Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Book 45 of 2010: When Darkness Loves Us by Elizabeth Engstrom
When Darkness Loves Us consists of two novellas by Elizabeth Engstrom, the first being the same title as the book itself and the other called Beauty Is, which is actually the longer of the two stories.
The first novella, When Darkness Loves Us, tells the story of farm girl Sally Ann Hixson, who is recently married. While roaming the farm, she accidentally falls down into an underground area that had been sealed off. Sally Ann is trapped underground, her whereabouts unknown. As she adjusts to the darkness of the tunnels and creates a new way to live, Sally Ann realizes she is pregnant with child. How will she ever be able to survive down in the darkness, much less give birth to and raise a child there?
Beauty Is tells the story of Martha Mannes, and how she is coping with her life since the death of both of her parents. Martha isn't your typical girl, as she was born with a deformity- she has no nose- and everyone in town treats her as if she is retarded. The story has flashbacks to Martha's birth and childhood, and even her parents' life prior to her birth As the story continues, Martha finds the kindness in a few townsfolk and in doing so, gains more confidence in herself. The story starts to unravel a bit at this point, as Martha starts remembering more and more about her past and how it relates to her present.
When Darkness Loves Us and Beauty Is are both vivid in detail and beautifully written. I find myself at a loss in determining which story I actually enjoyed more as they were both so entertaining. Engstrom has a way of making readers really get to know the characters, and it almost puts you into the story as one of the extras. Wanting to know what was going to happen to the main heroine of each story made me feel compelled to turn page after page until I knew how things were to end. Strong in both characterization and dialogue, When Darkness Loves Us is a fabulous two-story collection that shouldn't be missed by any reader. It is a book that not only horror fans will enjoy, but readers from other genres as well, if they were to give it a chance. Definitely a great addition to any library collection out there!
Contains: Adult Language, Adult Situations, Sex, Violence
Review also available at MonsterLibrarian.com