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February 19, 2023

Where Darkness Blooms by Andrea Hannah ~ a Review

by MK French

The town of Bishop is officially known for its windstorms and endless fields of sunflowers, but women go missing there all the time. When three more women go missing, their daughters are left alone until secrets are revealed at their memorial. Delilah wants to move on and live with her boyfriend even though she can't stand his touch. Whitney lost her mother and girlfriend, so she clings to a weathervane. Whitney's twin Jude would rather forget everything, but her fling with Delilah's boyfriend is revealed. Bo just wants the truth about what happened to their mothers. Bishop is a quiet little town founded on blood, and now it wants theirs.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of young adult novel Where Darkness Blooms by Andrea Hannah
February 2023; Wednesday Books; 978-1250842626
audio, ebook, print (320 pages); young adult

The opening is told from Bishop's POV, so we know there's a creepy, bloody history from the time of its founding. We also get a warning from the author regarding allusions to trauma and underage drinking, so there's an additional edge of foreboding in the early chapters. The girls are all teens, with Delilah as the oldest and their nominal guardian because their fathers all abandoned them years before their mothers disappeared on the same day as a bonfire all four had attended. As with many small-town stories, everyone knows everyone else, even the secrets that good ol' boys want to keep. It can be as relatively innocent as Delilah's boyfriend sleeping with Jude before he ditched her for Delilah, or Whitney and Eleanor kissing before Eleanor died. There's also Bo's trauma, heavily hinted at, as well as the bloody knife and charm found at the memorial site which starts the search for the truth two years after the mothers had disappeared. 

Bishop is a town that prevents the women from leaving, and the wind whispers. As the girls try to figure out what that means, the windstorms and police circle them. The men all know more than they were telling, eager to protect the secret of the town's survival. They're the only ones who generally grow old in town; the women are cut down in their youth to feed the hunger and create the sunflowers that surround the town. This is an eerie and dark tale, where anger can give strength and survival depends on working together. At the same time, this isn't wholly a horror story. Aside from the wind speaking or the ghosts, the true monsters are the human ones that assault and kill. It's a compelling and tense story, one that I had to stay up late to finish.

Buy Where Darkness Blooms at Amazon

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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