WHEN DARKNESS LOVES US by Elizabeth Engstrom

When Darkness Loves Us (Paperbacks from Hell) - Elizabeth Engstrom, Grady Hendrix

 

WHEN DARKNESS LOVES US gets ALL the stars and maybe even a few planets!

 

I'm going to keep this review short and I'll tell you why. A friend has been telling me for years how great this book is, but I didn't know anything about it, other than it contained two novella length stories. I think "going in blind" is the best way to attack this volume. I had no preconceptions as to what was going to happen, what the stories were about or anything at all, really.

 

I will say the following: both of these tales feature women as the protagonists. These women are tough, they're fighters, and they're brave. They make the most of what they have and try not to complain. Which makes it all the more difficult for the reader when the stories turn, as they both do.

 

A word about the writing-it was beautiful at times. Often, it was beautiful and horrific all at once, which must be a hard thing to pull off, because even reading as much as I do, I rarely come across that perfect, vivid style. I'm not usually a fan of flowery writing but I submit this as a perfect paragraph, descriptive but not overly so, resulting in a tight little description of the seasons on a rural farm:

 

Winter was a mean ogre, dangerous and ugly, yet his reign was oddly cozy and comfortable as they rested during this respite from the sweltering summer. Spring was a baby bunny, soft and warm, but skittish, and able to dash into frantic motion in less than a heartbeat of time. Spring was clean. Then summer again, a paper queen of vivid reds, purples and greens, fading in the sunlight, turning all the colors a sickly yellow while the paper itself became crisp and brittle. Autumn was a deer, beautiful and swift. And winter had come again.

 

This book was like autumn, actually, (at least it is the way Ms. Engstrom described it), beautiful and swift. And horrific and heartbreaking. And all the other words that describe the type of read that never leaves you. I don't know what else to say other than: My HIGHEST recommendation!

 

 

*Thank you to Valancourt Books for the e-ARC for review consideration. I considered it and said Hell, yeah!*