Title: The Witch Elm
Author: Tana French
Source: Free ARC from Viking
Note: As stated under the Source (above), I received this book for free from Viking via Edelweiss. I pride myself on writing fair and honest reviews.
The Witch Elm asks what we become, and what we’re capable of, when we no longer know who we are.”
A few things worth noting:
- I finished this book about two months ago.
- It took me two months to finish it.
- This is the first Tana French I’ve ever read.
Having never read Tana French before, but also having so many reader friends who LOVE her Dublin Murder Squad series, I was thrilled to find this standalone available on Edelweiss. AND I was super excited about reading it. Super. Excited.
The Witch Elm started off on strong footing. The quality of the writing, the feel of it, was right on par with what I’d been told. Intelligent, atmospheric, good character building. And the beginning of the story was intriguing. But. The crime that takes place initially is really a stage setter, not the main event, and once the story diverted from that, I felt disconnected. The mystery aspect wasn’t especially compelling. It was lacking any semblance of suspense. It felt a great deal more like a family drama, and I didn’t really care for it in that respect either. Of all the characters, only Toby’s girlfriend and uncle were remotely likeable. The rest I found irritating and couldn’t give two figs for.
Ultimately, this book was more about the characters than the mystery aspect, which would be fine if: a) that’s what I was expecting and b) the characters were worth studying. Since neither case was true, I was quite disappointed. In hindsight, it’s really no shock that it took me so long to get through it (and did I mention I found it overly long?). However, I will absolutely set aside this middling reading experience and give Ms. French another go, but next time, I’ll stick to the series she is famous for.