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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

Stay up all night with this modern day Rebecca! Perfect for fans of Truly Devious--a haunting story about a new girl in an old town filled with dark secrets . . . that might just kill her. People say the house is cursed. It preys on the weakest, and young women are its favorite victims. In Louth, they're called the Dead Girls. All Bram wanted was to disappear--from her old life, her family's past, and from the scandal that continues to haunt her. The only place left to go is Louth, the tiny town on the Hudson River where her uncle, James, has been renovating an old mansion. But James is haunted by his own ghosts. Months earlier, his beloved wife died in a fire that people say was set by her daughter. The tragedy left James a shell of the man Bram knew--and destroyed half the house he'd so lovingly restored. The manor is creepy, and so are the locals. The people of Louth don't want outsiders like Bram in their town, and with each passing day she's discovering that the ru…

Don’t Tell a Soul

by Kirsten Miller

Overall Book Review:

I feel like all I have been reading lately are dark and creepy books that have secrets and large houses involved. I guess it just so happens that there are a lot of books being published that have those things in common; it’s definitely not intentional on my part. I’m not complaining though since I’ve really been enjoying the books I’ve been reviewing lately! 

Don’t Tell a Soul is a book about a young woman who is trying to escape from her previous life and history. When we meet Bram, we don’t know a whole lot about her–just that to some extent she’s trying to kind of fly under the radar and that her past isn’t something she is proud of. As with most books, there is more to the story and Bram’s life is just starting to get creepier and a lot more complicated, even though she never would have suspected that.

Small towns have a reputation for being close-knit, or at least for being a place where everybody knows everybody. When Bram arrives at the tiny town of Louth, all she really knows is that she wants to get to her uncle James’ warm house without getting stuck in the snowstorm that has been raging for the whole trip. It takes a while to get there in the snow, but eventually she is ushered into her uncle’s manor and warming by a crackling fire. Sounds cozy, right? Little does she know that the room she has been given to stay in for the night has stories behind it, and not of the cute and cozy variety.

The story just gets better (or worse?) from there. Bram knew there was some family history behind the manor and the town; however, she didn’t know the details and how sinister they were. And then someone mentions that the manor her uncle owns may be cursed, and that makes Bram even more determined to find out what has been going on behind closed doors. Apparently, the manor doesn’t like to keep young women around for long, and it begins to feel like Bram’s days are numbered. 

I’m often guilty of judging a book by its cover, and often that works in my favor. Neither the cover, or the story inside disappoint in this case. This isn’t a complex story by any means, but it is a great book that is best enjoyed cuddled up in a warm blanket and it will probably keep you up past your bedtime.

Review of a Digital Advance Reading Copy

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Delacorte Press

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  13 religious exclamations; 22 mild obscenities; 1 religious profanity; 2 derogatory names; 6 scatological words; 7 anatomical terms; 2 offensive hand gestures; 7 F-word derivatives. 

Violence/Gore:  A scene occurs where a young woman gets caught in a snowstorm and she worries about freezing to death and what loved ones reactions would be; a young woman explores a wing of a house that has been badly destroyed by a fire, she recalls that a woman was reported to be injured in the fire; a mention is made of grandparents dying in a car crash; a mention is made of a father dying; a story about an 18-year-old drowning herself is brought up briefly; a mention is made of a house being cursed and that being the reason several people have died in it; a brief recollection occurs of a night a house caught fire or was set on fire (possible arson) resulting in a death; a mention is made of a girl jumping out of a window to save herself from burning house; a conversation about violent acts having reasons behind them is had in one brief scene; a brief depiction of a young woman in white running to a river to drown herself is brought up several times; a sign is mentioned to be posted on property, threatening that trespassers will be shot; a young girl has a nightmare where she is in danger but unable to call for help; a story is told about a young woman who ran out of her house in the evening and froze to death in the woods, a man follows her and later finds her body, described as a frozen corpse with her mouth frozen in a silent scream; a mention is made of basements being creepy, where bodies might be buried and clowns lure victims; a man is reported to have died from a heart attack or carbon monoxide poisoning; a man is reported to have died in a mine, the owner of the mine is reported to be cruel to his employees and wife; a man is reported to have fallen into a body of water and drowned; a girl is followed by her uncle and believes he is trying to kill her; a woman uses an object to hit a man and injure him so she can rescue a girl who is drowning; two men follow and catch a girl and zip-tie her hands and gag her in one brief scene; men verbally threaten minors; a report is made of a minor being on drugs and believing he should kill his parents, he is then mentioned to jump off a bridge in an attempt to kill himself, and breaks his legs; a man is reported to have been found dead from a heart attack; taxidermy is described in two brief scenes and could come across as creepy; a man is reported to be obsessed with a young woman and tries to break into her house; a girl is lost in the snow and is rescued from freezing to death by a woman; a man is reportedly suspected to have murdered his wife for a life insurance payout; a woman is reported to have jumped off a bridge; a woman is reported to have died under suspicious circumstances and her body is discovered in the spring; a photo is mentioned of a dead girls body that was found in the woods; a brief scene is described in detail of two bodies that a minor discovers; a glass tumbler is mentioned to be thrown at a man’s head; a house is vandalized and bricks are thrown at windows in one brief scene; a report is made of a man dying in the army and the man is described to have seen things no one should have to see; an observation is made of a drunk man convulsing in one brief scene; rape is mentioned with no detail.

Sex/Nudity:  A girl is reported to be engaged to a boy because he “stole her flower”; a boy flirts with a girl in a brief scene; a woman is reported to leave her husband after she learns of an extramarital affair; an adult couple is mentioned to spend the night together; a rumor goes around that a man and woman who were found dead were sexually involved and that when they were found they were partially unclothed and embracing; sex is referred to as a “quickie”; an adult man takes a minor in to live with him and kicks her out, later it is reported that she is expecting his child.

Mature Subject Matter:

Death; ghosts; paranormal activity; suicide; addiction.

Alcohol / Drug Use:

A minor is reported to have gone to rehab for drug use and mentions not having touched drugs for a year; a minor recalls taking prescription drugs and washing them down with wine; an adult is depicted as drunk in a brief scene; a drinking problem is referred to; an adult is mentioned to sip scotch; a minor recalls an experience at rehab when the drugs she was on began to wear off; minors are mentioned to drink at a party; substance abuse is referred to; a man is described to be knocked out from drinking; adults drink beer in one scene; a minor realizes her uncle is taking stimulants that are affecting his mood and he is referred to as being high.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

Books and reading have always been an important part of my life. When I was very young, my grandma was the library director at our local public library. Years later, after she had retired, I became a librarian at the same library and worked there for several years before taking a part-time job at a local coffee shop, which gives me more time to do what I love, to read and to review books! A few of my favorite authors are Aimee Bender, Diane Chamberlain, and Curtis Sittenfeld however, I will read almost any book I come across! In my spare time you can find me reading (of course), volunteering at a wildlife animal rehab, or hanging out with my two house rabbits.