Today I’m sharing my review of Pine by Francine Toon as part of the blog tour. Thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for the invite and the publishers for a copy of the book.
About the book
They are driving home from the search party when they see her. The trees are coarse and tall in the winter light, standing like men.
Lauren and her father Niall live alone in the Highlands, in a small village surrounded by pine forest. When a woman stumbles out onto the road one Halloween night, Niall drives her back to their house in his pickup. In the morning, she’s gone.
In a community where daughters rebel, men quietly rage, and drinking is a means of forgetting, mysteries like these are not out of the ordinary. The trapper found hanging with the dead animals for two weeks. Locked doors and stone circles. The disappearance of Lauren’s mother a decade ago.
Lauren looks for answers in her tarot cards, hoping she might one day be able to read her father’s turbulent mind. Neighbours know more than they let on, but when local teenager Ann-Marie goes missing it’s no longer clear who she can trust.
In the shadow of the Highland forest, Francine Toon captures the wildness of rural childhood and the intensity of small-town claustrophobia. In a place that can feel like the edge of the word, she unites the chill of the modern gothic with the pulse of a thriller. It is the perfect novel for our haunted times.
Pine is available to pre-order now and will be available to purchase 23rd January 2020 – Amazon
First of all I have to comment on the book cover, isn’t it gorgeous? I couldn’t stop admiring it after it popped through my door.
Pine tells us the story of Lauren, a ten (nearly 11) year old girl that lives with her dad Niall in the Scottish Highlands. They live surrounded by pine trees in an old run down house. Lauren’s mum Christine vanished when she was just a baby and Niall isn’t the best dad but he does try sometimes, he’s a drinker and Lauren often ends up fending for herself.
I absolutely adored Lauren, she’s such a great wee character that you just can’t help taking her to your heart straight away. It’s difficult for her not having known her mum, she secretly wears her lipstick and she has her tarot cards, worry dolls and book that’s filled with spells and enchantments hidden away, things that make her feel a little closer to her mum.
School is difficult for Lauren too, Maisie a girl who dislikes her is making her life hell and it broke my heart reading these scenes. I just wanted to grab Lauren and give her a huge big hug.
I won’t go into too much detail of the plot, from reading the blurb I really thought I had an idea of what would be coming but I was totally wrong, I got so much more and I won’t spoil it for anyone.
Pine is a story that had me totally gripped from page one, it slowly builds up the tension and almost enchants you. I found it really difficult to put down and I had this feeling of dread as the pages went by, I knew something was coming but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. It’s an eerie atmospheric read that really drew me in, I could smell the forest, I could feel the winter chill and I had goose bumps so many times.
Pine is an absolute cracker of a read, it’s a story that will haunt you until you get to the last page so I highly recommend you set aside plenty of time to read this story because you really won’t want to put it down. I’ll definitely be recommending Pine and I can’t wait to see what Francine Toon comes up with next.
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About the author
Francine Toon grew up in Sutherland and Fife, Scotland. Her poetry, written as Francine Elena, has appeared in The Sunday Times, The Best British Poetry 2013 and 2015 anthologies (Salt) and Poetry London, among other places. Pine was long-listed for the Deborah Rogers Foundation Writers Award. She lives in London and works in publishing.