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Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite
Beautiful, Frightening, and Silent by Jennifer Anne Gordon is a Gothic horror novel in the classic sense that you must read it if you are a reader of Stephen King or Edgar Allen Poe. It centers around the main character, Adam, who tries to drown his guilt in alcohol when his wife and young son are killed in an auto accident. Feeling responsible, he tries to kill himself but is unsuccessful. These events lead him to travel to an island which he believes will grant him the opportunity to see his lost son again. One thing leads to another as the ghost story unfolds, secrets are revealed, and the chance for Adam's psychological redemption and salvation presents itself. Grief and memories twist and entwine Adam, as well as an older gentleman, and a female ghost who's haunted the house on the island for sixty years.
This is a captivating story, not necessarily for the horror or ghost aspect, but for the symbolism and psychological aspects that Gordon plays on so well--both in the minds of the characters especially Adam, and in the mind of the reader. Grief, heartache, and loss can be a psychological horror all of its own, and the author explores this both in a material and an abstract way. Adam is consumed with guilt, but is there anything he can do about it before it destroys him? Gordon explores Adam's grieving process in great detail and with poetic pathos--an artist at work. There are discussion questions at the end. Beautiful, Frightening, and Silent by Jennifer Anne Gordon will squeeze your heart, take your breath, and keep you turning pages.