The Madwoman of Preacher's Cove

Fiction - Fantasy - General
319 Pages
Reviewed on 05/07/2020
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Ruffina Oserio for Readers' Favorite

The Madwoman of Preacher's Cove by Joy Ross Davis is a captivating story set against the backdrop of a small town in Alabama called Preacher’s Cove. People have been dying in this small town recently — and it’s not the kind of place where news like death can be easily ignored. No one knows the cause of these deaths except the owner of a large hotel and restaurant, Libby Arbuckle. While being a caregiver for her twin sister, Crazy Lucy Addams, Libby has dark secrets related to the deaths in her town. But things are about to change when Hap Murray, a reporter, comes to Preacher’s Cove, investigating the deaths. Will Libby be forthcoming with the whole truth or will she protect the monster who uses the lift and makes dolls? What have Lucy and Ike Madison got to do with the tragedy in this town?

This is a tightly knit story about the tragic history of a place, a story that features compelling characters faced with a difficult conundrum. Hap is a character I enjoyed and his role in the story is relevant and indispensable. There were moments when I couldn’t help feeling something could happen to him at any moment. Joy Ross Davis melds together elements of different genres — mystery, fantasy, and crime — into this spellbinding story. The plot is skillfully done and executed in a way that compels readers to keep on turning the pages. For instance, each chapter ends with something intriguing or a strong question that arouses the reader’s curiosity and need for answers, making it almost impossible to put down the book. I enjoyed the great writing, the excellent narrative and the exciting conversations. The Madwoman of Preacher's Cove is gripping and utterly satisfying.

Melinda Hills

People are dying violently in severe storms, but that is only part of the mystery in The Madwoman of Preacher’s Cove by Joy Ross Davis. Michael ‘Hap’ Murray is a television reporter in Huntsville, Alabama, and is hungry for his big break. When one story falls through, his boss sends him to a rural town where many people have died from severe lightning strikes called "the greenflash." There are other mysteries as well and Hap and his news team arrive in the town, almost getting killed in the process. Once in Preacher’s Cove, Hap sets to work trying to sort out how the mysterious deaths are related – are they in fact accidents or is there something more sinister going on? The beautiful and friendly owner of Cove’s End, a large hotel and restaurant complex, is another mystery to Hap. With Libby’s help, Hap meets more people who can shed light on events that began at the dawn of time and continue in Alabama because of family tradition. Will the local pastor wipe out the ancient practices that still take place in Preacher’s Cove or are his motives so impure that God forsakes him?

Joy Ross Davis has created a deep, complex story spanning many centuries and involving the most basic of human motivations in The Madwoman of Preacher’s Cove. With characters that are truly believable and action that doesn’t stop, you are drawn into this amazing tale of love, devotion, greed and the desire for complete control. Clever twists and turns keep Hap searching for the truth, and you keep on cheering and crying along with him as events unfold. Great story, characters, dialogue, plot and pace. I really like the inclusion of the historical aspects of the Druid religion and practices and their connection to the present. The 'homecoming' of Hap and the surprise of finding his daughter are also intriguing features. The Madwoman of Preacher’s Cove is exciting, interesting and well worth reading. Joy Ross Davis is certainly an author to keep in mind.

Jane Finch

The Madwoman of Preacher’s Cove by Joy Ross Davis tells the story of mysterious happenings at Preacher’s Cove. There have been unexplained deaths, deadly storms, and strange phenomena that have the residents of the area fearing for their lives and their sanity. Journalist Hap Murray is a reluctant visitor sent to investigate. Hap and Preacher’s Cove have a history which should help with extracting the story from the locals, but all is not as it seems. Hap would run away were it not for the beguiling Libby Arbuckle. But Libby has a strange sister, Lucy, who makes weird and frightening dolls. Hap needs to uncover the mystery of Preacher’s Cove, but it seems his very sanity is at risk.

Joy Ross Davis has woven a mysterious and intriguing story that keeps the reader guessing until the end. With lots of strange events and even stranger inhabitants, Preacher’s Cove hints at so many scenarios that the reader has to keep turning the pages to find out what is going on. Nicely written with a good pace and totally believable characters, with very visual descriptive writing which really brings the setting of this novel to life. Lucy, with her scarred face and damaged mind, Libby torn between her loyalty to her sister and her attraction to Hap, the assorted residents and their individual characters, and the handsome Hap with his own struggles all combine to make this a captivating and chilling read. If Preacher’s Cove really exists, best to stay well away.