REVIEW: The Vines is the debut novel by Shelley Nolden. It is an interesting book in many ways. There were things I liked and things I didn’t like. Overall, it was a worthwhile read. I actually acquired more respect for her work after I read her author notes at the back of the book. It is also at the end that we find out there is a sequel in the works!
I loved learning the history of North Brother Island and Riverside Hospital’s 125 plus year residency there. The story visits many time periods and flips back and forth between them throughout the book. The author did a lot of research for this book and it shines through.
The main characters in the book are fictional but, many of the secondary characters are taken from the real people who lived and worked there throughout the years. I didn’t care for the Gettler men who seemed to pass down their position of head doctor to the next generation in the family. I liked Cora and admired her ability to survive the many medical experiments and long, harsh years she has and will spend there. For some reason I had a harder time connecting with the fictional characters than the real ones.
If you like history, old buildings, medical research and a little mystery then this book is for you. It will be a stellar debut for for Shelley Nolden!
I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher and Netgalley for a fair and honest review. Thank you!
SYNOPSIS: In the shadows of New York City lies forbidden North Brother Island, where the remains of a shuttered hospital hide the haunting memories of century-old quarantines and human experiments. The ruins conceal the scarred and beautiful Cora, imprisoned by contagions and the doctors who torment her.
When Finn, a young urban explorer, arrives on the island and glimpses an enigmatic beauty through the foliage, intrigue turns to obsession as he seeks to uncover her past–and his own family’s dark secrets. By unraveling these mysteries, will he be able to save Cora? Will Cora meet the same tragic ending as the thousands who’ve already perished on the island?
The Vines intertwines North Brother Island’s horrific and elusive history with a captivating tale of love, betrayal, survival, and loss.