Tainted Love by Anna Chilvers

Tainted Love (published by Bluemoose Books) is set in the northern town of Hawden where old industry and woodland meet in an enchanting landscape.

Lauren is in love. She met her boyfriend Peter when they were children and he was hiding naked in the woods. Peter loves the woods: lives in them, runs in them with his strong legs and hooves, sleeps in a cave in the cold with his dad, the hair on their bodies thick enough to keep them warm.

Just as Peter is a little different, so is Lauren. Many of the people of Hawden are not quite human and as a woman and her son return to the town, Lauren uncovers the truth about her family. Why did her mother run off when she was a child? Her parents had seemed so in love but then her mother abandoned them and she and her dad moved in with Mr Lion.

Ali, a similar age to Lauren, is in Hawden looking for a place to lie low and hoping to find out more about her grandmother who once lived in the town. But what was her grandmother’s connection to Hawden and to Lauren’s history?

Slowly the lives of the people of Hawden step out of the humdrum modern day into a gothic wooded landscape where old stories and nature hold sway. Though you might imagine it’s a love story, the book’s tainted love is as much to do with family and bloodlines as romance.

I enjoyed Anna Chilvers writing, the beautiful descriptions of scenery, the pleasure of multiple perspectives, and the pages flew fast after each other as I eagerly read to find out how all these stories entwined. Tainted Love is a fun and thoughtful read that lovers of modern gothic can’t fail to enjoy.

Next week I’m reading Owl Song at Dawn by Emma Claire Sweeney, published today by Legend Press. Watch this space for an Authors QH interview with Emma too…

 

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