BOOK TOUR REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Mary Rose by Geoffrey Girard
by Geoffrey Girard
Mary Rose Moreland and Simon Blake are the perfect couple: successful young professionals in Philadelphia, attractive, madly in love, and ready to start a life together. When they travel to England for Simon to ask her parents’ permission to marry Mary Rose, he learns an unsettling secret: Mary Rose disappeared when she was a little girl while the family was vacationing on a remote Scottish island. She reappeared mysteriously thirty-three days later in the exact same spot without a scratch on her and no memory of what had happened.
After Simon hears about this disturbing episode in Mary Rose’s childhood, he becomes obsessed with finding out what happened. He proceeds to launch his own investigation and arranges during their honeymoon for them to visit the island where she disappeared. But as Mary Rose’s behavior gets stranger after their engagement, the need for Simon to unlock the truth about her past grows even more urgent. What he uncovers is beyond his most terrifying fears.
Mary Rose is author Geoffrey Girard’s chilling and modern take on a classic ghost story originally written by J. M. Barrie. And for years, master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock attempted to adapt Mary Rose into a film but was never successful. With this novel, Girard taps into the nightmarish fears that inspired both Barrie and Hitchcock, while also bringing the story to the present day with his own unique voice.
I suppose this novel is being billed a a ghost story. I wouldn’t say that. There is some touch of the supernatural, for sure. There are definitely creepy moments that gave me the chills. But Mary Rose is not a ghost, not anything I can pinpoint.
Mary Rose is a 26 year old English woman who is about to be wed to American lawyer Simon Blake. Upon a visit to her home country, Simon is told a family secret. Though it might be his and Mary Rose’s undoing, he is determined to get to the bottom of what happened to her 20 years ago, on a foreboding and desolate island in Scotland.
I read this book very quickly, mostly because there were so many questions surrounding Mary Rose and her past. She’s a quirky woman to say the least, but everyone around her seems to love her in spite of her weird ways. For his part, Simon does seem to truly be in love with Mary Rose. He’s an attorney, someone who knows that answers are to be found if you look hard enough. And that’s what the plot of this book is, really–Simon looking for answers in Mary Rose’s past to learn more about why she is experiencing such nightmarish events in her present.
The story is told in alternating chapters from both Simon and Mary Rose’s points of view. I liked this because it shows that things are happening to both of them, things they cannot explain, but it also shows how each one reacts to the other.
This book has an overall dark and creepy tone, and it’s a great read for this time of year. I turned the pages well past midnight in my hurry to find out the truth behind Mary Rose and her island. Just as you think you have the real answers, something else happens and you’re lost again. I do think the ending left a lot of questions, in comparison to the other, logically explained events. It’s a bit ambiguous so if you don’t like stories without concrete finales, be aware of that.
About the Author
Geoffrey Girard writes thrillers, historicals, and dark speculative fiction. His first book, Tales of the Jersey Devil, thirteen original tales based on American folklore, was published by Middle Atlantic Pressin 2005, followed by Tales of the Atlantic Pirates (2006) and Tales of the Eastern Indians (2007). Simon and Schuster published two Girard novels simultaneously in 2013: CAIN’S BLOOD, a techno thriller, and PROJECT CAIN, a companion novel for teen/YA readers which was nominated for a Bram Stoker award for “Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel.”
In 2017, Carolrhoda Books published TRUTHERS, a YA novel about the 9/11 conspiracy, and Adaptive Books published MARY ROSE, a psychological thriller/ghost novel.
Girard’s short fiction has appeared in several best-selling anthologies and magazines, including Writers of the Future (a 2003 winner), Prime Codex, Aoife’s Kiss, The Willows, Murky Depths, Apex Horror & Science Fiction Digest, and the Stoker-nominated Dark Faith anthology. The debut collection of his short fiction, first communions, was published by Apex Books in May, 2016.
Born in Germany and shaped in New Jersey, Geoffrey currently lives in Ohio and is the English Department Chair at a famed private boys’ high school. Prior to teaching, he worked as an advertising copywriter, web developer and marketing manager. He has a BA in English literature from Washington College and an MA in creative writing from Miami University, where he is now working on an MFA. He has presented and led workshops on creative writing at schools, bookstores and various writers’ conventions/events.
Photo Content from Geoffrey Girard