Rilla try to solve the mystery of Malaga, and the mysterious girl before it's too late. 

I highly recommend The Rattled Bones to anyone looking for a creepy thriller about real events from history. 


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