Tess and Tobias Goodraven are a wealthy, seventeen-year-old married couple living in Mass. during 1892. Both of them lost their parents in a theatre fire when they were young, which led them to become intrigued by the phantom world, and each other. Their morbid fascination with the occult helps Tobias stumble upon an old legend about the 1662 Salem Witch Trials and the "First Accused," who was a real witch and purely evil. Unable to resist, Tobias convinces Tess to take a train to Blackthorne to see if the legend is true, and what they find is spirits who refuse to let go, and a witch bent on making sure there are no survivors.
The basic premise of this book was great. In fact, another reviewer sums it up when she says, "Excellent idea, terrible execution." First of all, this book is slotted for 6th-9th grades. The fact that the protagonists were married made the story unrelatable. I know why the author did it - it ties into the ending/climax - but it creates a disconnect from the first page. In addition, there is no plot development, just action. Every time someone would die, I would think "Who was that?" and I would read on because I really didn't care to go back 50 pages to figure it out.
Overall, this book rambles in a lot of places, then has scary scene after scary scene. The legend is alluded to, but the reader never gets the real story of the murdered lovers or how Widow Malgore (the evil witch) became evil. I would have LOVED to read flashbacks of their lives so that the ending was more powerful.
Shallow writing, at best. flag