Friday, October 14, 2011

Through Her Eyes, by Jennifer Archer

Tansy, her mother, and her grandfather move every year or two, so that Mom can live amidst the setting for her next novel. Mom claims that she needs to be immersed in order to write, but Tansy suspects that Mom is afraid of setting down roots. Regardless of the reason, they have lived in many different places, including Nashville, Seattle, and Boston. This time, they end up in small Cedar Canyon, Texas, which happens to also be her grandfather's hometown. While that ought to please grandpa, senility has made him largely uncommunicative. Still, it certainly seems like he isn't too happy to be back home.

For Tansy, small-town Texas certainly isn't a terribly friendly place to live. Most of the kids ignore her, except for a strange but precocious girl several years too young for her grade. But Tansy's social life is only peripheral to this story, because there are strange things afoot! The house they are living in is rumored to be haunted and Tansy has noticed a fair share of unexplained phenomena (seeing people from the past through the viewfinder of her camera, hearing a nightingale's call (even though they are not native to North America), and eventually finding a way to actually enter the world of old photographs). It all points to a horrible event in the past that must be resolved if the hauntings are to cease.

This is a busy supernatural thriller, and poorly paced. While it takes a while to sort everything out, the story meanders so slowly that you find yourself well ahead of the characters. The result of this is that I found myself getting bored waiting for them to figure out what had already become clear to me. More pruning to make the story taut would have helped. The conclusion gets pretty muddy as well, but here it seems intended to leave the ending ambiguous. That didn't work for me either. Overall, I found this a pretty average read.

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