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The Rattled Bones

Review

The Rattled Bones

S.M. Parker’s THE RATTLED BONES is the history-laced paranormal novel you’ve been waiting for. Featuring vibrant settings and characters, THE RATTLED BONES is reminiscent of Rosemary Clement-Moore’s TEXAS GOTHIC and Jennifer Donnelly’s REVOLUTION, yet still an entirely unique and fascinating novel.

Rilla Brae has spent her life working on the sea trapping lobsters as part of her family’s business. She loves life in her coastal Maine town, but has always dreamed of seeing the world beyond it. When her father dies suddenly, it seems Rilla’s dreams of college must be put on hold so she can care for her grandmother.

"Weaving together history, heartbreak and the paranormal, S.M. Parker’s THE RATTLED BONES is a moving novel perfect for those who want to feel immersed in another world."

Rilla prepares herself for an intensely ordinary summer preceding an ordinary life, but it seems a nearby island might have other plans. Soon, Rilla starts seeing the apparition of a girl on Malaga Island, a constant and mysterious presence in her sleepy Maine town. The arrival of Sam, an archaeology student at the University of Southern Maine conducting excavations on Malaga, only complicates matters as Rilla learns more and more about the island’s fascinating and tragic history. It seems that Rilla’s connection to the island runs deeper than she could have anticipated, and that she’s bound to bring the past’s secrets to light, no matter what locals --- both natural and supernatural --- have to say about it.

THE RATTLED BONES is as much a supernatural mystery as a meditation on grief. Parker handles the loss of Rilla’s parents, both recent and distant, with grace and realism. Throughout the novel, readers watch as Rilla transitions from overwhelming grief to honoring her family without letting loss consume her life. This book treats grief sensitively without sacrificing plot, making it an engrossing read all around.

The plot is riveting, too, steadily moving and featuring plot twists readers won’t see coming. By incorporating actual history from the real Malaga Island, Parker paints a vivid and horrifying picture of historical atrocity while emphasizing Rilla’s connection to the past. The result is a story that sucks the reader in and that is easily devoured in one sitting.

Weaving together history, heartbreak and the paranormal, S.M. Parker’s THE RATTLED BONES is a moving novel perfect for those who want to feel immersed in another world.

Reviewed by Maggie Dow on September 20, 2018

The Rattled Bones
by S. M. Parker