Let Me Die In His Footsteps

Finished Let Me Die In His Footsteps by Lori Roy.  I received a copy for review at BEA.

Summary (from Goodreads):

In the spellbinding and suspenseful Let Me Die in His Footsteps, Edgar Award–winner Lori Roy wrests from a Southern town the secrets of two families touched by an evil that has passed between generations.

On a dark Kentucky night in 1952 exactly halfway between her fifteenth and sixteenth birthdays, Annie Holleran crosses into forbidden territory. Everyone knows Hollerans don’t go near Baines, not since Joseph Carl was buried two decades before, but, armed with a silver-handled flashlight, Annie runs through her family’s lavender fields toward the well on the Baines’ place. At the stroke of midnight, she gazes into the water in search of her future. Not finding what she had hoped for, she turns from the well and when the body she sees there in the moonlight is discovered come morning, Annie will have much to explain and a past to account for.

It was 1936, and there were seven Baine boys. That year, Annie’s aunt, Juna Crowley, with her black eyes and her long blond hair, came of age. Before Juna, Joseph Carl had been the best of all the Baine brothers. But then he looked into Juna’s eyes and they made him do things that cost innocent people their lives. Sheriff Irlene Fulkerson saw justice served—or did she?

As the lavender harvest approaches and she comes of age as Aunt Juna did in her own time, Annie’s dread mounts. Juna will come home now, to finish what she started. If Annie is to save herself, her family, and this small Kentucky town, she must prepare for Juna’s return, and the revelation of what really happened all those years ago.”

This is the kind of book that will require patience from the reader.  I was instantly sucked in (there’s a sense of dread throughout the book, although for the most part, it’s very subtle–a sense of unease, for the most part, until the last few pages).  We immediately know that Annie’s Aunt Juna is someone the town doesn’t trust and that people seem to be watching Annie to see if she’ll take after Juna or her mom, Juna’s sister.  (And so far, it seems to be that she’ll take after Juna.)

I love the folklore in this book.  In the town, there’s a tradition that at midnight on the date teenage girls are exactly 15 and a half years old, they can stare down a well and see the face of the boy they’re going to marry.

This is just a fun novel, especially if you like Gothic-type books.  (I don’t think this officially counts as Gothic, but there is definitely a similar vibe.)



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