October 6, 2022
Book Review


reviewed by Fiona Cook

Welcome to Lute –a small and tranquil island off the British coast. There’s something a bit special about this place; the weather is warm and sunny, more often than not, and the small village war memorial has yet to need a name carved into it. The residents even observe the solstice every year; but this year, like every seventh, is special. They call it The Day.

Nina Treadway, or Lady Treadway to the locals, married Lute’s Lord Treadway and moved to the island from America. She’s heard about The Day, of course – Lute’s a small island and locals have been ever so friendly and welcoming. But as it draws closer, she starts to realise this quaint superstition is treated with complete belief by the villagers she’s come to know; and she’ll soon have a chance to make up her own mind.

Described as Wicker Man meets Final Destination, I’m pleased to report that the blurb is accurate; though I think I saw a dash of the Swedish horror Midsommar in there too. Lute was a captivating read, taking place in a near future beset with water wars, providing the turbulent background this small island provides a peaceful refuge from. It’s the perfect setting for the folk horror author Jennifer Thorne quickly adds to the seemingly-idyllic location, allowing a current of unease to undercut every sunny moment.

It’s a masterfully paced book all round, actually. Nina is a protagonist that makes a great point of view for the readers; she’s intelligent, and capable, making connections and uncovering truth at a speed that kept me engaged and felt believable. There’s no denying obvious facts to drag events out, but there’s also no sense that anything was cut short to get to the action too soon. Lute was an excellent book, one I enjoyed greatly and would recommend to anyone looking to be thoroughly unsettled this Halloween season.

Lute available at:

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