Saturday, January 23, 2016

Pre Pub Book Buzz: The May Queen Murders by Sarah Jude

You may recognize today's title if you had the chance to check out this week's Top Ten Tuesday post. I've talked a bit about my fondness for rural and folk horror, so you probably know that when a book like The May Queen Murders pops up on my radar I'm going to be antsy as all get out to get my hands on a copy.

Rural/folk horror has been for the most part much more popular in British horror. This is understandable considering FolkHorror.com's definition of the sub genre is:

"...horror fiction... characterised by reference to European, pagan traditions. Stories typically involve standing stone circles, earthworks, elaborate rituals or nature deities."

Will Erickson describes it (in part) in his Summer of Sleaze piece on Thomas Tryon as:

...where pagan fertility rituals crash into city slickers with their framed country quilts and adorable folk art museums... a deeper, unspoken fear that these quaint abandoned rituals and declawed traditions might still have a power our plastic world of superhighways and microwave ovens [lack]...

(Do check out the piece, it's highly enlightening and entertaining. I gleefully tracked down an old hardcover copy of Harvest Home as a result even though the good folks at Open Road Media now have that one available as an ebook.)

And while we have historically seen at least a few entries in the sub genre here, Stateside - "Children of the Corn," the work of Thomas Tryon, and such - I'm seriously hoping it's gaining popularity what with recent releases like Kim Liggett's Blood and Salt and Amy Lukavics's Daughters Unto Devils.

And that brings us to Sarah Jude's May Queen Murders. Here's a bit about the book from Goodreads:

Stay on the roads. Don’t enter the woods. Never go out at night.

Those are the rules in Rowan’s Glen, a remote farming community in the Missouri Ozarks where Ivy Templeton’s family has lived for centuries. It’s an old-fashioned way of life, full of superstition and traditions, and sixteen-year-old Ivy loves it. The other kids at school may think the Glen kids are weird, but Ivy doesn’t care—she has her cousin Heather as her best friend. The two girls share everything with each other—or so Ivy thinks. When Heather goes missing after a May Day celebration, Ivy discovers that both her best friend and her beloved hometown are as full of secrets as the woods that surround them.

I. Can't. Wait. Really I can't.

The May Queen Murders is due out (appropriately) in May from HMH books for Young Readers.

(Note, Jude herself is calling this one gothic fiction. I'm addicted to both folk horror and gothic fiction so I'm good either way!)

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