United By Pop received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for a honest review. All opinions are our own.
Title: The Fifth Petal
Author: Brunonia Barry
Overall rating: 3/5 stars
Great for: Mystery lovers, history buffs, fans of the paranormal, Massachusetts residents
Themes: Witchcraft, crime, mystery, history, the Salem witch trials
Review: ‘The Fifth Petal’ initially grabbed my attention because it takes place in Salem, Massachusetts. I live about 90 minutes south of Salem, and I’ve visited the town a few times (for Halloween of course). It’s a cool historical place with a pretty dark background and—especially at Halloween—an undeniably spooky vibe. I thought the location would make for a great read.
The book revolves around two mysterious murders—one that took place on Halloween night in 1989 when three women died brutal deaths while attempting some sort of ritual involving the accused witches hanged in the 1690’s, and another of a teenage boy in modern day. What do these murders have in common? A supposed “witch” named Rose who was present for both and believes her own body to be housing a killer banshee.
Apparently, this book is actually the second in a series ‘The Lace Reader’, which I didn’t realize before reading it. It wasn’t impossible to understand without reading the first book, but a little more background on the characters would’ve been helpful. With such a long book (nearly 400 pages), it’s a bit hard to keep caring about these characters throughout—there are so many of them, it seems, and they keep popping up without allowing you time to get attached to the others.
Besides that, though, the mystery absolutely does keep you hooked. The murders tied into the history of Salem and the witch trials as well as dueling upper class families and a little bit of romance—there are a lot elements (probably could’ve made three separate books, to be honest) to maintain intrigue. I also like the way the supernatural was tied in without being out of the realm of reality.