Don’t Breathe A Word by Jennifer McMahon – A Review

 I’ve been reading up a storm, lovelies.  Do you have a book club?  I do.  It’s perfect for me – it’s online.  I’m much more articulate about my thoughts and feelings in writing.  It was created by a few fellow bloggers, so if you’re interested, I’m sure I could hook you up.  Let me know!
Title: Don’t Breathe A Word
Author: Jennifer McMahon
Genre: Adult Fiction, Fantasy > Paranormal, Mystery
Synopsis (on the back cover): On a soft summer night in Vermont, twelve-year-old Lisa went into the woods behind her house and never came out again. Before she disappeared, she told her little brother, Sam, about a door that led to a magical place where she would meet the King of the Fairies and become his queen.

Fifteen years later, Phoebe is in love with Sam, a practical, sensible man who doesn’t fear the dark and doesn’t have bad dreams—who, in fact, helps Phoebe ignore her own. But suddenly the couple is faced with a series of eerie, unexplained occurrences that challenge Sam’s hardheaded, realistic view of the world. As they question their reality, a terrible promise Sam made years ago is revealed—a promise that could destroy them all.

About the Author:  What can I say that Jennifer can’t say for herself?  Her bio is on her site, which you can find here, along with all her other books that I can’t wait to read!
First Impression:  C’mon, it says fairies.  Fairies!  And there’s secrets, which equals mystery, and I can’t resist a good mystery.
Once again we’re faced with dual POVs: Phoebe and Lisa.  No, they are not the same person and no, that’s not a spoiler.  The author switches between the present and the past, but it’s told in omniscient voice instead of from the specific character, so you get a sense of everything that going on, which is always nice.
However.  Yes, there is a however.  Just because you can see more, doesn’t mean you actually see everything.  It’s a mystery, remember.  A very creepy, strange, infuriating mystery.  Despite the voice in which it is written, you’re not going to know everything, so be prepared for disappointment… all the way up to the end.
As I mentioned, the story not only changes characters, but time-frames.  It’s not hard to follow – when the switches happen, it’s clearly stated – so if you are still having a hard time with books that are written from dual POVs, you’re not alone and authors, for the most part, are helping with the transitions. I mentioned this phenomenon on Facebook.

“So, books with multiple POVs seems to be trending, eh? I’m thinking dissociative identity disorder is contagious.”

This was in reference to another book I was reading at the time (and will be reviewing later), but the thought applies here.  I’m not knocking the style.  Quite the opposite – I enjoy it immensely.  But from discussions with other people, it’s can cause distress and an overall dislike of the book.

However.  Yes, there is another however.  In the case of this book, while inside the different characters omniscient worlds, there are instances where there will be a sudden flashback into the past.  If I remember correctly, this only happens while with Phoebe, in the present.  She has random memories from her own past.  It might also happen with Sam, but he’s both in the present and the past, so I could be off.  There is no warning when this happens and can be disconcerting.  Don’t let it take away from the essence of the story.  Don’t ignore it, but stay in the zone.  For the most part, it pays off.

Final Thoughts:  In the grand scheme of things, it was well written, the characters well-defined, and delivers on everything it promises.  Which is why my final however is: this book infuriated me!  I’m so used to understanding the mystery.  Not so with this book.  It blurs the line between fact and fiction and it will frustrate the hell out of you.  That’s okay, though.  It’s also what makes this book so great.  I’m still not over it.
My Suggestion:  Don’t read it while you have a headache.  Also, don’t buy it until you read it.  It is an amazing piece of writing, but the story may just frustrate you enough you want to throw it.  Better a library book than your own, right?
Star Rating:
Like it? Where to Buy:
AbeBooks →

Disclaimer: I have not been compensated in any way for this review and all opinions contained herein are my own and in no way reflect the ideas or opinions of people or sites I may reference.  This is intended for entertainment purposes only


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s