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“The Children of the Hill” by Jennifer McMahon Book Review

Book: “The Children of the Hill”

Author: Jennifer McMahon

Format 338 pages, Hardcover

Published April 26, 2022 by Gallery/Scout Press

Price at Amazon

Torbalan, the Queen of Spades (in our version she hated blondes), the demon from our sleep paralysis, the balancing bill from the heating company. Monster stories are deeply embedded in people’s minds and seem to stay with us for life. But the monsters in reality, the ones made of flesh and blood, are the scariest.

The Plot

“The Children of the Hill” is, typically for the author, written in two time parallels – in the present (2019) and in the past (1978). I noticed from the beginning that this book didn’t contain the motif I was familiar with from her previous books published by Benitorial, which I considered a plus. As good as she was at setting up this type of story, I needed something different and Jennifer McMahon didn’t disappoint.

Children (Violet and Eric) being raised almost completely isolated from the rest of the world by their loving grandmother, a psychiatrist, after the death of their parents in a car accident. A grandmother with a secret notebook, a pioneer in the treatment of the mentally ill. The appearance of Iris, the strange girl with scars who doesn’t speak, throws everything into disarray.

Violet and Eric’s monster-hunting club may finally catch a real monster. The portrayal of Lizzy Shelley (from whose point of view the story is told in the present) has built up so that many details are left “in the dark” for the reader, which in turn has helped the author to introduce an even creepier mystery. Monster hunter Lizzy Shelley may have to face her own fears while trying to rescue a kidnapped girl.

My rating for the book

It’s probably been months since the plot of a book has surprised me with its twists and turns and rattled my brain as much as The Children of the Hill did. The author very skillfully pulled me into the snare of deception and with each chapter I thirsted more and more for the truth. Can monsters be good?

A genre-defying new novel, inspired by Mary Shelley’s masterpiece Frankenstein, which brilliantly explores the eerie mysteries of childhood and the evils perpetrated by the monsters among us.

1978: at her renowned treatment center in picturesque Vermont, the brilliant psychiatrist, Dr. Helen Hildreth, is acclaimed for her compassionate work with the mentally ill. But when she’s home with her cherished grandchildren, Vi and Eric, she’s just Gran—teaching them how to take care of their pets, preparing them home-cooked meals, providing them with care and attention and love.

Then one day Gran brings home a child to stay with the family. Iris—silent, hollow-eyed, skittish, and feral—does not behave like a normal girl.

Still, Violet is thrilled to have a new playmate. She and Eric invite Iris to join their Monster Club, where they catalogue all kinds of monsters and dream up ways to defeat them. Before long, Iris begins to come out of her shell. She and Vi and Eric do everything together: ride their bicycles, go to the drive-in, meet at their clubhouse in secret to hunt monsters. Because, as Vi explains, monsters are everywhere.

2019: Lizzy Shelley, the host of the popular podcast Monsters Among Us, is traveling to Vermont, where a young girl has been abducted, and a monster sighting has the town in an uproar. She’s determined to hunt it down, because Lizzy knows better than anyone that monsters are real—and one of them is her very own sister.

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