Today I’m reviewing The House in the Pines by Ana Reyes!
Title: The House in the Pines
Author: Ana Reyes
Age Category: Adult
Publication Date: January 3, 2023
Number of Pages: 336
Buy the Book: Amazon
Armed with only hazy memories, a woman who long ago witnessed her friend’s sudden, mysterious death, and has since spent her life trying to forget, sets out to track down answers. What she uncovers, deep in the woods, is hardly to be believed….
Maya was a high school senior when her best friend, Aubrey, mysteriously dropped dead in front of the enigmatic man named Frank whom they’d been spending time with all summer.
Seven years later, Maya lives in Boston with a loving boyfriend and is kicking the secret addiction that has allowed her to cope with what happened years ago, the gaps in her memories, and the lost time that she can’t account for. But her past comes rushing back when she comes across a recent YouTube video in which a young woman suddenly keels over and dies in a diner while sitting across from none other than Frank. Plunged into the trauma that has defined her life, Maya heads to her Berkshires hometown to relive that fateful summer–the influence Frank once had on her and the obsessive jealousy that nearly destroyed her friendship with Aubrey.
At her mother’s house, she excavates fragments of her past and notices hidden messages in her deceased Guatemalan father’s book that didn’t stand out to her earlier. To save herself, she must understand a story written before she was born, but time keeps running out, and soon, all roads are leading back to Frank’s cabin….
Utterly unique and captivating, The House in the Pines keeps you guessing about whether we can never fully confront the past and return home.
This was the February book of the month for one of the book clubs I’m in. It was a bit outside of my comfort zone, but I’m glad I gave it a try because I appreciate that book clubs can give readers the opportunity to try something new.
While I’m a big fan of mysteries, I find that I tend to struggle with thrillers, which might explain why I didn’t love this book. I thought that it started off slow and that the story kept going around in a circle. Part of this was because the story was constantly flipping between the past and the present, but it felt repetitive at times.
I liked that this book explored memory and how it can be unreliable. While I found the circular story to be frustrating at times, I did appreciate that part of the reason for it was because the main character’s memory was slowly putting pieces of the puzzle back together.
As far as the mystery goes, I found it to be anti-climatic. Usually I enjoy following the twists and turns and trying to piece everything together, but I found this book to be lacking twists and turns. There were a few moments that left me wanting to keep reading, but ultimately I wasn’t drawn into the story.
This book had a few subplots that I enjoyed. I enjoyed the subplot about the main character’s father and the story he wrote. I also liked that this book addressed trauma and addiction.
Overall, this was a decent book club pick because it led to discussion, but I wasn’t thrilled by this thriller.