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3.54  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,202 Ratings  ·  413 Reviews
Daisies for innocence; Irises for hope; Asphodel for eternal sorrowDarkly atmospheric and tautly written, TETHERED is a haunting and ultimately heart-breaking novel that explores the themes of love, loss, faith and redemption.
Hardcover, 329 pages
Published 2009 by ORION (first published 2008)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Aug 11, 2008 Debbie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of well written 1st novels / fans of Jeff Lindsey's Dexter novels
Recommended to Debbie by: Library Journal review
This book came into the library yesterday and I read the first few pages while cataloging it--I can't wait to read more! Ms. MacKinnon has put together beautiful sentences, paragraphs and I'm confident a beautiful novel.

I can't think of any other novels with undertakers as the main character, although I'm sure there are some. Reading about something new is always a plus. The book's cover is intriguing. So far, I love everything about this new novel.

Wow, I've finished this haunting novel, but it
Dec 22, 2008 Denise rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 22, 2008 Jennifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: email-newsletter
This was a very compelling and multilayered novel with beautiful, damaged characters. The story was so intriguing that, much to my dismay because I had to get up early, I found myself reading into the morning hours because I couldn't close the book without knowing what happened next. I also found it fascinating because of my family history. My grandfather was an undertaker, and we grew up in an old Victorian house and played in the basement where the caskets were stored. My grandfather's profess ...more
Alan Hughes
I do not understand the extremely high ratings for this book. It was not that I found it a bad book but rather a rather mediocre book, neither one thing nor another - not really crime, not really supernatural thriller.

The plot seemed very predictable and I found some of the literary devices annoying, the bracketed characteristics of flowers (repetitive) added very little to the story and became rather annoying after a while.

There were passages which showed that the author can really write very
Carrie Runnals
Aug 16, 2008 Carrie Runnals rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
I'm realizing I'm terrible at updating my GoodReads picks...come to my website and listen to the interview with Amy and how I gush all over her about Tether--I loved this book!
Jul 04, 2008 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received this book, and finished it within 3 days, while working full time. I was hooked from the first sentence, and the writing was great. The main character is an undertaker, who has flaws, and I came to know her and understand her. This is one of the best books I have read in a long time. Even when I wasn't reading, the book's characters and plots were on my mind. I have not been this "hooked" into a book for a long time. What a find this is, I hope it will not be too long before the autho ...more
Mar 04, 2013 Gregory rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a spooky new novel about a young woman undertaker (you learn "more than you want to know" about the job of preparing bodies) and her relationship with a mysterious little girl who suddenly starts visiting her and then vanishing. You wonder if this is a ghost, but you are also caught up in the mysteries of the undertaker's own eerie past. Great writing and a gripping read!
Heather *live on coffee and flowers*
Update 9/3/14: I just realized the main character in this book has the same name as one of the founders of the Tri-State Crematory. The main character in this book works in the funeral industry. Interesting coincidence or did the author do this on purpose? Hmm.

Reading this book was a weird experience. It wasn't the book's fault. I've never read Tethered before, so of course most of it was new to me. But there were certain parts that I know I've read before. Or maybe I'm just having book d
Diane Chamberlain
This is the most fascinating book I've read in a long time. The author took a rather simple, almost trite, mystery and lifted it up through her stunning writing and the creation of an unforgettable and (almost) entirely sympathetic central character. The character, one of the most complex ever to grace the page, is an undertaker, and my skin crawled at times during the book, but I kept turning the pages and was glad I did. I also cried. As a writer, I was floored by MacKinnon's use of descriptio ...more
Madison Mcgraw
Amy uses much description in Tethered and writes beautifully, however, I like things to move a bit faster and found myself skipping over many 'descriptive' paragraphs. I wanted to get to the bones of the story; but to do this, I had to remove layer upon layer of description.
I loved the premise for the novel; a great story line. I look forward to reading her next book.
This is one of my favorite reads this year. The book is beautifully written and filled with wonderful characters. I think I may have even fallen in love with Mike. I found myself thinking about this book during the times I was unable to actually be reading it and could not wait to get back to it again. I was actually sorry to finish it. I highly recommend it!
Aug 31, 2008 Shauna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully written with sympathetic characters and an imaginative story line. Although the novel does deal with child abuse, the squeamish can probably read it because the graphic parts take place off screen.
Sep 21, 2008 Diane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tethered, is a debut novel (just 257 pages) by Amy MacKinnon; it was released last month. The premise intrigued me:

Clara Marsh, is an emotionally fragile woman who works as an undertaker in Brockton, MA. She does not believe in God. When asked what she does believe, she responds by saying "I believe it is important to breathe". She spends her solitary life among the dead, preparing their last baths and bidding them farewell with a bouquet from her own garden. Her carefully structured life shifts
Dec 02, 2008 Malcolm rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have high praise for this novel, not because it was published on my birthday, but because it exemplifies the best of what a praiseworthy novel must offer: character, setting, plot and language. MacKinnon combines these focuses in "Tethered" into art and artistry.

Clara, who is highly introverted from an unkind childhood, connects better with the dead than the living and finds her perfect peace among the bodies she prepares for burial at the funeral home where she works.

But there's a child pre
May 27, 2013 Radostina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
For some reason I've been putting this book off for quite a while now. It surely started off intriguing, and the writing was really smooth and easy to follow, but still, I couldn't get myself to read more than a chapter in one sitting. Until yesterday, when I decided it was about time I got done with it. And then something happened; I was immersed into this book to the point where I had to finish it or else I wouldn't be able to go to sleep at all. It was that good. Tethered tells a story that i ...more
Nov 07, 2008 Tina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-books
A riveting debut, Tethered is a story about a quiet, reclusive undertaker, Clara Marsh, who unwittingly gets swept into an unsolved murder mystery involving Precious Doe, an unidentified little girl that Clara herself compassionately prepared for burial a few years earlier. As the mystery deepens, Clara is forced to confront her own doubts about God and what happens to a soul after a body has been buried. What I found truly remarkable about Tethered was MacKinnon’s respect for faith. While this ...more
Oct 01, 2008 Denise rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mystery readers
Wow, I loved this book! I read it in a few days, probably because I stayed up until 5:00 a.m. one day to finish it. As a bookseller, I will be recommending it to many of my customers.

It is beautifully written with wonderful characters and a fascinating plot...very layered and muti-faceted.

The main character, Clara Marsh, is an antisocial undertaker who does not believe in God. Clara is one of the more interesting characters I have read in a long time, although she, herself, feels and thinks of
Sep 02, 2008 Staci rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Staci by: Mellymel
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 24, 2010 Michelle rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
It took me awhile to get into (and stay into) this even though the writing itself was great - stark and beautiful. The book definitely had a terrific subtle spooky/creepy vibe, which got decidedly less subtle as the book went on. Nice twist having the protagonist be an undertaker, though some of her job-related duties went into a little too much detail. As far as the plot, there were some red herrings along the way, but some of it was somewhat predictable. I loved the final chapter, and it seems ...more
melanie (lit*chick)
Dark, but not as sinister as Sharp Objects. When not tending to bodies, Clara tends her garden and hides from her painful past. But when a mysterious and lonely little girl begins to hang out at the funeral parlor, Clara becomes involved in saving her.
There is not an excess word here - it is sparse yet still rich. It has a touch of Margot Livesay (think Eva Moves the Furniture) but with a tinge of old school Patricia Cornwell.
I know, an odd mix, but it totally works.
I reserved mine at the librar
Oct 03, 2008 Holly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mystery lovers
Shelves: mystery
I don't usually read murder mysteries, as I a find reading about violent crimes disturbing. However, the setting and main character intrigued me and keep me interested in the story. About a third of the way into the story the mystery/suspense grabed me and I found myself staying up until the early hours of the morning to finish the story. It had a strong ending with a surprising twist.
Crystal Craig
I wasn’t going to read this book, however, its dark-sounding synopsis made me hit the ‘buy’ button on my kindle. The story follows undertaker, Clara Marsh, who’s alone, and has never really lived her life.

It turns out this book surprised me. I really enjoyed it and had a hard time sitting it down. Yes, it’s dark. The tone depressing, but I thought the story was well-written.
Alexis Drake
D’estate, per fare finta di rinfrescarsi dal caldo e non appesantire ulteriormente il cervello sovraccarico dalle temperature, trovo sempre piacevole leggere un giallo. Quello di quest’anno è La ragazza dei fiori morti, Tethered il titolo originale.
Questo libro parte alla grande, con belle premesse e uno stile accattivante.
Dalla frase si sente che c’è un però… però dopo un po’ diventa troppo simile a tanti altri gialli, con vari stereotipi tipici di questo genere.
Clara, la protagonista, lavora n
MK Brunskill-Cowen
This book is riveting. Between the complex characters, the multi-dimensional plot and the wonderful writing with it's metaphysical twist, I could not put this book down. I loved the darkness of the book and the solitude of Clara, and Linus' compassion.
Sep 10, 2008 Christine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: high-lit
This was one of the most depressing books I've read in a while - not because of the subject matter, but the narrator's outlook was very bleak. I had the ending pegged from the beginning, but that was all right - it was still very worth the read.
Dec 10, 2012 Deanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thought Clare and Mike interesting character, and hoping that this is the first of a series. It's a thriller set in a small town, with most of the action revolving around a funeral home, the people who work there and those who use it's services.
Lynne Griffin
Oct 10, 2014 Lynne Griffin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-by-friends
A gorgeous book by my friend and member of my writers' group. MacKinnon is a brilliant writer, and her strong debut positions her as a writer to watch. Be prepared for Tethered to stay with you long after you read the last page.
Jul 29, 2008 Carleen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was lucky enough to snag a review copy at BEA. It's not what I normally read (I'm kind of wimpy when it comes to issues of child abuse), but this is a beautiful book. It will stay with you!
Jul 24, 2008 Mary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved the main character in this book - Clara Marsh. Incredibly complex, at once resilient and fragile, she is a wonderfully drawn character I will not soon forget. I loved Tethered!
Sep 27, 2008 Trish rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very good book! Very detailed writing and fooled me several times into believing one thing and it turned out to be something else. Quick read and worth reading.
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Joyce's Reading Log: Tethered by Amy MacKinnon 1 7 Nov 16, 2014 09:24PM  
  • Darling Jim
  • Dismantled
  • The Ghost Orchid
  • The Vampire Diaries #1
  • Tomato Girl
  • The Liar's Diary
  • Dance Of The Goblins (The Goblin, #1)
  • Ghostbusters, Volume 1: The Man From The Mirror
  • Defending Marriage: Twelve Arguments for Sanity
  • Kat Fight (Undying Love, #3)
  • A Werewolf to Call Her Own (Mystic Isle, #2)
  • Ghost Light
  • Walking In Pimlico
  • Suicide Ride: The Platinum Man (Suicide Ride, #1)
  • A Hora das Bruxas I (Bruxas Mayfair, #1)
  • Quinn, Part II (Undaunted Men, #2)
  • The Surrogate
  • Standing Still
Amy MacKinnon lives outside of Boston with her husband, three children, two cats, and their English bulldog, Babe.
More about Amy MacKinnon...

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“And so I choose to breathe.” 1 likes
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