cover image Reviving the Hawthorn Sisters

Reviving the Hawthorn Sisters

Emily Carpenter. Lake Union, $14.95 trade paper (360p) ISBN 978-1-54201-619-3

Carpenter serves up a diverting supernatural mystery in this loose companion to Burying the Honeysuckle Girls. Eve Candler, 24, works for a foundation started by her late faith healer grandmother, Dove Jarrod, in California, to promote Dove and her husband’s work. Eve, who suffered an intrauterine stroke before her birth and consequently has an underdeveloped arm, sought healing from Dove as a child only to have Dove tearfully admit her whole operation was a fraud. In the wake of Dove’s sudden death, Eve—who’s making a documentary film about her grandparents as part of the foundation’s fund-raising initiative—is threatened by a mysterious man who claims Dove confessed to committing an unsolved murder in her youth. The man threatens to make public Dove’s crime unless Eve finds a lost coin belonging to the murder victim. As Eve and her film crew’s production takes them to Florence, Ala., where Dove grew up, her present-day treasure hunt alternates with a chronicle of Dove’s adolescence in the 1930s. The urgency of Eve’s quest adds to the suspense of both narratives, each effectively blending quirky and grotesque characters with darker overtones. Throughout, both Eve and Dove confront the limits of their faith, as their innate pragmatism clashes with the possibility of miracles. Though far-fetched, Carpenter’s refreshingly modern gothic tale offers great fun. (Oct.)