In this darkly funny, striking debut, a highly unusual young woman must venture into the woods at the edge of her home to remove a curse that has plagued the women in her family for millennia—an utterly original novel with all the mesmerizing power of The Tiger’s Wife, The Snow Child, and Swamplandia!
Cursed. Maisie Cothay has never known the feel of human flesh: born with the power to kill or resurrect at her slightest touch, she has spent her childhood sequestered in her family’s manor at the edge of a mysterious forest. Maisie’s father, an anthropologist who sees her as more experiment than daughter, has warned Maisie not to venture into the wood. Locals talk of men disappearing within, emerging with addled minds and strange stories. What he does not tell Maisie is that for over a millennium her female ancestors have also vanished into the wood, never to emerge—for she is descended from a long line of cursed women.
But one day Maisie’s father disappears, and Maisie must venture beyond the walls of her carefully constructed life to find him. Away from her home and the wood for the very first time, she encounters a strange world filled with wonder and deception. Yet the farther she strays, the more the wood calls her home. For only there can Maisie finally reckon with her power and come to understand the wildest parts of herself.
3 stars ***
I wanted to love this book with all my might but I just couldn’t. The imagery was wonderfully dark and compelling yet I struggled with the characters, with the multiple viewpoints and the missing aspect of family love.This was 310 pages of half stories, over abundance of information and characters who leave you without any feeling of connection to them.
The writing was very unique but probably not for everyone, a girl with a dead mother raised by her clueless and seemingly loveless father. I enjoyed the descriptions and the plot of this book tremendously and had things been presented differently would have adored every sentence. The concept was fantastic Maisie, whose touch brings both life and death a curse and a blessing to anything she touches lives life with a family curse. After finishing the book I don’t even understand how the curse started there was no bad guy to curse them. Maisie who lives her life in seclusion with only her father and a housekeeper, until magically and without any logical explanation suddenly she can touch this dog, Marlowe.
A multitude of ancestors stories are mixed unnecessarily into the tale, only one or two feature with any real purpose to the story. Then just when you start to think well maybe the point of this tale is the fact that Maisie is going to free all these women from the curse they throw in this dark presence who is not at all what she seems.
To me this book just took the plots of what could be 3 to 5 different and unrelated novels and smashed them together to form something that resembles a fairy tale yet isn’t.