For those who want a moody, atmospheric historical mystery with a dash of romance and spooky ghost story, THE REVENANT is a savory dish!
Author: Sonia Gensler
genre: Teen Fiction/Historical/Ghosts
When Willie arrives in Indian Territory, she knows only one thing: no one can find out who she really is. To escape a home she doesn't belong in anymore, she assumes the name of a former classmate and accepts a teaching job at the Cherokee Female Seminary.Nothing prepares her for what she finds there. Her pupils are the daughters of the Cherokee elite—educated and more wealthy than she, and the school is cloaked in mystery. A student drowned in the river last year, and the girls whisper that she was killed by a jealous lover. Willie's room is the very room the dead girl slept in. The students say her spirit haunts it.Willie doesn't believe in ghosts, but when strange things start happening at the school, she isn't sure anymore. She's also not sure what to make of a boy from the nearby boys' school who has taken an interest in her—his past is cloaked in secrets. Soon, even she has to admit that the revenant may be trying to tell her something.
THE REVENANT is like that great meal you make with a little of all the great stuff in your kitchen. Gensler blends a bit of history, mystery, culture, romance and paranormal into a delicious mix.
I always enjoy fish-out-of-water scenarios and the the main character taking on a new identity was an added bonus. Willie is flawed and isn't the kick-butt heroine I usually favor, however her strength comes from within and she shows courage in unraveling clues to the mystery, creating a new life, maturing and fixing her mistakes.
The lush setting and culture provides a fresh take from the usual YA fare, and while the romance plays a small role - I would've preferred more - it adds a sweet spice. And it's appropriate for all ages since in that era a lustful glance was considered pushing the sexual envelope!
The ghost aspect ratcheted up the creepy without being overly scary. And important issues like racism and socio-economic snobbery are addressed.
The pacing slows at times but the prose is always lovely and I was thoroughly invested in the multi-faceted characters and how they were all cleverly weaved into the mystery. And - Glory Be! - the ending is thoroughly satisfying.
|You won't need Stallone to save you from a cliffhanger!|