Full of mystery and allure, Gordon’s first in The Hotel series showcases her talent for drawing readers into characters’ internal struggles.
The seemingly content life of the lovely Isabelle quickly turns into a hefty weight as she struggles with grief after the unexpected death of her new-born son Oscar. Unable to deal with her persistent restlessness and sorrow, her husband and his mother decides to send her away to a summer hotel situated on Dagger Island, a desolate island off the coast of Maine. Isabelle meets the enigmatic priest Frances there, and together they teeter on the edges of reality, trying desperately to become free from their fates. But breaking the ties that bound them to their past is not easy. Gordon proves herself an astute observer of a social era, especially in her portrayal of the gender disparity and prejudices of the American Victorian age. Gordon’s impeccable writing, mesmerizing prose, and pitch-perfect pacing bring an immediacy to her protagonists’ struggles with their personal traumas. She adds tantalizing scares throughout, and her worldbuilding is electric as she transforms a familiar gothic setup into a twisty roller coaster heavy on foreboding.
The deep and sensitive characterization of the two protagonists, coupled with rich description and a haunting love story, make this a novel to remember.