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Wicker Man meets Final Destination in Jennifer Thorne's atmospheric, unsettling folk horror novel about love, duty, and community.
On the idyllic island of Lute, every seventh summer, seven people die. No more, no less.
Lute and its inhabitants are blessed, year after year, with good weather, good health, and good fortune. They live a happy, superior life, untouched by the war that rages all around them. So it’s only fair that every seven years, on the day of the tithe, the island’s gift is honored.
Nina Treadway is new to The Day. A Florida girl by birth, she became a Lady through her marriage to Lord Treadway, whose family has long protected the island. Nina’s heard about The Day, of course. Heard about the horrific tragedies, the lives lost, but she doesn’t believe in it. It's all superstitious nonsense. Stories told to keep newcomers at bay and youngsters in line.
Then The Day begins. And it's a day of nightmares, of grief, of reckoning. But it is also a day of community. Of survival and strength. Of love, at its most pure and untamed. When The Day ends, Nina―and Lute―will never be the same.
"This understated folk horror tale, Thorne’s adult debut (after the YA novel Night Music, written as Jenn Marie Thorne), follows Nina Treadway, an American expatriate on the remote British island of Lute, as she tries desperately to protect herself and her loved ones from the mortal terrors of “The Day.” It’s an event that recurs every seven years and is said to claim the lives of seven of Lute’s inhabitants as tribute to the forces that keep the island safe and prosperous. Now, as the bodies pile up, Nina’s marriage to Lord Hugh Treadway begins to break down, and she’s forced to learn Lute’s horrible history and race to outpace its curse—even as the phantoms of her own past resurface. This is slow-burning horror writ large, and the terror resides in Thorne’s use of atmosphere to construct an overwhelming feeling of claustrophobia even after Nina begins to make sense of her situation. This slow, methodical approach to story crafting occasionally results in a sense of inertia, especially combined with Nina’s relative lack of agency. Still, Thorne’s subversion of folk horror tropes and focus on small, intimate beats make for a gripping reading experience recommended for fans of Midsommar and Jennie Melamed’s Gather the Daughters. (Oct.)" - Publishers Weekly
"Part idyllic fantasy and part Final Destination, Lute asks a question that harks back to works like Ursula K. Le Guin's "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas": What is the price of prosperity? While Lute's citizens have willingly agreed to that price, it is steep and horrific. The novel's pages are dotted with gore and loss, sure to pull on the heartstrings—and occasionally the stomachs—of even the most stoic of readers. however, despite the bloodshed and tension, Lute is equally about the creation of a haven away from the pressures of the modern world…For those looking for a thriller replete with both terror and fantasy, Lute delivers in spades." - BookPage
"Lute is an understated masterpiece of folk horror by Jennifer Thorne, an exceptionally talented new voice in the genre…This is the type of novel that will haunt you for years to come." - Grimdark Magazine
"Is there a dark side to paradise or a bright side of hell? That's the genius of Lute, a book made magic by its captivatingly isolated setting, spine tingling suspense, and characters with a heartbeat...or at least for so long as they survive The Day. This is the only creepy island I was actually sad to leave when I turned the last, spellbinding page."
- Chandler Baker, New York Times bestselling author of The Husbands
"Equally horrifying as it is beautiful, LUTE will slip under your skin, haunting you until you've turned the very last page. Folk horror at its finest." - Kim Liggett, New York Times bestselling author of THE GRACE YEAR
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