Anna Dufresne lives in a factory that eats children. If the brutal machines don’t kill Anna, her guardians’ neglect and abuse probably will. The only thing this abandoned teen wants is out. But the factory is inside a stone fortress, on an island, where people are sent to be forgotten. It serves as a dumping ground — both for orphans who are not welcome at finer institutions, and for nuns who have disgraced the Church. The walls of Saint Frances du Chantal’s Orphan Asylum hum with secrets and buried scandal.
In the catacombs below the factory, something long dead, something almost forgotten, stirs. It offers Anna a key, and promises freedom, if she will seek it out when she escapes. She knows her plan will endanger the other children, but Anna cannot resist the call of freedom.
Her escape attempt triggers a chain reaction of chaos, shaking the orphanage to its foundation and laying bare its deadly secrets. As Anna flees into the night, she discovers that the evil nuns were the least of her worries. The swirling mist of the island hides terrors more dangerous than she could ever imagine.
Oh. My. God. Just, wow! I was surprised at how good this was! Very original. I did not want to put the darn thing down! Too bad I had to do things like sleep and go to work. Why are those things always getting in the way!?
Anyhoo, Anna. Poor Anna. What a truly awful hand she was dealt in life. The first bit of the book set up my expectations for a kind of Annie-like story where a beaten-down orphan may eventually overcome her life of misery and find some happiness. But. That’s not exactly what happened.
I do NOT want to give away any kind of spoilers for this because in my opinion, what makes this book work so well is that you are constantly wondering what is going to happen next. There is some serious edge-of-your-seat writing going on here.
It’s suspenseful, atmospheric, heartbreaking, scary, and wonderful. I highly recommend it.
If you like dark, moody, supernatural settings, this one is definitely for you! I now have to get my hands on anything else Axel Blackwell has written. Happy reading, loves!
I received a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.