Genre: Mystery & Thriller
Length: 352 pages
Audiobook Length: 8 hours and 30 minutes
First Published: 2022
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Ballantine Books through Netgalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Emery Blackwood’s life was shattered at her high school graduation when her boyfriend August was accused of murdering her best friend Lily and then he moved away without her. Still living in their small superstitious island town, August’s return sets the whole town atwitter. In town to bury his mother’s ashes, August must confront his high school sweetheart and a town that doesn’t want him back.
Adrienne Young’s new novel is a slow-burn mystery with hints of witchy magic. Honestly, there’s not much action in the story (or much magic), just an overhanging sense of dread and secrets running through the town. The atmospheric story was good enough to hold my interest, but I could easily see others being bored with the lack of character development.
A rural island community steeped in the mystical superstitions of its founders and haunted by an unsolved murder is upended by the return of the suspected killer in this deeply atmospheric novel.
Emery Blackwood’s life was forever changed on the eve of her high school graduation, when the love of her life, August Salt, was accused of murdering her best friend, Lily. Now, she is doing what her teenage self swore she never would: living a quiet existence among the community that fractured her world in two. She’d once longed to run away with August, eager to escape the misty, remote shores of Saiorse Island and chase new dreams; now, she maintains her late mother’s tea shop and cares for her ailing father. But just as the island, rooted in folklore and tradition, begins to show signs of strange happenings, August returns for the first time in fourteen years and unearths the past that no one wants to remember.
August Salt knows he is not welcome on Saiorse, not after the night that changed everything. As a fire raged on at the Salt family orchard, Lily Morgan was found dead in the dark woods, shaking the bedrock of their tight-knit community and branding August a murderer. When he returns to bury his mother’s ashes, he must confront the people who turned their backs on him and face the one wound from the past that has never healed—Emery. But the town has more than one reason to want August gone, and the emergence of deep betrayals and hidden promises that span generations threatens to reveal the truth behind Lily’s death once and for all.
Evocative and compelling, Spells for Forgetting is a vivid exploration of lost love and the unraveling of a small town and its many secrets.