Sunday, July 1, 2012
Dark Shadows: The Salem Branch ~ a Review
There I was in the coffee and candy aisle and edged over to the books and magazine section (of course), of my local grocery store.
There it was. I saw the title: Dark Shadows: The Salem Branch by Lara Parker.
Well, I had to have it. I needed something to read in the evenings during my vacation, and so I bought it. I was hopeful for an enjoyable read and I was not disappointed.
Description from book back cover:
Freed from his vampire curse, Barnabas Collins is ready to embark on a new life and marriage with his savior, the virtuous Dr. Julia Hoffman. But when Antoinette, a beautiful flower child with a shocking resemblance to the immortal witch, Angelique, rebuilds the Old House, his past returns to haunt him. Discovering a grisly corpse in the basement—where is old casket once lay—Barnabas realizes another vampire has invaded his domain. His fight to protect his family from this new threat will take Barnabas back through time to an evil moment in America's history: the corrupt witch trials of old Salem.
I enjoyed the history told from an innocent girl, Meranda du Val, who is accused of witchcraft by girls of the village. Although she is innocent of all their accusations, she is magical. And—I loved this part—she could fly, and she had been raised by the Indians during her childhood. This all ties in with the ending so well!
I loved the story told from both her voice, and Barnabas' through out the story. Meranda's story takes place in 1692 from Salem, Massachusetts, while Barnabas' takes place in 1971. The time lines were well depicted, well organized when she went back in time too. Laura must have done some vast research on how people spoke, and lived back then. And also what it must have been like to live in Salem during the witch-hating craze where all it took was someone saying your looking at them cause them to feel as though you were on fire, or that you caused a cow to die, etc. And the corrupt judges—wanting to take over land which you owned pretended to believe them.
Meanwhile, Barnabas is trying to decide if this woman (Antoinette), who looks just like the evil Angelique is really her reincarnation, after she has bought the Old House, and began decorating it just as it was before a fire took it. Meanwhile he suffers from the daily injections that Julia gives him in order to make him human again. He's finding out how it is to be human and aging. But at the same time enjoying certain delights he never could before—such as going out into the sunlight. I felt Parker really captured Barnabas in this story.
And what of Antoinette's daughter who she rescues from an insane asylum? And there is something attacking the hippies who are camped out on her property. Is it a vampire, werewolf, or zombie? Barnabas needs to find it and stop them before it's too late!
Parker's beautiful prose paints the surroundings wonderfully, dutifully adhering to the diction of the times—which ever story we are in at the moment, from the 1600's to the 1970's. It is spellbinding suspense and the storytelling does pull you in. I wanted to read it all in a matter of nights, but held back so as to enjoy it for an hour or so each night.
I enjoyed this read, and want to get the next book as soon as I can find it. I think anyone who loves the darkness of the series, or someone who is looking for a great read could really get into this book. I highly recommend it!