Friday, January 14, 2022

The Bone Cay by Eliza Nellums


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This novel wasn't on my TBR list until I came across it at work. A quick glance at the cover had me quickly checking it out and taking it home.

Magda Trudell is the caretaker of the Whimbrel Estate in Key West, the home of poet Isobel Reyes. Isobel famously walked off the dock near her home in 1918, drowning in the ocean. Her body was never found. Now, that reputation has people visiting the area to also end their lives. Magda makes it part of her duties to walk the beach and check the mangroves to see if any bodies appear. Not exactly what a caretaker should be doing on a daily basis. 

Madga has fought and fought to get extra funding for the Whimbrel Estate. She's poured all her love and admiration for Isobel's poetry into her life and is an expert on Isobel's poetry. She's been caretaker of the estate for ten years, and has fought tooth and nail to preserve the gorgeous estate and bring a historic landmark designation to it. Unfortunately, she's been unsuccessful. She has one more chance to try for the designation; funding is guaranteed if she's successful.

Unfortunately, there's a major hurricane forming and heading right towards Key West. Magda decides she's going to stay at Whimbrel and take on the storm. It goes against everything--everyone is being evacuated. But Madga won't leave the estate, and is confident it will survive the hurricane. 

As the storm approaches and hits, it quickly becomes apparent it is a monster hurricane, with relentless rain and winds. It's just not stopping or lessening in intensity. Magda makes a fascinating discovery after the gift shop is damaged--one that could turn the story of Isobel completely around, and change the future of the Whimbrel Estate--and Magda, too. But will she survive the hurricane?

There's more to the story, but I don't want to give it all away--more characters, too. Part thriller, part ghost story, it's also a nail biter as the hurricane just keeps clawing its way onshore, creeping closer and closer to the house. It brings a lot of darkness with it, and it soon becomes a battle of survival for Magda. 

I enjoyed this novel, but it did take me a bit to finish it. I kept putting it down and picking it up. I thought the plot was very interesting, but Madga, darn it--she annoyed me sometimes. Her stubbornness was not admirable in the face of such a terrible storm. The action does build with the introduction of a few other characters, with a twisty turn towards the end. 

Rating: 3/6 for an interesting plot thick with the history of Key West, ghostly happenings, and a hurricane determined to destroy everything in its path. It's definitely human vs. nature. 

Available in hardcover, audio and Kindle ebook. 

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