Thank you NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for this ARC. All thoughts and opinions are mine.
SYNOPSIS: They say there's a door in Wakefield that never opens...
Sam Wakefield's ancestral home, a decaying mansion built on the edge of a swamp, isn't a place for children. Its labyrinthine halls, built by her mad ancestors, are filled with echoes of the past: ghosts and memories knotted together as one. In the presence of phantoms, it's all Sam can do to disentangle past from present in her daily life. But when her pregnant sister Elizabeth moves in after a fight with her husband, something in the house shifts. Already navigating her tumultuous relationship with Elizabeth, Sam is even more unsettled by the appearance of a new ghost: a faceless boy who commits disturbing acts--threatening animals, terrorizing other children, and following Sam into the depths of the house wielding a knife. When it becomes clear the boy is connected to a locked, forgotten room, one which is never entered, Sam realizes this ghost is not like the others. This boy brings doom... As Elizabeth's due date approaches, Sam must unravel the mysteries of Wakefield before her sister brings new life into a house marked by death. But as the faceless boy grows stronger, Sam will learn that some doors should stay closed--and some secrets are safer locked away forever. (AMAZON)
It's not often that I come across a modern Gothic novel told in a language that will make me fall deep into the story and catch the mad fever overtaking the characters. But It Will Just Be Us delivers tenfold.
The setting of the book is to be expected: an old house, big, imposing, with more rooms than those who live there can take care of and ghosts roaming the halls while the world outside is dreary and sometimes more inhospitable than this terrible home becomes. But these ghosts are not figments of the imagination. They're rather very real to anyone who spends enough time in the Wakefield mansion to see them. By being too loud, by living too strongly, by feeling too much joy, sadness, pain or hatred, the house takes an imprint of those moments and saves them so that they can live on at odd times of manifestation and tell the tale of everyone who has lived here. It was interesting yet eerie to see these phantoms of the past, even as they helped drive the plot forward.
Half of the “main” characters in this book (save for Elizabeth and Donovan) are fairly quiet in personality. They keep their emotions deep within themselves, and therefore cope in less than healthy ways, which only gives more fodder for Wakefield house to use. And yet, for Samantha. at least. this repression begins to crack at the edges until she not only starts to let go and show how she truly feels, but does so while allowing the instability of the house to dig into her. It's both freeing to see and devastating, as one connects the dots of everything that has been shown so far and realizes the conclusion that her life will have.
It made me, the reader, feel wonderfully out of my mind a few times while allowing the story take hold of me. And eerie became downright creepy whenever the at first mysterious Julian would make an appearance. What darkness the genre of this book insisted upon, Jo Kaplan was happy to supply us with. You will be spooked, you will feel uncomfortable even while driven by a need to see what happens next, and you will be as repulsed as you are fascinated.
The writing itself is absolutely gorgeous and gives the story a very authentic and old time feel despite the contemporary setting. It was a book that was impossible to put down, and deserves to be read by those that are fans of such an uncanny tale.