- Title And Author: Sanctuary by V.V. James
- Publisher: Gollancz
- Physical, eBook or Audiobook: eBook
- Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Gifted by publisher via NetGalley in exchange for honest review/reaction
- Length: 320 Pages
As I told you a while back, I first heard of this at the Gollancz Book Blogger/Bookseller Event and it was one of the few books that made me sit up in my chair a little straighter. The idea of a modern day witch-hunt intrigued me hugely and hearing the author V.V. James (or Vic James, author of the Guided Cage trilogy [only read the first and need to read the rest!]) chat about her research and inspiration (#MeToo movement), I knew I wanted to read thus as/when I could. So when I saw I could get my hands on the eProof of this, I requested and popped it onto one of my “Pick My Next Read” polls (yes, I suck at doing and sticking to these polls, aren’t I?), I was glad it won (though it was a real close between that and From the Wreck by Jane Rawson)
The small town of Sanctuary, Connecticut is a perfect little town where everyone gets along. But behind perfect hides some dark secrets as Detective Maggie Knight is about to find out. She has been asked to go to Sanctuary to investigate the tragic death of Sanctuary’s star quarterback. It was accident, a terrible accident.
But the rumours start. Rumours that his ex-girlfriend killed him using witchcraft. She’s the daughter of a town’s witch and, even though she doesn’t have magical abilities, is that the truth?
Bereaved mother Abigail will stop at nothing until she has justice for her dead son. Sarah, Abigail’s best friend, will do whatever she can to protect her daughter. And both women share a secret that could shatter the fragile peace of the town and their lives.
Maggie must find out the truth and prevent the town from spiralling dangerously out of control. But mob mentality is slowing being to take its grip the town… Sanctuary no longer feels safe.
I had a blast reading this. I got a little bit addicted to this as I wanted to know what happened next. I get why the publisher is saying this is a mix of Big Little Lies and The Craft or The Power.
I liked that this book had characters who were very morally grey and, at times, were quite unpleasant and quite nasty. I liked that we saw characters unravel and do and say things were awful in the situation, but you understood why they said or did that. I liked that the chapters switched between Sarah, Maggie and Abigail so you understood what all of them were thinking when certain truths/events revealed themselves and I liked that we had transcripts of police interviews, TV interviews, newspaper articles showing how the truth is getting more and more twisted, and that this book tackled triggers issues (mob mentality, death, grief, sexual assault and consent, breakdown of friendships and safe spaces (though at times, I did wish one or two of the issues were tackled a bit darker, though I do admit that I might be thinking this as I read this quite fast).
I do admit that the ending is a tad rushed. There’s a gap between the last chapter and the epilogue and, due to this gap, several issues aren’t expected resolved. I want to see the fallout of the last chapter, I want to see the consequences to everyone what happened to the town and what led them to the final chapters, but we don’t. But, I get why this was the why to go as we need the epilogue to explain the truth of what happened that night. But it would have been nice to have an extra chapter to two, just to give me some closure as there was a few chapters I wanted to suffer ever so slightly for their actions.
I am surprised how much I enjoyed myself reading Sanctuary and I do think this would make a really interesting TV drama (again, very similar to Big Little Lies or A Discovery of Witches) and, while I admit this might be a marmite read from some people, I am intrigued to see what V.V. James writes next…