From Publishers Weekly
The classic Southern gothic gets an edgy modern makeover in Priest's debut novel about a young woman's investigation into the truth of her origins. What Eden Moore digs up in the roots of her diseased family tree takes her across the South, from the ruins of the Pine Breeze sanitarium in Tennessee to a corpse-filled swamp in Florida, and back in time to the Civil War, when the taint in her family bloodline sets in motion events building only now to a supernatural crescendo. Priest adds little new to the gothic canon, but makes neo-goth chick Eden spunky enough to deal with a variety of cliché menaces—a scheming family matriarch, a brooding Poe-esque mansion and a genealogy greatly confused with inbreeding—that would have sent the genre's traditional wilting violets into hysterics. Eden is a heroine for the aging Buffy crowd, and her adventures will play best to postadolescent horror fans.
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In this new edition of a novel that was 100 pages shorter in its original, regional-publisher printing in 2003, Priest sinks deep into the tale of a Tennessee orphan who draws upon grit worthy of Scarlett O'Hara to extract an evil canker from her Spanish moss-hung family tree. Visitations by spirits spur Eden, who has grown up seeing ghosts, to pursue dangerous genealogical research. Also fueling her investigations are attempts on her life by a maniacal cousin, whose plots have the blessing of a crusty old matriarch resentful of Eden's slave--descended branch of the family. This southern-gothic closet is fairly overflowing with skeletons, from a polygamist wife murderer to a coven of voodoo priests. It all screeches to a somewhat unsatisfying halt after a cinematic climax, but there's mystical, sultry appeal in the thick Chattanooga atmosphere and strong characterizations (Eden's tongue is as sharp as the heels of her signature black boots), and a mixed-race heroine lends welcome diversity to a genre well populated with porcelain-complected heroines. Jennifer MattsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved