I was granted eARC access to The Lost Village via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts are my own and my review is honest.
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About the Book
The Lost Village
by Camilla Sten
Published 23 March 2021
Page Count: 340
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!
The Blair Witch Project meets Midsommar in this brilliantly disturbing thriller from Camilla Sten, an electrifying new voice in suspense.
Documentary filmmaker Alice Lindstedt has been obsessed with the vanishing residents of the old mining town, dubbed “The Lost Village,” since she was a little girl. In 1959, her grandmother’s entire family disappeared in this mysterious tragedy, and ever since, the unanswered questions surrounding the only two people who were left—a woman stoned to death in the town center and an abandoned newborn—have plagued her. She’s gathered a small crew of friends in the remote village to make a film about what really happened.
But there will be no turning back.
Not long after they’ve set up camp, mysterious things begin to happen. Equipment is destroyed. People go missing. As doubt breeds fear and their very minds begin to crack, one thing becomes startlingly clear to Alice:
They are not alone.
They’re looking for the truth…
But what if it finds them first?
My Rating: 5 Stars
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Alright, so, fellow NetGalley reviewers, you know how NetGalley likes to send out emails hyping up particular books and you get tempted into requesting/claiming review copies you wouldn’t have picked up just browsing? This is one of those books for me. Some author I’m already familiar with gave it a great quote and that was used in the email, I hit request (or maybe it was read now that day?) and then forgot about it. Then it started creeping up on my spreadsheet of publication dates and I was dreading picking this one up because I no longer remembered anything about it and regretted my impulse click from months ago.
So I waited for pub day and requested the audiobook through Libby, assuming I would DNF it somewhere around 30% and get to report that I gave it an honest try, suggest the right audience, drop that on NetGalley to clear this from my pending list and move on.
And then I started listening to it, and I couldn’t stop.
What hooked me wasn’t the thriller set-up. That was actually fairly mild and I couldn’t place which genre this was meant to be at first. (Again, I remembered nothing about why I clicked request in the first place.) What grabbed me was the characters and the setting. I was raised well-steeped in the remnants of the Norwegian heritage my great-grandparents brought with them to the colony of Upper Canada. My childhood was full of baked goods, folk dances, fairytales, and Christmas carols from the Nordic countries. My Barbie dolls had Scandinavian names and wore bunads I sewed from grandma’s fabric scraps. Some of my most treasured possessions were tourist merchandise sent over from my cousins in Norway and Sweden. The first thing that caught my eye (ear) was the character name Tone. I quickly realized I was about to take a gothic horror ride through a Swedish town, and I buckled up.
A film crew of 5 set out to document all they can about the village of Silvertjärn where mysterious tragedy struck in the late 1950s leaving only a baby born on the eve of disaster and those who chose to flee in time as survivors. What some of the film crew don’t know is that two of the members have familial connections to the village, one of them even being the granddaughter of that baby. It’s obvious from the start that the crew isn’t alone in Silvertjärn, but no one wants to admit it. When things start to go horribly wrong tensions soar, accusatory fingers fly, and people start dying. Will anyone make it out alive? Will they ever learn what happened all those decades ago?
I’m going to admit that I don’t know if this book truly deserves the 5 or if the nostalgic yearning for Scandinavian settings and stories has coloured my glasses on this one and it’s actually a 4, but either way it’s a very good book. I would absolutely classify it as gothic horror, and I think the comparison to The Blair Witch Project is fair. It’s psychological, it deals with religious corruption and teases the paranormal, it makes family connections to a tragic past, and it explores a ghost town sort of setting. There’s very little on-page violence.
Personally, I fell in love with the gothic horror subgenre through film first, with movies like The Village and The Blair Witch Project, and I’ve only ventured into gothic horror literature outside of (totally awesome) assigned reading for college English courses quite recently. So far I honestly haven’t found a gothic horror book I didn’t like, but don’t let that diminish my giving this one 5 stars. This book blew me away! I absolutely loved it.
If you love thrillers or gothic horror, or if you love Scandinavian stories like me and don’t mind being spooked along the way, you need to read The Lost Village!
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