This book was read over Christmas weekend but it is as far from Christmas as possible. It was one of those books that I started but just couldn’t seem to focus on so I put it back on my shelf to wait for another time. Well I had the thought that maybe if I read it during the complete opposite season that the book takes place in, I might be able to get into it. It worked!
The May Queen Murders by Sarah Jude takes place in a small farming community called Rowan’s Glen. The main character, Ivy Templeton, has lived there her whole life. Her family has been there for centuries so Ivy feels a deep connection with the place. Life in Rowan’s Glen is full of superstition and old-fashioned ways of living. Ivy’s best friend is her cousin Heather and they have been as close as sisters for their entire lives. However, Heather starts acting strangely and keeping secrets. Then after the May Day celebration Heather goes missing forcing Ivy to uncover secrets about both her cousin and the town she has loved her whole life.
I absolutely loved the setting of this book. The Rowan’s Glen community was really intriguing. They had one vehicle for the whole town, the used barely any electricity preferring candles and fires. They relied on old school medicine to treat illnesses. Whenever Ivy and the other kids were shown interacting with other people their differences really stuck out. They were picked on in their school and a lot of the other students called their way of living a cult or that they were all crazies. It was an interesting to see that from the perspective of someone inside this community rather than outside of it. I think it was a good lesson in not judging people’s way of life.
As for the plot is was a little predictable. There ended up being more than one mystery in this book and I only figured out one of them. The other ones came up as a surprise. They were nice twists though and that is something I can appreciate in a book. This book had a lot of dark undertones where the picturesque community that seemed so simple is really more complicated than it looks.
I think my favorite part of the book was the different superstitions that Ivy was raised to believe in. I love learning about different folktales and superstitions from different cultures. This book was full of them and each one played a role in the storyline. It is always interesting to see how people’s beliefs in these things can effect what happens in their lives.
Overall I enjoyed this book. It wasn’t anything spectacular but it was still a good mystery to try and solve.
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