My Rating: 2.0
In the year 1712, a woman named Alicia Barrows unwittingly opens a gateway into the land of the dead and sets things in motion that will have an everlasting impact on the town of Claysville. Seeing the error in her ways, she agrees to work with Death in order to bring the deceased back to their world. Alicia is therefore named the first Graveminder whose responsibilities are to ensure the dead are taken care of, and if any rise, she is to escort them back to the land of the dead.
There is also an Undertaker that is supposed to help her bring them back to the land of the dead while protecting her at all times. Each previous Graveminder or Undertaker has either been a Barrows family member or a Montgomery. Each is responsible for choosing their own replacement as are the representatives of the town’s council. For some reason, which is never explained, Graveminders can not see the ones that came before them.
Because of Alicia’s mistake, the townspeople of Claysville agree to a contract with Death that basically gives them longevity and near perfect health. If they didn’t agree to the contract, then the entire town would have been eliminated and permanently linked to the dead. Nobody knows what is really in the contract, just that no resident born in the towns limits can leave permanently. If they die outside of town, they must be returned to Claysville to be interned and minded or else other residents will start dying. Lastly, only a select few can ever know the truth about what is happening in town. The rest are kept ignorant including the Sheriff who gets migraines if he knows too much.
Flash forward to the present and it now becomes Rebekkah Barrow’s turn at being the Graveminder after her grandmother Maylene is killed by a walking dead who has been prevented from being minded out of spite and jealously after not being named her replacement. Rebekkah loves Byron Montgomery who becomes the Undertaker to her Graveminder, but can’t stand him at times. She wants to get close to him, but after their past where they kissed while he was dating her step sister, things became ice cold between them.
They go back and forth so many times that Bryon is the person I felt okay with, while Rebekkah got under my skin like nails on a chalkboard. Each has spent years away from Claysville, but now they are inexplicably drawn back to town. Once they are named Graveminder and Undertaker, they can never leave town again. I call this the Twilight Zone factor.
I actually liked Byron, Amity Blue, and even Daisha better than I did Rebekkah. Rebekkah acted like one of Ms. Marr’s teenagers throughout the book. At least Daisha had a reason for eating the people she did, and even though Bryon couldn’t forgive her, she still is a better character overall than Bekka. Creepiness factor was that Daisha actually ate and drank her victims blood. No, she is not a vampire nor a zombie either.
A proper description of a Graveminder in this book: A Graveminder keeps the dead in the earth or brings them to Charlie, aka Mr. Death, if they go for a walk. While her partner the Undertaker, is supposed to protect her from harm and be with her for her lifetime. If any Claysville resident dies elsewhere and was left alone without minding, they would wake up and people in the town die horribly.
I really did have high hopes for this solo work after having finished reading the Wicked Lovely series. Maybe, and this is just my opinion, she should have stayed away from doing an adult release. I will never criticize anyone for liking a book in polar opposite to me hating it. I guess I must be a glutton for punishment in that I actually allowed myself to finish this story instead of abandoning it.
Best part of the book? The ending!
Would I recommend this book to anyone? Debatable at this time.