Summary from GoodReads:
New York Times Bestselling Author Susan Elizabeth Phillips is back with a delightful novel filled with her sassy wit, dazzling charm, and a threat of danger—a modern Jane Eyre
It’s going to be a long, hot winter.
He is a reclusive writer whose imagination creates chilling horror novels. She is a down-on-her-luck actress who’s given up far too much. He knows a dozen ways to kill his characters with his bare hands. She knows a dozen ways to kill an audience with laughs. But she’s not laughing now.
Annie Hewitt has been forced to return to an isolated island off the coast of Maine, a place she hasn’t visited since a disastrous summer when she was a teen. She couldn’t be more ill prepared for what she finds on the island—or for Theo Harp, the mysterious man who dwells in Harp House, the mansion hovering above her home in Moonraker Cottage.
When she was a teenager, Theo betrayed her in a way she can never forget or forgive. Now they’re trapped together on a frozen island along with a lonely widow, a mute little girl, and townspeople who don’t know how to mind their own business.
Is he the villain she remembers, or has he changed? Her head says no. Her heart says yes. The wrong decision could cost her everything.
I immediately sympathized with Annie Hewitt. She’s tried so hard to be an actress and it never really worked out. She’s spent most of her adult life doing ventriloquy jobs, something she is actually really good at. But her heart has always been set on acting, so that doesn’t soothe the ache much. When she returns to the island cottage because she literally has nowhere else to go after her mother’s death, I was so in touch with being in that position in life. I loved how she was a little deranged. She’s been doing the ventriloquy gigs so long that her puppets are almost real. She hears them in her head ALL THE TIME. It created an instant comedy aspect to the novel that I thoroughly enjoyed. Then she starts “haunting” Theo’s house and my love skyrocketed. She’s torturing this guy that betrayed her in her teen years. It’s fucking hilarious.
Theo…well, I can’t say much about Theo because much of his plot is spoiler-y. I wills say that I liked his character, both before and after his story arc reveal. He’s smart and a slightly deranged writer. What’s not for a bookish girl to love?
What I really loved here was the comedy. The puppets, Annie’s shenanigans, and the back and forth between Annie and Theo kept me smiling throughout the entire book. The puppets are so connected to Annie that I’m surprised she never made her revelation about her profession sooner in her life.
I have to admit I didn’t see the twist coming. I had something much crazier playing out in my head. The real bad guy was not at all who I was expecting. I think even if I knew the crazy plot I was expecting was not right, I never would have expected it to go where it did.
Really, this novel was one of my favorite plot types. I hate you until I love you. Bonus with an past drama that ended badly action. It was funny and smart and completely entrancing. I’ve never read anything by Susan Elizabeth Phillips before, but I’ll be adding her stuff to my reading list now!
I loved Erin’s narration! This is a book that requires multiple voices just for the main character, much less the secondary characters in the story. Erin was spot-on for all the roles. She was perfect. She differentiated voice and had great pace. I will definitely be listening to more of her work. She could easily become a favorite narrator for me.