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Reviewed by Shrabastee Chakraborty for Readers' Favorite
Hailing from a family of witches, curses and hauntings were no surprise to Olivia. She was aware of the malicious force haunting her bloodline for many lifetimes. Yet, the mysterious disappearance of her son sent her reeling. To protect her loved ones from the curse, Olivia deserted her family. Several years later, the spirit still pursues her, taunting her and threatening to harm everyone she knows. With her mother lying in a coma and her sister Ellie surviving a vicious attack, Olivia realizes that her pursuer will now target her daughter. Determined to settle the score once and for all, she returns to Sage Brook. Can she fight this age-old enemy and come out victorious? Find out in Mariah Stillbrook’s novel, In the Pines.
Stillbrook penned an utterly mesmerizing tale full of magic spells and rituals, spirits and demons, and witches and their familiars. In the Pines slowly unfolded through Olivia's and Ellie’s perspectives. I loved how intense the sister duo was, despite Olivia being more mature and Ellie somewhat highly strung. Their anguish, insecurities, and grievances were so palpable that I could not help empathizing with them. I loved how Stillbrook introduced us to the dark forces from the beginning. A sinister vibe pervaded the storyline and kept me apprehensive, reaching a crescendo at the final parts. As scenes from past lives merged with the present and an ancient feud was revealed, the otherworldly elements of the novel came to light. I loved how Mariah Stillbrook showed that more than the outside forces, our inner darkness can gradually fester and consume us. This dark yet magical novel is the perfect read for the fall and winter seasons.