*I received an e-ARC of The Coming Storm from Simon & Schuster Canada in exchange for an honest review. A big thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for giving me the opportunity to read this early!
Ever try to go into books knowing as little as possible? After realizing how much better Firekeeper’s Daughter was without any prior knowledge of the plot, I decided to do the same with The Coming Storm by Regina M. Hansen. I didn’t know too much going into this book, other than to expect ghosts, P.E.I., and music. What I wasn’t expecting from this book was that it was a historical fiction, and that it would give me a lot of The Scorpio Races vibes (while very different, The Scorpio Races also has murderous horses on an Island).
The story follows Beatrice (Beet) MacNeill, whose quiet life on a farm on Prince Edward Island takes a dark turn when the ghost of her older cousin, Gerry, appears in front of her playing a haunting tune on the fiddle, hours before they receive news of his death. When a mysterious woman comes into town, very interested in Gerry’s baby, Beet and other residents soon start spotting a horse with blood red eyes, and mysterious singing that seems to control the ocean.
While I fell in love with the cover and was intrigued by the book’s description, The Coming Storm unfortunately just left me feeling meh. I loved that it was set in P.E.I., and though I haven’t had the chance to visit the island yet, Hansen’s writing beautifully brought post-war P.E.I. to life for me and made me feel like I was there with Beet. This is a very atmospheric read with a lot of folklore mixed in. That being said, this is not a fast-paced book and there were many points where I felt like the story was dragging. Even at the 50% mark, it still felt like a long-winded introduction. While things start to pick up towards the end, I still felt that even the final “show down” towards the end took forever and I couldn’t wait for it to be done with.
There are also a lot of POV changes and time jumps, which can be confusing for readers not paying close attention. The plot mainly follows Beet, it jump around to characters known to Beet as well as unrelated, cutting between 1950 and the 1800s (and in a couple chapters, far earlier). Unfortunately I found that many of the POVs for characters prior to Beet’s POV all told the same story and didn’t contribute all that much to the main plot. Aside from a couple characters, many just told the same story over and over again and I felt that they would cut in at odd times.
While this isn’t a book I’ll be jumping to re-read anytime soon, I did wind up recommending it to friends who enjoy slower reads and to a teacher friend whose students are looking for more books set in Canada, as this was definitely something I would’ve liked a lot more in middle school.
The Coming Storm is out on May 25, 2021. You can pre-order it online or in-store from your local bookstore.