Fierce Little Thing

Flatiron. Jul. 2021. 432p. ISBN 9781250779427. $27.99. SUSPENSE
The latest novel from Beverly-Whittemore (June; Bittersweet) begins with the death of William, the much younger brother of teenager Saskia, at their grandmother’s Connecticut home. The story fast-forwards to the arrival of Saskia and her friend Xavier along with his father Philip at a commune in rural Maine simply called Home, led by a charismatic man named Abraham. There Saskia makes friendships that will become long-lasting bonds due to the experiences they have there. After another jump forward, it’s been two decades since Home was foreclosed and the remaining commune members were scattered. Saskia and her friends are called back to the abandoned commune by scary letters which threaten to reveal a dark secret from that earlier period. The plot involves many twists involving childhood trauma, abuse from parents and other members of the commune, childhood secrets, and the bonds of friendship. The author builds tension from the first page, following the characters through alternative time periods, jumping from childhood to adulthood and back. However, it would have been helpful to declare the time period of each chapter at its outset.
VERDICT This is a well-plotted novel with excellent character development. Recommended for fans of psychological suspense and thrillers and readers of Donna Tartt.
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