Review: White Pines by Gemma Amor

cover of White Pines by Gemma AmorWhite Pines by Gemma Amor
Independently Published (March 2020)

442 pages; $16 paperback; $3 e-book
Reviewed by Sadie Hartmann

I like that the synopsis of White Pines is short and ambiguous. I’d like to leave it that way. I’m going to do my best to share my reading experience without disclosing important plot details in order to protect “reader discovery.”

What you know:

A woman, returning to her roots. A town, built on sacred land. A secret, cloaked in tradition and lore.

Welcome to White Pines. Don’t get too comfortable.

The new cosmic-folk-Celtic-cult-fantasy-horror novel from Gemma Amor, the Bram Stoker Award-nominated author of Dear Laura and Cruel Works of Nature, is available NOW.

What I’ll tell you:

The protagonist, Megan, is so relatable. I enjoyed going on a journey of self-discovery and change with her at the beginning of the story; walking in her shoes and processing everything thrown her way. 

I love that Gemma Amor writes flawed, realistic women that don’t come across as having it all figured out. Megan doesn’t always react the way I would in a situation, but that’s the beauty of investing in her story—to see where her choices will take her.

What makes this book full-on horror is the brilliant way Amor sucks the reader into the story without telegraphing where she is taking you. As Megan begins to unravel the mysterious situations that befall her, the pace quickens, hurtling towards the escalating drama without being able to stop. The suspense is exhilarating and addicting.

Perhaps most noteworthy is Gemma’s ability to seamlessly stitch together mythology with epic proportions while simultaneously laying down solid groundwork for the reader to stand on so that suspending disbelief comes effortlessly/naturally. It’s clear that world building and character development are Gemma’s wheelhouse, and her greatest assets that assist her in dynamic storytelling.

To say that she holds her readers captive in the palm of her hand doesn’t do the magic of White Pines justice, but it’s as close as I can get to describing the relationship I have with her gift of words.

A consistent feature of Gemma’s books is their ability to translate powerful emotion. I went through a plethora of feelings as this book wound down to its conclusion. A strong testament to Gemma’s work as a writer—her readers can confidently show up for her unique brand of horror and expect to be crushed under the weight of serious emotional investment. It hurts so good.

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