Sunday, 8 November 2020

Book Review: REVIVING THE HAWTHORN SISTERS by Emily Carpenter



Author:  Emily Carpenter

Publisher:  Lake Union Publishing

Read: October 2020

Expected publication: out now

My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟1/2


Book Description:


Dove Jarrod was a renowned evangelist and faith healer. Only her granddaughter, Eve Candler, knows that Dove was a con artist. In the eight years since Dove’s death, Eve has maintained Dove’s charitable foundation—and her lies. But just as a documentary team wraps up a shoot about the miracle worker, Eve is assaulted by a vengeful stranger intent on exposing what could be Dove’s darkest secret: murder…

Tuscaloosa, 1934: a wily young orphan escapes the psychiatric hospital where she was born. When she joins the itinerant inspirational duo the Hawthorn Sisters, the road ahead is one of stirring new possibilities. And with an obsessive predator on her trail, one of untold dangers. For a young girl to survive, desperate choices must be made.

Now, to protect her family, Eve will join forces with the investigative filmmaker and one of Dove’s friends, risking everything to unravel the truth behind the accusations against her grandmother. But will the truth set her free or set her world on fire?


What attracted me to this book:


Emily Carpenter’s book THE WEIGHT OF LIES made it onto my all-time-favourite list with its Gothic undertones and its book-within-a-book concept, so since then I have devoured everything she has written – and continue to really enjoy her writing.

My musings:


REVIVING THE HAWTHORN SISTERS was a very different style from Carpenter’s mysteries, but she still managed to infuse the story with the Southern elements that hallmark all her books. I always enjoy mysteries that centre around family secrets, so I was very excited to join Eve on her quest to find out about her grandmother Dove’s life before she became the famous evangelist she was later known for. America in the 1930’s holds a certain mystery that few eras can match, and I eagerly immersed myself in the atmosphere of life in the Great Depression.


I admit that I was much more invested in Dove’s life than in Eve’s, and would happily have had more chapters dedicated to her. Some elements of Eve were hard to comprehend and bond with, even though she grew on me a bit as the book progressed. I did enjoy the slight air of the supernatural, an element of the mystery that hung there, untouchable, always putting some doubt in my mind.





If you enjoy mysteries with a Gothic element, or those involving family secrets (with a family heirloom tying it all together), then REVIVING THE HAWTHORN SISTERS should definitely be on your list. Told from two separate POVs and spanning two timelines, the 1930s and today, the book will also appeal to lovers of historical fiction who are intrigued by stories that our older generation takes to the grave with them. I love all of those elements, and really enjoyed my reading journey – I can’t wait to see what Emily Carpenter comes up with next!




Thank you to Netgalley and Lake Union Publishing for the free electronic copy of this novel and for giving me the opportunity to provide an honest review.

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