Chapelwood by Cherie Priest
Lizzy Borden hefts her ax one more time to save the world, and a young girl, from ancient horrors. Once again, beautiful writing from Cherie Priest. Gorgeous covers, too!
Publisher’s Description: From Cherie Priest, the award-winning author of Maplecroft, comes a new tale of Lizzie Borden’s continuing war against the cosmic horrors threatening humanity…
Birmingham, Alabama is infested with malevolence. Prejudice and hatred have consumed the minds and hearts of its populace. A murderer, unimaginatively named “Harry the Hacker” by the press, has been carving up citizens with a hatchet. And from the church known as Chapelwood, an unholy gospel is being spread by a sect that worships dark gods from beyond the heavens.
This darkness calls to Lizzie Borden. It is reminiscent of an evil she had dared hoped was extinguished. The parishioners of Chapelwood plan to sacrifice a young woman to summon beings never meant to share reality with humanity. An apocalypse will follow in their wake which will scorch the earth of all life.
Unless she stops it…
Possible spoilers beyond this point.
Invested Ivana says…
“…only a fool would reject the comfort of routine for weeks of murder and monsters. And yet… there I was. Again.”
Nearly 30 years have passed since the events chronicled in Maplecroft. Lizzy’s sister, Emma, and friend, Dr. Owens, have both passed away. Her friend Nance has never been found. Lizzy still lives at Maplecroft, a spinster with her cats, feared by the town children and held in suspicion by the town adults. Until events in Birmingham, Alabama, reported in the newspapers, start feeling very familiar… and much too dark to be the work of ordinary men.
I really enjoyed seeing Lizzy in action again. I can imagine how lonely she must have been after Emma was gone and Dr. Owens lost most of his mind. Lizzy’s developing friendship with Simon was a lovely part of the story — two equals with respect for each other’s abilities and a genuine fondness for each other.
Priest’s use of language in both Maplecroft and Chapelwood is beautiful. Each character has his or her own voice, and all voices reflect the historical time. The vernacular added color but did not make the story difficult to read in any way. I highlighted so many quotable passages from the book that I could probably make one of those “Everything I Need To Know I Learned From Chapelwood” posters. I particularly loved the “curse” Lizzy laid on the neighborhood boys for abusing a poor kitten, and her observations on he power of “curses.”
There was quite a lot of commentary in this novel that is as appropriate in today’s time as it was in Birmingham, Alabama in the early 1920s. Here’s just one example:
“It’s just another arm of the Klan, is all. No business mixing God and politics, much less God, politics, and hearts full of nothing but hate and fear. I don’t want to know what kind of god thinks those fools are worshiping him, when that’s all they’ve got to offer.”
Check out a few of the advance reviews on the book’s Goodreads page.
If you like this book…
I can’t say I’ve read anything quite like the two books in the Borden Dispatches. But if you like the writing, you might check out Cherie Priest’s other works.