Saturday, 13 November 2010

The Dark Divine

The Dark Divine by Bree Despain (Egmont Press)
PB RRP 19.95
ISBN 9781405254588
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

In this exquisite story of love, faith and devotion, high tension is visible from the beginning.  Written in a fast-paced style, tension is further increased throughout the prose by inference and things left unsaid and unqualified in a mesmerising way, making the reader long for the next turn of the page. It is laced with myth and mystery. The characters are outstanding and the storyline is well-crafted with lots of surprises amid stories within stories.

Gracie, Pastor Divine’s seventeen year-old daughter, has loved Daniel since she was a child growing up next door to him. The Pastor took Daniel in as a member of his family after the authorities finally stepped in to stop the brutality he was suffering at his father’s hands. This cemented Gracie’s feelings which remained unchanged with the passing of time and Daniel’s sudden and unexplained departure. Now he is back, enigmatic as always and hiding secrets about himself. The burning feelings he had for Gracie are again in play, giving him more reason to straighten out his life by getting into art school and tying up his mysterious loose ends.

But Gracie fights her feelings, for everything about Daniel indicates she shouldn’t care for him. There are sides to him that Gracie doesn’t know about and he’s not ready to share anything yet. Rumours about him abound, as do warnings about his character from her good and well-intentioned brother Jude, whose weird, festering hatred for Daniel is exhibited from the moment of the prodigal’s return.

This inexplicable reaction makes Gracie wary. He also keeps secrets from his sister, fearful, dangerous secrets that threaten to destroy the religious Divine family. Gracie discovers that the Pastor too, has secrets and the merry-go-round they are all on seems unable to stop.

The tales of a monster killing people in their area start up again when the mauled bodies of people and animals are found. Who or what is doing this? Why is Daniel under suspicion and can loving grace rid the family of the traumas they are experiencing? Who and what is the monster, and is the homeless Don whom the Pastor has supported for so long, hiding more than they know?

Twists and turns; revelations and explanations. This is a great read for the 16+ age group (or mature younger readers) that will have them stuck to their seat and hanging onto every word.

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