Monday, September 4, 2017

Book Review: The Door to January by Gillian French

The Door to January by Gillian French book cover and review
The Door to January did not give me the thrills I was hoping for.

Natalie has nightmares about a traumatic event that happened two years ago. The nightmares aren't only about this event -- they are pulling her towards an old abandoned house in the town where she used to live. She feels compelled to go back to her old town for the summer and face her fears.  She is staying with her aunt and her cousin, Teddy.  Teddy is the only one who knows the real reason Natalie has returned.

Natalie and Teddy visit the old house and set up a recorder.  Weird things begin to happen.  There are really three POVs in The Door to January.  We get Natalie's normal POV but also her dreams (which are in italics) and then she goes back in time for another POV.  These sections from the past, where she is seeing the old inhabitants of the house, were not formatted correctly in the eARC.  I'm sure that will be better in the final copy. The story lines all mesh together -- the past, the dreams, and the present -- to an exciting conclusion.

It's hard to put my finger on why The Door to January just didn't do it for me.  I never felt much suspense or many thrills.  I liked the premise and the way things from the past were slowly revealed.  But it just wasn't believable to me. I think maybe the story needed more depth.  It is very short, and things happened quickly.  In this case, maybe a little too quickly. Natalie seemed to take things very much in stride. She should have been freaking out! That's what I mean by depth. We needed to get more time for reactions to each new revelation before the next one came along.

I'm being somewhat picky.  I think for the intended audience, The Door to January would be appealing. And, like I said, it's a quick read and really moves.  So this may be a good choice for reluctant readers.

Published by Islandport, September 5, 2017
eARC obtained from Edelweiss
200 pages

Rating: 3/5

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  1. Sounds like the author needed more time to "finish" this book. What a shame

  2. I agree with Helen. It definitely feels like a draft/unfinished copy or the author had no idea what to do with the story. Sorry this one didn't meet your expectations.

  3. Are you back to school? I am retired so am experiencing retirement guilt. Thinking I should go to school and volunteer. Ha!

    1. Sounds great! Yes, this is our 4th week. And my last year...
      Soon I will join you. Enjoy!


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