Book Review: The May Queen Murders by Sarah Jude

Posted April 29, 2016 by @Angelized_1st in 2016 Horror Reading Challenge, Books, Entertainment, Reading Challenges / 0 Comments

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: The May Queen Murders by Sarah JudeThe May Queen Murders by Sarah Jude
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company on May 3rd 2016
Genres: JUVENILE FICTION, Family, Multigenerational, Girls & Women, Young Adult, Horror, Lifestyles, Country Life, Mysteries & Detective Stories, Social Issues, Homosexuality, Thrillers & Suspense
Pages: 304
Format: eBook, Hardcover
Source: Publisher
ISBN: 9780544640412
Buy on: AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooks

Stay on the roads. Don't enter the woods. Never go out at night.     Those are the rules in Rowan's Glen, a remote farming community in the Missouri Ozarks where Ivy Templeton's family has lived for centuries. It's an old-fashioned way of life, full of superstition and traditions, and sixteen-year-old Ivy loves it. The other kids at school may think the Glen kids are weird, but Ivy doesn't care--she has her cousin Heather as her best friend. The two girls share everything with each other--or so Ivy thinks. When Heather goes missing after a May Day celebration, Ivy discovers that both her best friend and her beloved hometown are as full of secrets as the woods that surround them.   

I’ve never read anything that took place in the Ozarks, so this murder mystery seemed like it would be worth checking out. Sarah Jude weaves together many different elements in her new novel The May Queen Murders, including horror, and suspense. The protagonist of the story is Ivy Templeton, a sixteen-year-old girl who discovers she and her best friend Heather are growing apart. What’s worse, is that her best friend is also her cousin, and they’ve been inseparable since birth. Ivy and Heather are polar opposites. Where Heather is light and carefree, Ivy is dark and timid. Once the friendship becomes torn apart by secrets, Ivy has to discover who she is without Heather ever-present at her side.

At first I found the book difficult to get into due to the characters’ speech patterns, but once I got used to it, I found the pace of the story to be pretty steady. In the midst of this teen girl drama, the story takes a dark turn when Heather goes missing. Rowan’s Glen is filled with terrible secrets, and Ivy decides to uncover them and figure out what really happened to her best friend. I wanted to read the book because of the mystery, so once it began I was completely invested in the story. Throw in a legend of a crazy man lurking in the woods, and I was hooked. However, my satisfaction turned to disappointment when I reached the end of the story.

In drawing the story to a close, I felt that Sarah Jude tried to do too much to wrap up her story, and it was overkill. This is supposed to be a small town, and yet many of the happenings were a bit too far-fetched for my tastes. I can’t say much without giving the story away, but sometimes less is more. However, I do like how the story ended up after the Big Reveal, and am able to appreciate what I liked about the novel earlier on. If you’re looking for a small town murder mystery, you may get a kick out of The May Queen Murders, but don’t expect to be shocked. The desire to be clever actually made the story a tad bit predictable. However, overall it was an enjoyable read.

About Sarah Jude

Sarah Jude lives by the woods and has an owl that lands on her chimney every night. She grew up believing you had to hold your breath whenever you passed a graveyard or a bridge spanning water. Now she writes about cemeteries, murder, and ghostly apparitions. She resides in Missouri with her husband, three children, and three dogs.


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