Bill and Karen have just about hit rock bottom in their relationship. Bill is out of work, Karen blames Bill. It’s only the two daughters that they are both devoted to that have so far kept the couple from calling it a day.
Then Bill inherits a house on a small island off the coast of Maine, only accessible by boat and the family move there to try to re-shape their future. From the start Karen is opposed to the unsophisticated, island life but the girls are happy with this new adventure and through new contacts Bill quickly finds a job on the mainland.
We know from the title and blurb that this is a horror story so I was looking out for things awry with this new life for the Anderson family right from the start. The author nicely builds up a picture of Mateguas Island where everybody knows everybody ( and their business) but are friendly and willing to help the new family settle in. It’s not a slow but a gradual revealing that things may not be quite as idyllic as they first seem and I liked that.
Bill’s new job is going well and prospects look good but he is also highly attracted to a young woman on the island and begins an affair with her, though he keeps telling himself that this next time he sees her will be the last. Karen also has found an attraction in a local man, Dex, but though she spends time with him is careful to keep him at arms length.
For the Andersons, Its getting complicated.
Horror, I think, is a very tricky genre to handle and for me, mainly it’s the character’s reactions to seemingly impossible events that are key. In Mateguas Island main characters do not share their ‘impossible’ experiences with others and, for me, at times, that seemed to be the unbelievable part. The girl’s secrecy is necessary to the plot but again I wasn’t sure that what they did rang true. However, at the end, one big question re Bill’s affair is very nicely answered and made a lot of sense of the whole story.
All in all I enjoyed Mateguas Island; it kept me reading and wanting to go back and, after all, that is what it’s all about.