Title: The Thirteen
Author: Susie Moloney
336 pages, Published by William Morrow Paperbacks
Release Date: 3/27/12
Buy The Book: Amazon
Haven Woods is suburban heaven, a great place to raise a family. It’s close to the city, quiet, with great schools and its own hospital right up the road. Property values are climbing, and the crime rate is practically nonexistent.
Paula Wittmore hasn’t been back to Haven Woods since she left as a disgraced teenager. Now she’s returning to care for her suddenly ailing mother, and she’s bringing her daughter and a pile of emotional baggage. She’s also bringing, unknowingly, the last chance for her mother’s closest frenemies . . . twelve women bound together by a powerful secret that requires the sacrifice of a thirteenth. (Summary provided by William Morrow Paperbacks.)
When I saw The Thirteen by Susie Maloney compared to The Stepford Wives and Rosemary’s Baby both by Ira Levin, I was intrigued. I was also quite happy to discover that The Thirteen definitely lives up to the comparison!
Paula Wittmore comes back to her childhood neighborhood Haven Woods because her mother has fallen mysteriously ill. Upon arriving, she quickly notices that something is not quite right with the women living in her old stomping grounds. What Paula doesn’t realize (but readers discover early on) is that the odd women she finds herself becoming involved with are all witches. And here’s the kicker: they want to recruit her! Susie Moloney does a great job injecting hilarious Desperate Housewives style humor into the horror genre. Izzy, the ringleader of the witch coven reminds me of an older version of Bree Van De Kamp from Desperate Housewives. Izzy has some great one liners throughout the book that she says at the most hilarious inappropriate times!
In the midst of the humor that permeates the novel Moloney has created a solid narrative that quietly explores serious issues such as grief and mother/daughter relationships. At times the author used creative line breaks in the prose and inserted italicized lines of poetic verse. It was a risk, and it absolutely worked. The poetic verse sprinkled minimally throughout the book gave the story a haunting feel that will be sure to draw readers into the story even further. The Thirteen by Susie Maloney is the perfect book to read on a lazy Spring afternoon.
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