Genre: Gothic, Mystery, YA
Publication date: April 9th 2019
by Katherine Tegen Books
Ivy Bloodgood’s mother is dead, and she should probably be sad about it. But she isn’t. Myra Bloodgood was confusing mix of protective and abusive, a manipulative personality who never told the truth—about where she came from, who Ivy’s father was, or why they were living their lives on the run.
Now that Ivy has been sent to Darkhaven, an island off the New England coast, to live with a rich uncle she didn’t know existed, she is forced to reckon with her mother’s past. Ivy can tell right away there are long-held family secrets buried within these walls, but when she wakes up from one of her nightmares covered in someone else’s blood, Ivy fears that whatever demons her mother battled while she was alive have come to roost in her own mind. Scared that she can no longer trust what she sees, Ivy seeks the help of a boy who thinks her episodes are connected to the sordid history of Darkhaven—but what they don’t know might kill them both.
A moody and twisty gothic mystery with an impossible romance, Dreaming Darkly is an atmospheric, fast-paced page-turner written by comics veteran Caitlin Kittredge.
-A copy was provided by Katherine Tegen Books for review-
Gothic mystery novels are a favorite of mine, and Dreaming Darkly is an eerie novel that, albeit a bit predictable and dramatic at times, was an exciting read overall.
After the death of Ivy’s mother, she’s sent back to her family’s old manor on a private island off the coast of Maine. When she gets there, she finds that not everything and everyone is at it seems, and strange dreams start feeling a bit too real. I found this story really intriguing from the very first page. Ivy’s life with her mom, her mom’s mysterious past, her family’s history are all really interesting. I found myself flying to the pages to find out every detail I could about this ominous family tree. This mystery aspect is done really well, with a good combination of twists and turns that are scattered throughout.
The atmosphere in the book is fantastic as well. The imagery of this secluded island full of secrets and lies and murders is vivid and hair-raising. It makes the story all the more intense as you know these characters are isolated from the real world. Left on their own with family members who are essentially strangers. Strangers that she keeps being warned about…
So why did I not rate this 4 stars? While I enjoyed the moody, dark vibe in this book, I found the story itself to be quite predictable. While I never figured out all the details, I had a good idea from pretty early on what was happening to Ivy – why she was having these hallucinations and lucid dreams. I kept wanting to scream at her for being so trusting, especially after living the life she lived with her mother – she should have known better. I also found her outbursts to be a bit melodramatic. She’s portrayed as a hard-ass, tough-skinned scam artist who lived a rough crime-filled life, yet she reacts like a 6 year old when someone calls her names.
All in all, Dreaming Darkly is dark and cryptic, with a terrible family secret that will leave you turning the pages.