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September 18, 2020

The Orphan of Cemetery Hill by Hester Fox ~ a Review

by MK French

Tabby and her sister Alice fled from their Aunt Belefonte, who was exploiting Tabby's gift to communicate with the dead. After getting separated from Alice, Tabby was adopted by Eli, the caretaker for the city's cemetery. There were graves robbed by resurrection men, so Tabby's gift will either help save the cemetery or lead to her own destruction.

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The Orphan of Cemetry Hill
September 2020; Graydon House; 978-1525804571
audio, ebook, print (352 pages); gothic romance

We span a long period of time with The Orphan of Cemetery Hill, opening with Tabitha lost in Boston when her sister never comes back, hiding in a cemetery. Resurrection men are present, and still at it twelve years later when Tabitha is a grown woman. She and Caleb cross paths several times, and he's taken with her during their second meeting when they're both adults. He's accused of murder, and Tabby knows the truth. It doesn't help her in the long run, as the ones in power will do whatever they can to continue their experiments with the dead, hoping to find a way to restart life in order to prolong their own.

All of the questions posed at the beginning of the book - who are these men, what happened to Alice, what happened to the Belefonte aunt and uncle - are answered by the end of the novel. Caleb is more resourceful than he thought he was, and Tabitha was willing to do whatever it took to protect the ones she cares about. There are no easy choices for those who don't hold power in the 1800's Boston, but that doesn't mean that the poor are helpless, or that women have no choices that they can make. I enjoyed seeing Tabitha grow into her gift and make choices that helped her life move forward and improve, even when she thought she was out of them. She's my favorite in this book, and I was cheering for her all the way.

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever.

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