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4.08  ·  Rating details ·  51 ratings  ·  23 reviews
They are driving home from the search party when they see her. The trees are coarse and tall in the winter light, standing like men. Lauren and her father Niall live alone in the Highlands, in a small village surrounded by pine forest. When a woman stumbles out onto the road one Halloween night, Niall drives her back to their house in his pickup. In the morning, she's ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Expected publication: January 23rd 2020 by Doubleday
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Average rating 4.08  · 
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10-year-old Lauren lives with her dad, Niall, in a small Scottish town. Her mother Christine disappeared some years ago. Right from the start we are plunged into an intriguing, eerie mystery: a young woman keeps appearing around Strath Horne, sometimes merely glimpsed and sometimes having extended interactions with others, yet only Lauren seems able to remember her. She slips from the others' minds as soon as she is out of sight, even if they're mid-conversation.

Part of what made Pine so
Liz Barnsley
Oct 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I seem to be on a run of unsettling, beautifully written novels at the moment, Pine is incredibly moving, intensely unnerving and genuinely absorbing from first page to last.

The edgy, offbeat prose really digs deep, it is a disjointed, haunting tale that is at turns terrifying and heart wrenching. Lauren sits at the centre of a maelstrom of adult emotion, her connection to her missing mother tennous and spiritual – meanwhile danger lurks in the forest surrounding her while her father falls apart
Francine Toon’s eerie and unsettling debut novel Pine is set in a small and remote Highland town, where the nearest supermarket is 23 miles away, and the planned opening of an Aldi has been a topic for discussion for months. It is a community where everybody knows everybody else. So, it’s quite ironic that there’s a mystery at the heart of this story. Just under ten years before the events described in the novel, a young woman named Christine disappeared without a trace. Her partner Niall and ...more
Wow! This book just came out of nowhere and totally swept me away in its five-star tidal wave. What a journey! If I had to describe PINE in one word only, it would be “unsettling”. It didn’t help that I innocently started reading it in the evening, and ended up putting in an almost all-nighter to get to the end, followed by some pretty strange nightmares – which you will totally understand once you read this book for yourself.

Talk about creepy! From its atmospheric, rural Northern Scotland
Aug 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Mysterious and unsettling, Pine unfolds slowly but builds to a tense and gripping conclusion. I loved the setting and the folkloric, witchy elements.
Joanna Park
Jan 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Pine is a wonderfully different book which manages to combine a few different genres making it a very interesting read.

This book drew me in from the start as the author sets the scene beautifully with her vivid descriptions of the small Highland village which has some interesting inhabitants. The beauty of the area is constrasted nicely with the eerie, almost oppressive forest which seems to hold a lot of mystery. I loved the little details the author has included in this book which just helped
Abbie | ab_reads
Dec 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thanks to Transworld/Doubleday for the gifted copy of Pine by Francine Toon! I absolutely loved this atmospheric read set in northern Scotland with small town vibes and an eerie undertone throughout. Lauren is used to her hometown, where men drink too much and teenage girls rebel, while the mystery disappearance of her mother hangs over her and her father, Niall.
This is one of those books where the setting is its own character, and the most forbidding one. Set in northern Scotland in a tiny
Sep 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Atmospheric and evocative, Pine stopped me dead in my tracks then wouldn't let me go, even long after I'd finished it. Pine conjures secrets half-buried in the cold, dry ground, cracking embers in dim fireplaces, and haunting presences in once familiar homes. I was reminded of Michel Faber's Under The Skin, with elements of the Millennium series, but Pine remains wholly original. There are masterful moments of tension and eerie atmospheres here, but no cheap shocks. Pine is the ideal book to ...more
Mary Picken
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Pine is a beautiful, fabulously evocative novel, set in a small village in the midst of the Highlands where all around pine trees create a world of shadows. Lauren lives in the village with her father Niall, a shadow of his former self, given to bouts of melancholia and drinking ever since Christine, his wife, Lauren’s mother disappeared.

Lauren was so young when her mother went tries to channel her through her alternative therapy books about spiritual healing through crystals and reading the
Alex (PaperbackPiano)
Jan 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a very enjoyable debut! Pine is instantly atmospheric; Toon does a wonderful job of conjuring the eerie, isolated setting and making her reader feel immediately unnerved. I genuinely loved the setting. Spooky forests with a hint of the mythical are my jam. But what makes Toon's setting work so well is the combination of this folkloric style with more modern references. The story is so well-grounded in reality that it makes it very easy to suspend your disbelief and accept the ...more
Daren Kearl
Dec 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Pine is set in a small hamlet in the Highlands, where a father, Niall, struggles with alcoholism and depression following the disappearance of his wife, Christine. As a result, his daughter, Lauren, is neglected and often left to fend for herself and is bullied at school.
Lauren does seem to have an unknown presence looking out for her, however, tidying her room and protecting her bed with a ring of polished stones.

This is a mix of family drama, dark crime thriller and supernatural.

Laura King
Oct 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
I read this spooky, atmospheric book in as few sittings as possible last week, eager to find out what exactly was happening in the remote Scottish highlands where Pine is set. The story follows Lauren, a young, lonely and thoughtful girl, who lives with her alcoholic father and does not remember her kind yet strange mother who disappeared under mysterious circumstances years ago. One Halloween night, a waif like woman appears in front of their car, which sets in motion Lauren's discovery of the ...more
Joe Thomas
Nov 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Gothic fiction has long been one of my favourite genres, as evident by several reviews recently on this blog, and it's been fantastic to see so many gothic novels publishing over the past few years. There's lots to love about gothic fiction, but for me the three key elements are a spooky, claustrophobic setting, a hint of the supernatural and tormented characters facing a dark, threatening plot. Add in the beautiful jackets that have adorned gothic novels in recent years, and it's a magical ...more
Miss R
Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Thanks to Random House and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

"Pine" is an accomplished debut from future literary star Francine Toon. With the pathos of "The Wicker Man", resonance of "The Turn of the Screw" and some enduring tropes of the psychological thriller, "Pine" is a spine-tingling, evocative tale of long buried secrets and the constructed nature of memory. For nothing is as it seems in the small Scottish hamlet in which Lauren and her father Niall live.
Oct 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
For her debut novel Francine Toon has demonstrated her writing skills and imagination to produce a chilling tale that blends harsh reality with the supernatural. She has also used her past experience of living in the Scottish Highlands to accurately portray and create a community with its two pubs and one convenience store where suspicion and gossip are pre-eminent. This is a creepy tale and has elements of the psychological thriller but at the same time veers towards the supernatural.

The story
Lel Budge
Jan 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Lauren and her father, Niall, live in a secluded area of the Scottish highlands. Her mother had disappeared years before when Lauren was a baby.

One night, after a trip to the village for Halloween they come across a young woman in the road. Naked except for a dressing gown, Niall takes the silent woman back to their home to help, but by morning she has disappeared.

Then young Ann-Marie goes missing… there a link between the two women? Is the same person responsible?

What follows is a moody,
Melanie Garrett
Dec 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved every word of #Pine. Lauren and Niall are perfect creations and who couldn’t do without more Billies and Kirstys in their life? To describe this as atmospheric - even hugely atmospheric - seems a grotesque understatement. Quite how she’s done it I can’t say but Francine Toon has conjured an atmosphere of nail-biting suspense that settles itself around the reader like Haar. Even when I was away from this novel, I was still there. Yesterday I couldn’t face that it would end and so forced ...more
Nov 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, gothic
Tartan Gothic.

Lauren and her father, Niall, live in a close-knit village in the Scottish Highlands, surrounded by a pine forest. Driving through the wood one Halloween, a woman stumbles into the road. They give her a bed for the night, but in the morning she’s gone and only Lauren remembers the woman was ever there at all.

Toon artfully misdirects the reader and piles on the menace, whether it is supernatural, a possible serial killer, or a schoolgirl bully. Her keen eye for detail grounds the
This novel is well-written but starts out slow, and continues that way for possibly a bit too long. From the midway point it finally starts to build and find its centre.

The description of place is very evocative and the dialogue works well, capturing the Scots language without slipping into hoky territory.
Jan 11, 2020 rated it liked it
This is a suitably dark and menacing tale, full of gothic or horror motifs for fans of the genre. Menacing trees, an isolated community, water drips from ceilings, ghostly figures picked out in the headlights... While the central character of Lauren is well done, the others were, for me, a little formulaic. Good atmosphere, edgy style, plot outcome a little predictable. 3 stars.
Rachel  Drenning
Dec 05, 2019 marked it as to-read
Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC of this book. Wonderful writing, mysterious atmosphere, excellent storyline. Finished this in one setting. Great book to read at night, snuggled up, during the winter months. Looking so forward to more of this author's work.
Nov 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved it !
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