Reading roundup 16/06/21

This will be a short post today as I am not feeling very well and I only have one book to write about. 

Pine by Francine Toon

My book of the week was Pine by Francine Toon. Here is the blurb:

They are driving home from the search party when they see her. The trees are coarse and tall in the winter light, standing like men.

Lauren and her father Niall live alone in the Highlands, in a small village surrounded by pine forest. When a woman stumbles out onto the road one Halloween night, Niall drives her back to their house in his pickup. In the morning, she’s gone.

In a community where daughters rebel, men quietly rage, and drinking is a means of forgetting, mysteries like these are not out of the ordinary. The trapper found hanging with the dead animals for two weeks. Locked doors and stone circles. The disappearance of Lauren’s mother a decade ago.

Lauren looks for answers in her tarot cards, hoping she might one day be able to read her father’s turbulent mind. Neighbours know more than they let on, but when local teenager Ann-Marie goes missing it’s no longer clear who she can trust.

In the shadow of the Highland forest, Francine Toon captures the wildness of rural childhood and the intensity of small-town claustrophobia. In a place that can feel like the edge of the word, she unites the chill of the modern gothic with the pulse of a thriller. It is the perfect novel for our haunted times.”

I chose this book entirely at random from our public library’s ebook system, so I had no preconceptions at all. This is the review that I wrote on the Goodreads site:

PinePine by Francine Toon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am not sure what to make of this book or how to write a review! It appears that there are very mixed reactions to it on Goodreads also.

So, what did I like about it? The atmosphere and setting were very well written. There was a real disturbing creepiness, alongside beautiful descriptions of nature and the changing seasons. Many of the characters were also very well depicted – particularly Lauren and her father. The situation that the two of them were in was also very sad and haunting.

True, the pace was somewhat slow with most of the “action” crammed into the last few pages. But at least there was a clear and satisfying ending.

This was completely different to my usual style of book. Usually I like fast-paced plots with vivid characters and plenty of action: the kind of books that really stay in my mind for a long time. Pine wasn’t at all like that, but will, for different reasons, remain with me for a considerable time.

View all my reviews

After this book, I chose The Other People by C J Tudor. As I have only just read the first few pages, my response will appear in next week’s Reading Roundup post.

The Other People by C J Tudor

I do hope that you are all reading great books at the moment!

Love and best wishes,



About The Librain

Retired School Librarian
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