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Impossible Causes

liked it 3.00  ·  Rating details ·  114 ratings  ·  80 reviews
For readers of All the Missing Girls and You Will Know Me, Impossible Causes is a gripping thriller about isolation, power, and the lies that fester when witnesses stay silent.

For six months every year, Lark Island is fogged in, its occupants cut off completely from the mainland. The community is small, tight-knit, and deeply religious. Lark seems like a good place for
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published November 19th 2019 by Bloomsbury Publishing (first published October 17th 2019)
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liked it Average rating 3.00  · 
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Nenia ⚡ Aspiring Evil Overlord ⚡ Campbell

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Cue me yapping about this book to everyone I know. What an amazing book. IMPOSSIBLE causes is like a cross between The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and Wickerman, and it is so, so good. The premise is absolutely brilliant. Lark is an island off the coast of England, claustrophobic, steeped in Celtic superstition, and entirely wreathed in fog seven months out of the year. There are no cell phone towers there, no technology, and Lark has
Nov 14, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Impossible Causes by Julie Mayhew is a dark mystery/thriller that also crosses into paranormal horror. The story in this novel is one told from different points of view from an atmospheric, isolated island of Lark.

Viola Kendrick has moved to Lark with her mother after the tragic loss of her father. Also arriving on the small close knit island is Ben Hailley, a new young male teacher. All of the locals are infatuated with so many new comers to an island of less than 300 residents. Soon Viola
Oct 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Impossible Causes is a book that caught me completely off-guard. It touts itself as a thriller but it is that and so much more; Julie Mayhew is an author to watch. This is a tense tale of isolation, witchcraft and murder with a very thought-provoking and accurate message about the insidious nature of rumour, gossip and suspicion. Set on the fictional and extremely remote North Atlantic island of Lark we are treated to a richly Gothic and often uncomfortably religious atmosphere which felt rather ...more
Impossible Causes is set on an island called Lark, population 253. Like Rebecca Wait's The Followers, it depicts an isolated, cultish community existing in the present day – with all the attendant questions and implausibilities that idea throws up. Like Catriona Ward's Little Eve, it begins with a girl sitting in a stone circle in the aftermath of a tragedy.

Along with her mother, the girl – Viola Kendrick – is a relative newcomer to Lark. The Kendricks' arrival coincides with that of a new
Oct 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“How contagious evil can be... dressed in the guise of justice”

This is an odd one, a unique one.

The writing style has a feeling of the action, the characters, the story, all being behind a pane of frosted glass that the reader is trying to peer through. Everything is just slightly semantically obscured in a way that has a dreamlike effect, almost as if the story is taking place on a different plane of reality.

Everything that is, except for the setting. The location is so perfectly described,
Roman Clodia
The elements of this book reminded me of lots of others: the quasi-mystical, quasi-feminist witchiness; the closed off and insular island community hiding secrets; the unstable danger of adolescent girls; the plot revolving around sex and death - and the tarot cards that mark the stages of the story. It's atmospheric, for sure, but also feels a bit like a mash-up of, say, Ann Cleeves' Shetland series with The Wicker Man and other book that make use of the uneasy relationship between Christian ...more
Karen Barber
This is a tricky one to review, and it is certainly a book that was difficult to really get into for some time. However, by the end I was gripped and can certainly see the parallels with something like The Crucible.
Our story takes place on the remote island of Lark. We focus on the narration by Leah, a teacher on the island, who is privy to many of the secrets of the island but who seems rather detached from everything. This sense of ‘otherness’ does become important later on, as it explains why
Jul 18, 2019 rated it liked it
This is a sinister novel set in a small, isolated community on a remote British island, Lark, which has neither mobile phones nor the internet, so is stuck in the past. Rumours abound that the 'Eldest Girls', three 16-year-olds and the eldest pupils at the local school are witches and dance naked of an evening at the standing stones. When the August ship brings three outsiders - known as coycracks by the locals - the community is stirred. There's Deborah Kendrick and her red-haired daughter ...more
Anna Louise
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2019
Thank you to Net Galley for sending me a copy in exchange for a honest review.

This was a very intriguing plot, but I felt it could have been executed a little better. For me, there wasn't much of an opportunity to connect with or get to know the characters, and I didn't like the religious aspects of it, as the religion itself wasn't truly explained.

The changes in POVs and also time jumps back and fourth were a little confusing and didn't flow very well.

The book follows an island community, based
Sep 29, 2019 rated it it was ok
This one here was a little difficult for me, as there was a story to tell and one to discover, but it took way too long to really get into it. And believe me, I tried. Especially with those first chapters, but it was touch and go there for the most part. If anything, the mystery that surrounded Lark island was something that needed solving. And so, I kept on reading.

That's when some of the mystery started unravelling, and more of the actual story came into focus. It had its interesting parts,
Amy Riddell
With a general synopsis vaguely reminiscent of The Wicker Man, Julie Mayhew’s latest work sees a young teacher travel to the fictional island of Lark, a secretive, deeply religious community populated mostly by women. The new arrival, Benjamin Hailey, quickly generates quite the excitement – he is one of very few young men on the island following a tragic drowning which saw the annihilation of most of Lark’s young male population. Two more subdued arrivals are that of Viola Kendrick and her ...more
Oct 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
Oh, here we go again. Yet another one of those feminist dramatic thrillers about remote communities that promise utopia and deliver oppression instead. Impossible Causes takes place of a remote island of Lark, far off the coast of UK. There a small community survives in a more or less self sustained manner, virtually cut off from the world at large for 7 months at a time or so. The community is religious, ruled by men…and surprise, surprise, abusive to women. So as the book progresses, we are ...more
Ashleigh | Wild Heart Reads
An isolated island, a murder, three strangers and rumours abound.

Impossible Causes was a bit of a hit and miss for me. I wanted to really like it, between the cover and the blurb I was very excited for the story. What I did like about it was the setting. The landscape and isolation of Lark was brought to life and I do love a good slightly unsettling seaside town/island based story. That said...

I did not enjoy Impossible Causes as much as I hoped, it wasn't bad per se but I struggled to connect
Vikki Patis
Nov 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I don't really understand the negative reviews of this book. The narrative does switch between past and present, but not in a confusing way. It is cleverly written and the author manages to keep the reader intrigued from the first page. Despite the somewhat open ending, I found Impossible Causes to be gripping and satisfying, and I loved the feminist themes running through the book. The characters are realistic and flawed, and the prose tight and intense.
Jul 30, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
My thanks to NetGalley and publisher Bloomsbury Publishing Plc - Raven Books, for the ARC.
This book has loads of atmosphere - a 300-strong isolated community on the island of Lark - a 3-day North Atlantic crossing to get there - one landline computer and no phone mast. If you want to leave something behind, that's the place to go to.

However, I really struggled to make sense of most of the narrative and the eternal musings of main characters sending thoughts and story-parts off on strange and
Aug 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Impossible Causes tells the dark and disturbing story of life on the made-up island of Lark, where a small cult-like community reside. On the surface the island’s inhabitants seem like pious, morally conscious people, but there is something very evil lurking just beneath the surface.

I loved many aspects of this book and I thought the story and characters were good, but I found its narrative style a bit awkward and confusing at times. It is not told chronologically and the characters’ versions
Cressida McLaughlin
May 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
A very atmospheric, chilling story, and a great setting of the island of Lark. I loved the themes of mysticism, witchcraft and religion, the way I was left guessing right up to the end. I found there were a lot of characters, and occasionally the timelines got confusing. Great premise, though, and definitely packs a punch.
Alyssa Smith
Sep 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Thank you to Netgalley, the author and the publisher for this ARC.

What a creepy read. It literally makes your skin crawl. What is so enticing about a tight-knit, cult-like - AND MOSTLY FEMALE (!!) community?The writing was a little hard to disappear into at times, but overall it was a decent, out of the ordinary read for me. I keep seeing comparisons to Wickerman, but it made me think of more the Sabrina remake. It was just as dark, creepy and gritty.
Cora Tea Party Princess
Review to come.
I won this proof in a Twitter giveaway held by the publisher. What I have written is an honest review.

Trigger & Content Warnings are under a spoiler button as there are a few of them.

(view spoiler)

When I saw a giveaway for a proof of Impossible Causes - Julie Mayhew's adult debut - on Twitter, after looking
Aug 15, 2019 added it
I'm afraid I didn't finish this book.
The writing style wasn't my cup of Tea at this time.
Each time I picked it up,I was having to go back a few pages to remind myself what happened.

Not all books suit all people.
Aug 04, 2019 added it
Shelves: dnf, arc
DNF. The story sounded interesting, but this writing isn't appealing to me at all.
Jacqui Huntley
The description appealed but I'm afraid that that was as far as it went for me. Yes an isolated island (although mot likely to be that wooded given it was supposed to be off the coast of north western Britain) with a fundamental religion - think Outer Hebrides and the "Wee Frees". I did feel for some of the youngster yearning for what they saw as the bright lights of mainland/towns/cities before they appreciated what they had on the island especially when incomers arrived. It seemed like a sort ...more
My thanks to Bloomsbury Publishing U.K./Raven Books for an eARC via NetGalley of Julie Mayhew’s ‘Impossible Causes’ in exchange for an honest review.

The novel opens on Friday 13, April 2018 with the discovery of the body of a man in a Neolithic stone circle on the island of Lark in the North Atlantic. The island is cut off due to the weather for seven months of the year. This small deeply religious community of under 300 strictly controls who comes to live there and doesn’t embrace technology so
Criminal Element
Welcome to Lark, a remote island in the North Atlantic inaccessible to visitors for seven months out of the year. Inhabited by a small, religious community, it proudly touts its safety and adherence to an almost-forgotten way of life, in an ongoing attempt to draw immigrants to supplement the dwindling local populace. Well, the right immigrants anyway: there are a lot of forms to fill out and examinations to pass before applicants may be considered a good fit. But the promise of seclusion and ...more
Nov 21, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an advance copy.

A promising premise - Wickerman meets feminist witchcraft - fails to deliver in this novel.

Lark is an isolated island community somewhere off the coast of the UK mainland, cut off by stormy seas during the winter months. It is a religious, rule-bound community with life centred on farming and fishing, the church and the schoolhouse. There is a reclusive Earl who nominally leads, but he has retreated into the depths of the big house
Elli (Kindig Blog)
‘Impossible Causes’ was touted to me as a sort of feminist version of The Wicker Man. An isolated community that an outsider stumbles into full of witchcraft and murder. Sounds pretty great right? I was quick to request it and then I started to see a lot of low star reviews appear. Not one to let others sway my opinion I dived into the book with an open mind and was sorely disappointed.

Although a great concept, the book is very poorly executed. We dive into different perspectives as chapters
Amy Riddell
Aug 05, 2019 rated it it was ok
With a general synopsis vaguely reminiscent of The Wicker Man, Julie Mayhew’s latest work sees a young teacher travel to the fictional island of Lark, a secretive, deeply religious community populated mostly by women. The new arrival, Benjamin Hailey, quickly generates quite the excitement – he is one of very few young men on the island following a tragic drowning which saw the annihilation of most of Lark’s young male population. Two more subdued arrivals are that of Viola Kendrick and her ...more
“Unspoilt. A place where children grow up at one with nature, in all ways safe. To journey to Lark is to step back in time.”

This is the radio ad that catches Deborah Kendrick’s attention at the beginning of Julie Mayhew’s Impossible Causes (Bloomsbury). She and her teenage daughter Viola have been desperately trying to recover from deep personal tragedy, but nothing has worked, and maybe this is the answer. Someplace isolated, away from the world, “safe.”

But Lark is in no way safe. An island way
Pretty Little Bibliophile
Impossible Causes was an atmospheric thriller and it was one hell of a ride. When I first picked it up, I had not expected it to take the turn that it had.

Atmospheric setting
The whole idea of a secluded island with a tightly knit religious community was very interesting. No wonder I pounced on it as soon as I could. However, I have to admit that the synopsis did not do justice to the actual story.

The atmospheric world-building
The world-building, so to say, was on point and could give you
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