I find it rare that a new author with a splendid debut novel (The Vanishing of Katharina Linden in earlier posts) follows with as excellent a second. Helen Grant has done it. She takes us back to a secluded place in modern Germany whose isolation has preserved much of the atmosphere and culture of its mythic past.
British teen, Lin, is uprooted by her egomaniacal, academic father when he drags the whole family to rural Germany to track some antique stained glass panels. Finding a dead body in an orchard on their way to the house they’ve rented doesn’t make for a cheerful start, but things deteriorate from there. Grant blends the eerie, Grimm-esque aura of the dark woods of Germany and local characters with insular, ancient superstitions in a tale told by a teen but not meant for children.