Book Review: A Hold On Me – Pat Esden

My synopsis:a-hold-on-me-cover

She never wanted to return.
He wants nothing more than for her to leave.
But the fire between them is as strong as the past that haunts them.

Annie Freemont grew up on the road, immersed in the romance of rare things, cultivating an eye for artifacts and a spirit for bargaining. It’s a freewheeling life she loves and plans to continue–until her dad is diagnosed with dementia. His illness forces them to return to Moonhill, their ancestral home on the coast of Maine–and to the family they left behind fifteen years ago, after Annie’s mother died in a suspicious accident.

Once at Moonhill, Annie is shocked when her aunt separates her from her father. The next time Annie sees him, he’s a bizarre, violent shadow of his former self. Confused, she turns to an unlikely ally for support–Chase, the dangerously seductive young groundskeeper. With his dark good looks and powerful presence, Chase has an air of mystery that Annie is irresistibly drawn to. But she also senses that behind his penetrating eyes are secrets she can’t even begin to imagine. Secrets that hold the key to the past, to Annie’s own longings–and to all of their futures. Now, to unlock them, she’ll have to face her greatest fears and embrace her legacy…

I received an e-copy of this book courtesy of Kensington Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This book was definitely a surprise, I mean I suspected that there must have been an element of the supernatural in this book, given its paranormal genre. But I honestly didn’t expect Esden to implement it in the way that she did.

I loved the eerie atmosphere, from the gothic setting to bits of pathetic fallacy (thanks, GCSE English) to the uncertainty of everything that was going on. The element of slow-reveal was potent throughout, but it really worked.

The MC was largely realistic, and I liked the fact that she knew exactly what she wanted and that she wasn’t scared to do everything in her power to do it. Her loyalty to her father was impressive, she went to great lengths in order to help him, despite people telling her that it was practically impossible and that she should stop trying.

However, the romance part of the novel basically didn’t exist for me. Which did pose a few problems, seeing as the book was supposed to be a paranormal ROMANCE… I just wasn’t feeling the chemistry between Annie and Chase in the slightest and found myself skipping a lot of the “romantic” parts or barely skim reading them enough to follow what was happening in the rest of the novel, which of course just gradually increased over the course of the novel. So I lost interest very quickly and skim read for a large part, which was probably why I didn’t appreciate the novel as much as I possibly could have.

Of course, this book was the first in the series, and it definitely felt like one – whilst the secondary character were developed (and man, did I dislike some of them – not necessarily because they were badly written, just that they were horrible people who didn’t deserve to be liked), the plot revolved largely around Annie’s father and didn’t go further than that until the very end of the book.

So I am inclined to read the second book, just to find out where it all goes  and to see whether I enjoy it much more than its predecessor, especially in the aspects I have mentioned above.

My Rating: pushing 3/5 Stars, probably closer to 2.5


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