Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Raving About Mr. Splitfoot

Who doesn't love a dark, creepy, gothicky book about orphans in group homes speaking to the dead, mysterious strangers, arduous journeys, and homicidal maniacs? I usually do, but this book did not "stick" with me the first time I tried it. However, I picked up Mr. Splitfoot, by Samantha Hunt, a couple of days after Christmas, and I devoured it almost completely in one sitting. If I hadn't had to sleep, me and this book would've been one-sitting wonders.

Ruth and Nat live together in a religious zealot's group home and cleave to each other like siblings. They perform for the other kids by pretending to talk to the dead, and when the mysterious Mr. Bell comes along, as if conjured from the air, they take their show on the road to get away from their guardian and make enough cash to live independently.

Simultaneously, we follow the story of Ruth as an adult. She shows up one day, mute, but with purpose, and leads her niece, Cora, on a trek through upstate New York toward some nebulous end. Cora, pregnant and confused, running from her own demons, takes the leap of faith to trust her aunt and turn herself over to something bigger.

I am notoriously grumpy when it comes to dual storylines, but these were so artfully woven together, and linked by such sympathetic characters, I was absolutely on the edge of my seat anticipating what would become of Ruth, Nat, Mr. Bell, and Cora. As the shards of the story began to meet over the dual timelines, it was absolutely addictive.

There were so many elements of this book that were right up my alley. The premise just screams, 'PICK ME UP!" I love a supernatural twist, but Catherine from The Gilmore Guide to Books hit on something I found unexpectedly appealing when she asked me on Twitter...
The promise of something supernatural hovers over this book from the beginning, but Hunt was deft at making me guess, second-guess, and flat out beg for the answer to that question. Is there any truth to Ruth and Nat's abilities? Is Mr. Bell an angel or a demon? Are any of those delineations so clear cut? I'm sure not gonna tell you, but I have to say, I found the book to have a satisfying outcome.

Since I've mentioned this book on social media a few times, bloggers have come out of the woodwork to heap praise on Samantha Hunt's earlier work, and I can promise you I will lay hands on every single one of them sometime in the future between #ReadMyOwnDamn books. Maybe those other books will be good treats...a carrot to dangle for myself.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (January 5, 2015)
ISBN: 0544526708
Source: I received this book from the publisher in consideration of a review. 


42 comments:

  1. I've shied away from this one b/c of my aversion to magical realism, but am hearing so much buzz about it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It really is unclear whether there's anything magical going on over the course of the book, and it's not revealed until the end what the answer to that is. So if you like books like Sarah Waters' Affinity, this might be something you'd enjoy.

      Delete
  2. I'm just not sure this is for me but if I do decide to read it, I think I'll have to hide the cover.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL, I was lucky to have a digital copy! It's not flat out scary, but it does raise some hairs from time to time!

      Delete
  3. This does look intriguing! Sticking it on my TBR list right now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you love it as much as I did if you get around to it!

      Delete
  4. I made it five days into 2016 before adding to my TBR...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This one is SO deserving of a spot! I rarely get this excited about a book.

      Delete
  5. Replies
    1. Wheeee! Giving myself a pat on the back!

      Delete
  6. It has been a while since I read a creepy book--I may have to give this one a try!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Definitely do! It's atmospheric but not full-on super creep. Ya know? :)

      Delete
  7. I, too, think this book just screams The Library at Mount Char at first blush, but I'm excited to give it a run on its own merits! It just sounds too great not to.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahah, definitely not as intense as Mount Char. Less in your face. More nuanced. Just...perfect. Ugh, love.

      Delete
    2. I didn't really like Mount Char, and really enjoyed Splitfoot. I think the writing is WAY better, and the story comes together in such a great way. Mount Char seemed too all over the place for me, and this was WAY more my speed.

      Delete
  8. Ooh, I'm also iffy about dual story lines but you've convinced me that I'll need to check this one out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad! I think it's totally worth it!

      Delete
  9. You've sold me! Off to hope the library has ordered it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. All my fingers and toes crossed!

      Delete
  10. Andi, my library only ordered one copy of this one but I'm #2 on the list! WOO HOO! I was sold, based on your previous comments; I can't wait to look back on this review afterward and add more to the discussion!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. YAYYY! Good job sliding in there early! Can't wait to talk with you about it!

      Delete
  11. I'm actually a fan of dual storylines if they come together perfectly in the end. This one is on my priority to read list (reward after reading what I already own), and I love a little or a lot of paranormal/supernatural/magic, even if only alluded.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do enjoy them when they're really well done, but so often I find that I am totally invested in one story and not so much in the other. This is especially the case when I'm reading a book with one historical thread and one contemporary. I alllllways care more about the historical aspects. lol

      Delete
  12. I'd never heard of this before you started raving about it! I love dual storylines while also recognizing that they are one of the most tempting, yet most perilous, things an author can attempt. There are more successes than failures, but I think it just makes me more excited when I DO encounter one of the successes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I HOPE YOU LOVE THIS! I think you really would. REALLY really!

      Delete
  13. Oh, Andi. You're really not helping me with my decision to read only from my stacks, at least for the first month of this New Year! Maybe if I just sneak a read from a copy at work on my lunch hour, it won't count. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahahah! I had a crop of review books I committed to (in my head) before 2016, so I'm getting those out of the way. I think I read more from my stacks at the end of December than I have here at the beginning of January. Womp!

      Delete
  14. OMG This book sounds so good! I must read it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. YAAAAAS! I hope you love the heck out of it.

      Delete
  15. This one does sound like a doozie! I've been enjoying your enthusiasm in reading your own books. So far I've only read one of my own but I'm not letting it bother me. I went with a couple of my girls to the library right before Christmas and ended up checking out a huge pile of books. (Why? I have TONS at home I'm dying to read! Who is this person? I never go to the library!) We'll just call it holiday insanity. Anyway, most of them I'd been really looking forward to reading, so I've just hung on to them. I may make it through half of them, or I may only read a couple more - haven't decided. But, it's still a victory because I didn't BUY them. ;) February is the new January at my house...and I WILL #readmyowndamnbooks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL, library is the best kind of insanity. We went a week or so ago to let Greyson check out some books to re-invigorate his interest in reading since school is back in session. I took a stroll through the new book shelves to see what they had since I have a generally bad attitude about my library's limited holdings. It wasn't toooo bad. And my husband has a library card, so I can always pilfer their online collection if I need to stray from my shelves for a bit. We do what we can!

      Delete
  16. I read Hunt's Tesla book a couple years back and mostly liked it so I should give this a try too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cool! I definitely want to try more of her work. The Tesla probably wouldn't have blown my skirt up in premise if I hadn't read this one first.

      Delete
  17. I skipped this because I don't do scary. But I don't mind Gothic or creepy, so this might work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Definitely more creepy in spots than scary. It's just such a wonderful book.

      Delete
  18. I cannot WAIT to read it! Such a good review from a trusted reading twinner. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. YAY! I think you'll dig it!

      Delete
  19. Interesting how it didn't grab you the first time but it was totally riveting the second try. Hmmm. I've not even heard of it before.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Definitely going on my TBR list. Sounds like a great storyline and I still think that cover is great. Very eye catching.

    ReplyDelete
  21. On the TBR this one goes! I see Rory also liked it!

    ReplyDelete
  22. I'm not sure I'm excited about the creepy, gothic nature of this book, but I love magical realism and dual storylines, so I'll think about this one :)

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for taking the time to comment! Blogger has been a beast lately, so I hope you do not have any troubles leaving your thoughts.

 
Images by Freepik