Monday, August 5, 2013

Between The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Tucholke

Between The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke
Release Date – August 15, 2013
Publisher Website -  Penguin
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages -  368 pages
My Rating- 4/5
**obtained for review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
You stop fearing the devil when you’re holding his hand…

Nothing much exciting rolls through Violet White’s sleepy, seaside town…until River West comes along. River rents the guesthouse behind Violet’s crumbling estate, and as eerie, grim things start to happen, Violet begins to wonder about the boy living in her backyard. Is River just a crooked-smiling liar with pretty eyes and a mysterious past? Or could he be something more? Violet’s grandmother always warned her about the Devil, but she never said he could be a dark-haired boy who takes naps in the sun, who likes coffee, who kisses you in a cemetery...who makes you want to kiss back. Violet’s already so knee-deep in love, she can’t see straight. And that’s just how River likes it.

Blending faded decadence and the thrilling dread of gothic horror, April Genevieve Tucholke weaves a dreamy, twisting contemporary romance, as gorgeously told as it is terrifying—a debut to watch.
Between The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea offers a strangely beautiful, and seductive setting, filled with deliciously dangerous characters, a fantastic main character voice, and more shivers that I expected.

The writing is slow like one of the summer days in Violet's seaside town, and just as seductive. It lures you in with it's soft, but sharp prose. It's one of the biggest allures to this novel. It's Gothic, and sensual in a way that compliments River's character perfectly. You're aware you're being lead along, but you're happy to be swept off your feet, even if it's a little dangerous. The writing gives Violet's voice life, and you can image her inflection, and tone perfectly. 

Violet's life changes when River West moves in. A shy, keeps to herself girl immediately falls for River's obvious charms. I liked that even as she was deeply in lust with him, she manged to call him on his lies and actions. She stood up for herself in ways I didn't expect, and was a heroine in her own right. She has a darkness in her that she both relishes and is scared of. 

River is, like the writing, seductive. Made all the more dangerous because he's got you before you even realize what's happening. As they say in the novel, you stop being afraid of the devil when you're holding his hand. River captivates the reader as he is winning over Violet. You want to believe his lies, even when the obvious is in front of you. He is dark, and sometimes chilling, and yet can be unbelievably swoon worthy. He materializes like a fog, and keeps his mysteries even while enticing you in.

The writing and the setting are pure Gothic inspired. The cliffside setting, the fog, and creepy elements meet a fantastic mythology that only adds to the Gothic elements. The novel provides many chills, and unsettling images. I love novels that let your imagination fill in the worst aspects, and this allows you just enough playing room to make it all the more chilling.

The mythology behind this really worked for me. I am intrigued to learn more about River's background. April Genevieve Tucholke's take on 'the devil' is unique, and leads the story open to many appealing directions. The background behind the mythology  is something I want explored, and learning how everything interconnected made the story even more fascinating. It's hard to discuss the 'devil' aspect without giving away spoilers, but it's my favourite part of the story.

In keeping with the seductive nature of the novel, it's quite sexy. The sexualized tone flows through the writing, into the characters, and creates an overall illicit feeling. It's not graphic, but like the violence, the imagination is a powerful thing. It's easy to get swept into the easy, decadent afternoons spent kissing, and curled up in the sun. It's the undercurrent of allure, and passion that is more sexy than anything overly graphic would be.

A novel that seduced, teased, and left me in awe of it's haunting writing. I can see where this may not be for everyone, but it worked for me. I can't wait to fall under River's spell again, and be delighted by what Violet does next.


  1. Great review! I really want to read this book, it just sounds so awesome:) I love a good Gothic horror book!

    Eveline's Books

  2. I want to read this! i will have to. wait till pay day.

  3. Kathy I've been wanting to read this novel just from the cover, but after reading your review…this is definitely moving right up my TBR pile. Your review is fantastic and I can only hope that the novel is just as good LOL

    My Friday Hop


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