Pitcher Plant by Melissa Eskue Ousley

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis

When Tawny Ellis spots a fixer-upper on the Oregon coast, she and her husband jump at the chance to own a cottage near the beach. But as expensive repairs turn their dream home into a nightmare, their marriage unravels. And worse… the house is not quite vacant. Something in the house’s dark past remains.

Tawny’s daughter has a new imaginary friend, and she bears a striking resemblance to a little girl who squatted in the cottage with her drug-addicted mother. After breaking in and camping out, they vanished, and have been missing for years.

Now the house’s previous owner is enraged with Tawny. As he stalks her family, Tawny suspects she knows what happened to the last people who slept in the house. Her family might be next.

Why I Read It

Filles Vertes Publishing sent me this book in exchange for an honest review. They gave me a few options and this is one of the two I chose to review because I love the pacific northwest, I love a good suspense, and it has hints of paranormal activity involved. My house is “haunted” (I use this term very loosely, we have ghosts and experiences but I don’t really like the term “haunted”).

Quick thank you to FVP for reaching out to me! I’m so glad I had the opportunity to read this awesome book!

My Thoughts

This was such a fun read! I finished it in less than a week because I enjoyed it so much. Granted, it’s significantly shorter than the other books I’ve been reading lately, but I appreciated that about it. The book didn’t contain anything that it didn’t need to have. I don’t normally read suspense or paranormal books or anything like that, and when I do attempt them sometimes I find it hard to get into it. Which is ironic, considering my history with ghosts. Sometimes the books can drag a little bit, or I just prefer to read something lighter. Maybe I read the book at the wrong time and tell myself I’ll come back to it, and never do. Whatever the case, this was a different story and I’m so glad!

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Once again, men are scum. That could basically be another synopsis for this book. Not ALL men, so don’t get offended if you’re a man because I’m sure you are not scum. Probably. But okay, come on, a lot of men are and most of the men in this book are. Read it and you’ll get it. Mark is a total jerk and Jesse is amazing.

The reason I gave this a 4 rating is that I wish there had been more paranormal activity in the book. I’m not spoiling anything by saying Sara’s imaginary friend is a ghost, that’s kind of implied I think. There’s a point in the book where Tawny says Sara hasn’t mentioned her imaginary friend in a while, so we’re left to assume that the ghost is gone. But Sara never really talked about this imaginary friend that often. She mentioned her one time for sure, and then maybe twice more when Tawny interrogated her about it. But other than that, I honestly thought it was going to play a bigger part in the story. And the thing is, it DID play a huge part in the story. I just wish it had been mentioned more and given more attention, perhaps in passing or something.

The same goes for other paranormal experiences, like thumping and stuff in the house. I wish there had just been more, but it’s also kind of hard for me to judge after growing up in a “haunted” house. I have an idea set in my head of what I wanted to happen, what experiences I wanted the family to have, and it just didn’t happen. They had experiences, but I just wish there had been more.

I think a large part of the book was spent forming Tawny and Jesse’s relationship with one another. Which, yes, was important and I liked it. It wasn’t like it was unnecessary. But there were moments when Tawny would reflect on how horrible Mark was being, comments he would make or arguments they would have or how he would treat Sophie and Sara, and it wasn’t included in the book. I was left thinking, uh, when did that happen?

If these things had been included in the book, obviously it would have been a little longer. But the book is only 246 pages so I think there’s definitely plenty of room where scenes could have been added. Plus, giving credit where credit is clearly due, the entire time I had about 50 plots going through my head. I had 50 ideas of where this story could head. And while I sort of got a hunch at one point about how it might end, for a while it seemed like I was very wrong, and right up until the last chapter I was convinced I was mistaken. BUT I WAS RIGHT HAHAHA YES. I’m not even mad about it because the ending wasn’t given away because there were just sooooo many directions it could have gone. I love that. I think that’s an amazing quality to have in any book but especially suspense. I was worried I’d be able to figure it out right away, but even when I did figure it out I was convinced I was wrong and just . . . I don’t know how many more ways I can word that so I’ll just move on.

That’s really the only thing I wanted. Was the book lacking at all because of these things? No! Absolutely not! I understood the story, I was able to follow it, and I was able to put two and two together when arguments or situations were mentioned that I didn’t get a glimpse at. Plus, the story is told as if Tawny is telling it to someone, not as if it’s happening real time, so I suppose it’s natural for her to leave some stuff out in this “retelling.” When you tell someone a story, do you really include every single little detail? (Okay, I mean, my mom does whenever she tells people our ghost stories, but my mom is pretty unique.)

I definitely recommend this book to people who love the pacific northwest (like I do), who love suspense (like I do), and who love ghost stories (I DO!). Actually, everyone just read it. Go buy it. Now.

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21-year-old college student, lover of books and proud owner of Dreaming in Paperbacks blog, dreaming.in.paperbacks bookstagram, and DPaperbacks Twitter. Looking for more book, college, and lifestyle blogs to follow!

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