Monday, April 05, 2021

Review: The Vines by Shelley Nolden


Title: The Vines
Author: Shelley Nolden
Series: The Vines, #1
Published: March 2021, Freiling Publishing
Format: ARC E-copy, 391 pages
Source: Netgalley

In the shadows of New York City lies forbidden North Brother Island, where the remains of a shuttered hospital hide the haunting memories of century-old quarantines and human experiments. The ruins conceal the scarred and beautiful Cora, imprisoned by contagions and the doctors who torment her. When Finn, a young urban explorer, arrives on the island and glimpses an enigmatic beauty through the foliage, intrigue turns to obsession as he seeks to uncover her past—and his own family’s dark secrets. By unraveling these mysteries, will he be able to save Cora? Will Cora meet the same tragic ending as the thousands who’ve already perished on the island?

The Vines intertwines North Brother Island’s horrific and elusive history with a captivating tale of love, betrayal, survival, and loss.


My thoughts: As soon as I heard about this book, I knew I had to read it...and I'm so glad I did. It was such a twisted, creepy book and I loved every minute of it.

This book was such a fun mash-up of historical-fiction, mystery and a little sci-fi thrown in. I love books set in NYC and when you add in old abandoned buildings, especially ones that were used as asylums or hospitals, I'm definitely all in. I had never heard of North Brother Island, so of course I went down the rabbit hole of research both during and after reading this and I was so utterly fascinated by all that happened on this island and I feel that the author really did such an amazing job bringing the island to life in her story.

Reading this book while at experiencing our own pandemic was quite interesting and I'm so thankful that for those that did get sick they weren't banished to isolated islands, as the characters in this book were, but rather just told to isolate at home or worst case, sent to hospitals. It clearly makes you thankful that medicine has come so far.

I loved the dual timelines and how they eventually met up, thanks to the clever use of sci-fi. Again, I say I don't like a true sci-fi book but when it's used in a genre-bending story like here it works for me. The twists and turns this book takes really kept me glued to the pages and I even appreciated the mention of Typhoid Mary!

This book was meticulously researched and so well-written. A book about secrets and survival, resilience and strength, this is an engaging, thought-provoking read and I am quite eager for the sequel! Definitely pick this one up and be sure to check out the history and photographs of Brother Island online. It will definitely enhance your reading experience.



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