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3.54  ·  Rating details ·  2,624 ratings  ·  447 reviews
Clara Marsh is an undertaker who doesn’t believe in God. 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 when she discovers a neglected little girl, Trecie, playing in the funeral parlor, desperate for a friend.

It changes even more when Detective Mike
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published August 12th 2008 by Shaye Areheart Books
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3.54  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,624 ratings  ·  447 reviews

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Jun 25, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: susans-book
This ended up being not too bad. The beginning was a bit slow. Then I wondered "what the hell" because I wasn't sure if the main character was nuts or not. Then it picked up and became a bit of a page turner for me. So 3.5 *
Aug 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
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 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 25, 2011 rated it it was ok
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 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
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!
Diane Chamberlain
Nov 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm still a little confused about (view spoiler) involvement. Despite that I was really sucked into this story. It helped that the audiobook was narrated by Rebecca Lowman. She is on my list of top 3 female narrators. Love her.
melanie (lit*chick)
Aug 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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!
Madison Mcgraw
Aug 13, 2008 rated it liked it
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.
Aug 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
Mar 14, 2013 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 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Heather *Awkward Queen and Unicorn Twin*
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
Sep 14, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Sep 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Staci by: Mellymel
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 21, 2010 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
Jun 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Nov 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
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.
Lynne Griffin
Jun 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
MK Brunskill-Cowen
Jul 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.
Oct 31, 2012 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.
Sep 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.
Jul 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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!
Jul 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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!
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Joyce's Reading Log: Tethered by Amy MacKinnon 1 7 Nov 16, 2014 09:24PM  

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Amy MacKinnon lives outside of Boston with her husband, three children, two cats, and their English bulldog, Babe.
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“And so I choose to breathe.” 1 likes
“I notice for the first time that though her face is plain and her body settled into the thickness of middle age, she is beautiful. It’s the kind of beauty exuded through pores, through lustrous eyes, through inner peace.” 0 likes
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