Working on completing her ecology graduate degree, Bernice is doing invasive species research in Cleary Swamp when she is confronted by a mysterious hag who says she is the swamp’s caretaker. When Bernice discovers that the hag is actually a woman named Rebecca Hallett who disappeared in the swamp decades before she attempts to remove the strange old woman from Cleary Swamp, but little does Bernice know that Rebecca has a mystical bond to the area—one that possesses a human host and bonds them to it. One magical hallucinogenic powder cocktail and a space opera spirit journey later, Bernice’s life has changed forever. The swamp wants her for its new caretaker, and it won’t take no for an answer.
Publication Date: 7th August 2018
I really enjoyed this story, you get a real feeling for how much the author enjoyed writing it and their love for the subject matter.
It’s not often you can say that you’ve read a book that blends ecology with the supernatural, but here we all are! It’s an almost familiar narrative, the swamp needs a human caretaker and will go to extraordinary lengths to make sure it gets what it needs. While that is definitely creepy, you don’t get the feeling that the swamp is ‘evil’ – it’s just a force of nature doing what it has to to survive.
You can tell that the author has experience working in ecology, she shares with the reader her passion for eradicating invasive species (weird how this is the third time this has come up in the past week or so for me!) and saving wild spaces for the future. It’s this passion that makes the book stand apart from anything similar – it’s a cautionary tale with scientific leanings!
I felt that the characters could do with a bit more fine tuning, they don’t seem to have much depth beyond their immediate panic and I think that it could make all the difference to the story. Bernice fights against the swamp’s desire to make her its caretaker, but as far as we know she hasn’t really got much else on to keep her busy…
The author is finding her voice as this book goes along, the second half definitely flows more naturally as she gains confidence. I really hope that she has more stories where this came from because I am a convert to the genre of supernatural ecology now!
*Thank you to the published for a complimentary copy of this book*