An American expatriate learns her quaint British island home has a dangerous secret in Lute, a foreboding, chilling first novel for adults from YA author Jennifer Thorne (Night Music, writing as Jenn Marie Thorne). Nina, a Floridian, has lived on the British island of Lute with her husband, Lord Hugh Treadway, for seven years in a near future that sees America at war with Europe. She deems whispers about "the Day," the local name for every seventh summer solstice, mere superstitions that the islanders use to explain their fabled luck and prosperity. She is disappointed when Hugh books their family a holiday off the island, but the boat leaves without them. The Day comes, and Nina finds herself living out a horror story as deaths begin to stack up à la Final Destination. She begins to grow into her traditional role as Lady Treadway, feeling "struck by the strange vertigo of not knowing what's spontaneous and what's a tradition lost in translation." The plot drives toward an explosive conclusion, and no one's survival is guaranteed.

Thorne builds an eerie, claustrophobic atmosphere with gothic elements and images lifted from Britain's pagan past. Sacred groves and sacrificial stone altars lie within reach of a mostly empty manor house. Nina's shift from outsider to leader echoes the story's themes of responsibility, community and equilibrium. The Day takes mercilessly, yet there is a savage beauty to its balance of grief and honor. This quiet, brutal alchemy of death and duty will haunt and delight horror and fantasy readers. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads

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