Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Devil You Know: "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea" by April Genevieve Tucholke

Violet lives alone with her brother, Luke, in a huge, rambling old mansion overlooking the sea called Citizen Kane, or the Citizen, for short. Their grandmother Freddie, whose house it was, had died several years before, but her spirit is ever present in the décor and the portraits of her that cover the walls. Their parents, artists, have gone to Europe, leaving them to fend for themselves with their ever decreasing fortune. As Violet puts it "They loved us...but they loved art more".
Luke and Violet are artists, too, but have lately lacked the inspiration to paint. Instead, they pass the summer with their neighbor, the lovely, languid Sunshine, drinking iced tea on her porch and meandering to town and back. Luke and Sunshine flirt. Luke also sees a girl in town. It's all casual and dreamy and Violet is an enchanting, smart and insightful narrator. A girl you could spend all day (and 368 pages!) with. She has a keen sense of herself, her past and everything around her. She dresses in Freddie's vintage clothes and Freddie's words of wisdom and warnings about life and being wary of the devil are an ever present part of Violet's imagination.
The dwindling fortune is a worry so Violet decides to take matters into her own hands and rent the Citizen's guest house. She puts up a notice in town... and almost instantly a car drives up, a new, old car, and a boy gets out. A lean, tan, dark haired, crooked smiling boy whose face Violet likes on sight.
He is River. River West. And he is there to rent the guest house and change everyone's lives and shake things up and ... let us pause, here, because this is a book where I didn't know what was going to happen as I was fortunate enough to read a Netgalley review edition, so I am not going to give anything away. I completely fell in love with Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea! It is compelling, and romantic and... down right scary! It is a book you know you are going to like by the end of the first sentence and it is a very special author that can draw you into her world and immerse you in her story so easily. A sequel is coming in 2014. I can't wait!

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