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Review: Providence by Caroline Kepnes

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From the acclaimed author of YOU comes a novel that is part love story, part detective story, and part supernatural thriller.

Growing up as best friends in small-town New Hampshire, Jon and Chloe are the only ones who truly understand each other and their intense connection. But just when Jon is ready to confess the depth of his feelings, he’s kidnapped by his substitute teacher, a discredited scientist who is obsessed with H.P. Lovecraft and has a plot to save humanity.

After four years in captivity, Jon finally escapes, only to discover that he now has an uncontrollable power that endangers anyone he has intense feelings for. He runs away to Providence to protect Chloe while he searches for answers. Across town from Jon, Detective Charles “Eggs” DeBenedictus is fascinated by a series of strange deaths–young, healthy people whose hearts just . . . stop. Convinced these deaths are a series of connected, vigilante killings, he jeopardizes his job and already strained marriage to uncover the truth.

With heart, insight, and a keen eye on human frailty, Kepnes whisks us on a journey through New England and crashes these characters’ lives together in the most unexpected ways, exploring the complex relationship between the powerful and the powerless, love and identity, self-preservation and self-destruction, and how the lines are often blurred between the two.

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My Review

For me, Providence was one of my most anticipated reads of 2018. There was so much pre-release buzz surrounding it and I’ve been dying to read something by this author, so I took the leap and dove into Providence.

Jon and Chloe were the best of friends. They understood one another in ways that no one else seemed to get. They shared an intense connection. However, on the day that Jon is supposed to confess his true feelings for Chloe, he goes missing. I was so intrigued by this. I was dying to know more. I needed answers. I wanted to know what happened with Jon….4 years later, Jon finally returns home, but life has changed a lot in the time that he was away. He is convinced that if he can change himself; get better, he can finally have what he’s always wanted with Chloe…In addition to Jon and Chloe’s storyline, we also have the one of Detective Eggs. Eggs has been consumed by a string of deaths and will stop at nothing to solve the case. How can people who are healthy just have their hearts stop beating? Eggs is convinced that all of these murders are connected and will risk everything to find out the truth….

I’m going to be 100% honest with you. I wanted so much to love this book. I really did. But, it just didn’t work for me. I was really intrigued by the story in the beginning. I wanted to know what happened to Jon and couldn’t wait to see where the story would go once he returned. That intrigue lasted about 25-30% into the story. After that I just felt confused and lost. This book has a heavy H.P. Lovecraft presence and that was just totally lost on me. I’ve never read anything by Lovecraft, so all of those references were over my head. I Am Providence and The Dunwich Horror were seriously huge themes throughout the book and they just left me with a giant question mark over my head. Maybe if I had a better understanding of HP Lovecraft and those stories, this story might of clicked for me, but it just didn’t.

Providence is one of those books that you’re either going to get or you’re gonna be left in the dark, like I was. It’s going to be a hit for some and a miss for others. From mystery and suspense to supernatural themes, this book certainly had a lot going on. I think this author is a very unique story-telling and has a great writing style. Even though this book was a total miss for me, I’m still glad that I gave it chance and checked it out.

*I was provided an ARC copy of this book via Random House Publishing and NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review*

2 responses »

  1. Great review! This one didn’t work for me either. The Lovecraft stuff went right over my head too. I love when books reference other books or have similar themes, but Providence was just too heavy handed. It’s too bad because I loved You. Oh well!

    Liked by 1 person


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