You stop fearing the devil when you’re holding his hand…
Nothing much exciting rolls through Violet White’s sleepy, seaside town… until River West comes along. River rents the guest house behind Violet’s crumbling estate, and as eerie, grim things start to happen, Violet begins to wonder about the boy living in her backyard.
Is River just a crooked-smiling liar with pretty eyes and a mysterious past? Or could he be something more?
Violet’s grandmother always warned her about the Devil, but she never said he could be a dark-haired boy who takes naps in the sun, who likes coffee, who kisses you in a cemetery… who makes you want to kiss back.
Violet’s already so knee-deep in love, she can’t see straight. And that’s just how River likes it.
Book Review: 4 stars
“Lots of people have bad stories, and if they wail and sob and tell their story to anyone who’ll listen, it’s crap. Or half crap, at least.The stuff that really hurts people, the stuff that almost breaks them . . . that they won’t talk about. Ever.”
Violet White|Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
Darkness will consume you, if you let it. It will play on your emotions, make you see things that aren’t real, making you question your sanity as it holds you in its arms. Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea “weaves a dreamy, twisting contemporary romance, as gorgeously told as it is terrifying.“
We are introduced to Violet White and her twin brother Luke. Raised by their grandmother, Freddie, who passed five years ago Luke and Violet find themselves the soul owners of their childhood mansion that sits on a cliff overlooking the sea. With the White families wealth dwindling Violet decides to rent out their guest house for a source of income. River West, in response to the newspaper add, rents the guesthouse from Violet. But River isn’t all that he seems. He’s a passive liar and since his arrival the citizens of Echo develop a fear of the unseen.
Intertwined with themes of injustice and longing Tucholke has created a riveting debut novel with interesting characters that make you question their reliability. Set in a small town over summer vacation, mystery ensues as Violet begins to witness unspeakable things where she wonders if Freddie was right all along. That the Devil does exist, and he has his sights set on destroying her.
I recommend this book, most definitely! It was an incredibly fast read, with likeable characters and an interesting plot. The ‘devil’ aspects weren’t what I though they were going to be, but I still remain pleasantly surprised. The next book I’m sure will be just as amazing.
~ SPOILER SECTION ~
I thought Violet was an ok main character. She is quite introverted and would rather spend time with a good book then with another person. Mainly because she spent most of her time with Freddie and since her passing she became rather lost. Her outfit choices really show this as they were generally Freddie’s old clothes. I think in the beginning Violet wasn’t ready to let go of Freddie, and was trying to hold onto any aspect of her that she could. It was mentioned that she would often search the house to try and find any tiny secret that Freddie might have left behind, to feel connected to her again. After discovering the letters that unravel Freddie’s infidelity of a past I thought Violet was finally able to let go of Freddie, because she knew that what Freddie had left for her to find was found. And I think this brought a sense of peace to Violet.
Speaking of Freddie’s infidelity I wonder if it holds more of a purpose, rather than just developing a deeper connection between Jack and the twins? But back onto Violet at times she did frustrate me, mainly in regards to River. River who has this power, the ‘glow’, which makes other people see what he wants them to see. First of all ‘glow’……I didn’t like the name given to his power. For something that was so evil and brought so much death for it to be given a prissy name such as glow just seemed really wrong. I think his grandfather referred to it once as the ‘burn’ which I thought was a far better name. Because of a burns long lasting effects. But River was just a compulsive liar, and at times really child like. And yet Violet had this ‘connection’ with him, where I think she just felt comfortable around him which she hadn’t felt since Freddie.
But I question the authenticity of her feelings towards River, given his ability to influence peoples emotions and make them see what he want’s them to see. River only tended to act when he felt there was a grand injustice, but his mentality never considered the lasting effects. He scared Sunshine shitless because she was mean to Violet, and the same with Luke. At other times he just played games with little kids minds who decided to camp out in the graveyard waiting for the Devil to come back. And the thing that really got me was that he killed Jacks father because he was a drunk and mistreated his son and Violet. Which although you see the positive in this, it is not up to him to play God. I honestly thought that River believed he was fixing the worlds problems and that on some level it would impress Violet, who he ended up loving at first sight. But he was so misguided and even when Violet would question him he would touch her, use his glow, and influence her emotions to forget.
Which annoyed me so much about Vi. Once she understood how River’s powers worked, she still felt this connection towards him. I was like, but he stops you from getting angry at him by touching you so you begin to feel calm. And you know this. Is there a long lasting effect (like a burn) that affects how you continue to view something or someone? Is it ok to still have feelings for someone once you realise they are a psychopath? But its ok because he kisses like fire, and you feel safe. So who cares if he made someone slit their throat right in front of you, at least now you have a cousin.
And yet River isn’t as psychotic as Brodie who was freaking creepy as, and just wanted to cut people and watch them bleed. You end up liking River a whole lot more, even though I see him as a child still, then his nut bag of a half brother. The ending just really creeped me out, like really creeped me out. And this shows the true talent of Tucholke. Her writing just draws you in and you can’t stop reading even though a certain boy annoys you.
There was this eeriness to her writing, that weaved mystery with romance so brilliantly that you didn’t care that Luke and Sunshine were PDAing it up like hormonal teenagers to the point of ‘i’ll honestly slap you, if I didn’t think you’d enjoy it’ or that Violet slept in the same bed as River almost every night because he had nightmares. It was just such an interesting premise and the characters are rather flawed, but so openly flawed that you like it. Because they seem like real people. I pictured this mist surrounding the story the whole time I was reading it, it just sort of gives you this feeling that everything needed to be softly hidden.
I think the sequel will be as equally dangerous, and I hope that Violet gives Neely a go because he seems like the better brother. Even though he is rather punchy punchy. I enjoyed it, I want to read more.
And now I must wait.