Review: The Doll by Rosie Burthom

I recently met Rosie Burthom at a writing discussion panel. Listening to her speak about her book captivated me. Of course I had no choice but to add a signed copy to my growing collection.

There are two versions of this book, with two different covers. The cover I have has a dark and spooky background with a picture of a doll predominantly positioned on it. In the beginning, I wasn’t sure of my feelings about the display. After reading the book, I have to admit the image of the doll helped with my visualization of the story being told.

The Doll: Lillian Darkwood Mystery can be classified as part of either horror or thriller. The book is aimed at a teen audience and the author does an excellent job of keeping her work within an appropriate language range. I do believe that this book has the potential to frighten some readers and urge caution to those who are afraid of the dark.

It is on an individual level that we find the things that terrify us the most. The best writers know that believability is what strikes fear into the hearts of their readers. It is possibility that frightens.

Burthom does an excellent job with the supernatural aspects of her writing. I found them both compelling and believable.

In the real life aspects of the book, I would have liked to have seen a little less stereotype and a little more realism when dealing with both Child Services and the homeless. I found at times the cliché depictions used by the author didn’t do either of them justice.

I really only have one complaint about Burthom’s The Doll. I found the father’s decisions towards the welfare of his daughter to be hard to swallow. As a reader looking in, I could see other routes that could have been explored before making such a life-altering choice. Perhaps Burthom could have added a little more explanation to let her audience know what frame of mind he was in at the time.

Four & a half out of five stars. A recommended teen read.