TITLE: Tainted Harvest
BY: E. Denise Billups
SERIES: Simone Doucet Series #1 (can be read as standalone)
PUBLICATION: June 3rd 2021 by Next Chapter Publishing
NOTES: I received an e-copy from the publisher and blog tour host in exchange for promotion and honest review. This did not affect my review in any way.
I’m here for another blog tour, and again big thanks to Shalini from Digital Reads Blog Tours for letting me join. Today, I’m featuring another new-to-me author, E. Denise Billups. It turns out that I’ve been missing a lot because this author CAN write, and I can’t wait to share my thoughts about Tainted Harvest.
She escaped servitude for a worse fate. Now she wants everyone to know what happened
Simone Doucet is searching for a meaningful life. As a travel writer, she’s searched but hasn’t found a purpose yet. She accepts an assignment that takes her to Magnolia Sunrise, a historical bed-and-breakfast on the bluffs of Natchez, Mississippi. Soon, frightful images of a young slave girl, Delphine Randolph, haunt her every evening. Are the dreams related to the assignment? Will she find answers in Natchez?
The first night at the B&B, a ghostly visitation transports Simone to 1863, antebellum Natchez. Through spectral eyes, Simone sees Delphine’s history. Her servitude as a wet nurse to her master’s wife, rape, and forced pregnancies, her daring escape, and early demise inside a Civil War contraband camp known as the Devil’s Punchbowl. Delphine wants everyone to know what happened to her at Magnolia Sunrise and inside the Union soldier’s encampment. She won’t stop haunting Simone until she TELLS HER STORY.
But why has Delphine chosen Simone? Will this awakening bring a new purpose to Simone’s life? Or more untold mysteries to be discovered?
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Tainted Harvest is only a novella-short book and I’ve never rated a novella perfect five-star but there is always a first time in everything. I wasn’t expecting to like this book as much as I do but as soon as chapter 1, I am immersed to the story. This is a contemporary book with scenes from the past and with a touch of paranormal – ghost. I thought the concept was not new and it is not. There are so many paranormal stories that have concepts as this one but what sets apart this novella is that it didn’t need to be very long to tell an unforgettable story.
The setting is perfect. Even from the start, when Simone was still in her place, it was already very atmospheric but it doubled when she arrived in Natchez, Mississippi. And every scene seems so eerie. When Simone had that nightmare and that poem, I knew instantly, I was in for a great story. I love how the author builds the suspense in every scene or chapter, then ends it, only to throw me in to another suspenseful scene. My experience reading was remarkable. I want more.
Aside from the setting, the author also knows how to write characters. Simone is a very compelling character. It was easy to root for her even if I only spend few hours reading her story. It’s like I’ve known her for a long time already. What a character. Delphine too. Delphine is the ghost that haunts Simone and wants her story to be told. Her story might be tragic but she’s a beautifully written character. I love her. I ached and cried for her. I love that I got to read from both women’s POV.
The story is well-crafted. Again, I can’t stress this enough, it’s so short and yet a very solid story. The mystery surrounding Delphine’s choosing of Simone to tell her story was a big aspect in the suspense. It was like the question never left me throughout the book. Then it was revealed and I liked it. This book is really not just a paranormal story, it also has lots of heart.
RATING: 5 blissful pages with lilies
The story will stay with me for a very long time. I’m sure of it. If you like suspense and mystery, and a ghost story with lots of heart, then Tainted Harvest is perfect for you.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
E. Denise Billups is an author with a rare mixture of southern and northern charm. She was born in Monroeville, Alabama, and raised in New York City, where she has worked in finance and as a freelance columnist and currently resides. A multi-genre author of fiction, she has published four novelsThiKeepers of the Gate: Twilight Ends (Book 1), Kalorama Road, Chasing Victoria, and By Chance. She has also written several supernatural short stories, including Off the Grid, Ravine Lereux: Unearthing A Family Curse, The Playground, and Rebound. As an avid reader of magical realism, mystery, suspense, and supernatural novels, she was greatly influenced by authors in these genres.
Currently, she is working on book two of her trilogy, Twilight Ends, a paranormal historical fiction, and book two of Simone Doucet Series to be released in 2022.
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