Dutch author Heuvelt’s English-language debut novel is called Hex. It is about a town haunted by a 17th-century witch, Katheryn van Wyler. Townsfolk uncover the true face of evil—and it’s not supernatural.
I loved this book. It was recommended to me by a friend and I am so glad. I had kind of gotten away from this type of book but a great read like this one really got me back into it. Although it is scary, the worst part of the story is the social implications of the terror people feel not how scary the witch is. Heuvelt is so good at getting into people’s heads to how they would react and cope with the supernatural curse on their town. These psychological impacts are so well written and feel true. People are at their most scared here, so there are dizzying arrays of reactions.
The story is a slow burn set in present day. Give it a chance. Thomas sets the stage by slowly revealing the fate of Katheryn, and why she cursed this town. The elders of the present day have a web lockdown on the town to keep track of their witch as well as to contain the curse. As is human nature, the young adults of the town are chafing against the strict protocols designed to keep the town and all its people safe. Their normal exploration of boundaries leads the entire town down a dark and dangerous path.
Some of the first people we meet are the Grant family. They moved into Black Spring not realizing that once there they could never move out. We get to explore their experience and eventual decision to have children. Tyler, one of their children, is my favourite character in the book. It may be because reminds me of my middle son. He is not a bad kid but has been raised to think for himself, so is now pushing his own agenda as only an idealistic young adult will. I really could see how the situations in the book could happen. The characters rang true to me. Especially, the scenes where parents who knew the rules, still protected their offspring from the consequences of their rash decisions.
If you like a psychological thrill laced with a bit of the supernatural and lots of social commentary, then this book is for you. I hope you enjoy it.