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3.45  ·  Rating details ·  7,354 ratings  ·  1,064 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 gone
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published January 23rd 2020 by Doubleday
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Phil Lewis A quite mature 14 year old I'd say. There's allusions to a fairly nasty event but it's only build-up and aftermath described.…moreA quite mature 14 year old I'd say. There's allusions to a fairly nasty event but it's only build-up and aftermath described.(less)
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Average rating 3.45  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,354 ratings  ·  1,064 reviews

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Ruby Granger
Dec 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was one of the best books I've read this year. It is set in the Scottish Highlands (in the modern day) and focuses on ten-year-old Lauren who lives with her dad on the outskirts of a hamlet. Though the book is told in the third person, the narration is quite clearly through Lauren's eyes. Toon uses child-like similes ("her hair was as black as school shoes") and picks up on the little details which only children really seem to. A truly wonderful narrative.

The plot also has a nice mix of su
Amalia Gkavea
''With all the lights on, there is still a darkness in the house.''

In a small community in the haunting Scottish Highlands, the strange disappearance of a mother has cast a shadow over the lives of the residents. Lauren, a 10-year-old girl, lives with her father and tries to find the links that may lead to the resolution of her mother's enigma and the healing of her family's wounds. Strange incidents, insecurity and bullying form a terrible labyrinth for the young girl.

This novel is really some
Feb 08, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
I was really looking forward to Pine as it is described on the Book Jacket as “both eerie and thrilling” and seemed to be a perfect choice for one of my February reads. However, I am afraid this one failed to either thrill or creep me out hence my 2 star rating.

Set in the Highlands of Scotland in a small village surrounded by Pine Forest. Lauren and her father Niall are struggling through life after the disappearance of Lauren’s mother a decade ago. Neighbours whisper and gossip and appear to
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 beguili
This book bewitched me. It's been days since I finished it, and I'm still mooning about the house like I've lost a friend.

It's such an immersive, completely captivating experience. I should qualify that it's doubly so for me because it's essentially set in my childhood; I grew up in the North East UK rather than Scotland, but the language and setting were so nostalgic for me. But that's not to write off the author's (amazing) talent; it wasn't nostalgia but some fantastic writing that had me al
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
NAT.orious reads ☾
Jan 23, 2020 marked it as to-read
Shelves: cover-porn
Will I purchase this book based on its cover? Well, you know me.
Feb 20, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 Stars. Pine is written well and has an intriguing premise. I kept getting this particular title recommended to me.
It is a slow burner to begin with, folk horror usually tends to be, as it follows a young girl Lauren and her father Niall. It is clouded in mystery, as they have been dealing with the disappearance of Lauren’s mother, Niall’s wife, Christine (she is presumed dead). It gives the reader the claustrophobic feel of this small Scottish village and it immerses you in mysteries that su
Théo M. (bookswiththeo)
Such a disappointment.

The book opens up really atmospheric, and has the potential to be really interesting. And story at its core had a lot of potential.

However the mystery element was really poorly written at the end. The entire actual plot only introduced and solved within 20 pages no lie.

The prose was SO WEAK and incredibly stilted. The whole story felt really dragged out with so much useless detail, just to be rushed and solved in 20 pages.

What was the point in reading this?
DNF. I’ve read great reviews of this book but I’m not in tune with them at all. I was expecting a thriller but instead I got a slow burning, not very menacing, predictable tale set in the Highlands but it could have been anywhere. Eventually I decided life is too short for books I’m enduring rather than enjoying. It’s not for me. 21/9/20 - just awarded the William McIlvanney Prize. I am gobsmacked!
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 th ...more
Feb 13, 2020 rated it liked it
Pine by Francine Toon is creepy, thrilling and has a supernatural feel to it.
It keeps you on the edge for what's coming next but I felt I was dropped into the middle of the story and not feeling which was or what was going on but it's a book you need to stick with just to know and the ending left me with the ' oh right ' feeling and I realized I didn't really care because I needed more of something.
I will definitely try this author again.📖
Eric Anderson
Jan 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I don’t know why reading something which is slightly spooky set in a cold location during the winter months is so satisfying, but it is. “Pine” takes place over the chilly months of Autumn and Winter in a remote town in the Highlands of Scotland where the community often helps each other through personal difficulties and hard times, but there are also long-held secrets, bullying villains and mysterious characters.

The story centres around the lives of an adolescent girl named Lauren and her hard
Oct 31, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This modern gothic thriller wonderfully depicts a small Scottish village surrounded with mystery and folklore traditions.

The opening set at Halloween sees father and daughter out 'guising', on the way home they encounter a women stumbling out of the road. Niall takes her back to their home along with 10 year old Lauren, only to find that the stranger has disappeared the following morning.

Whilst the mystery wasn't entirely engaging, it's both the Scottish Highland setting and the relationship bet
Louise Wilson
Jan 22, 2020 rated it liked it
This story is set in the rural Scottish highland community. Lauren and her father, Naill are driving through the wood that surrounds their village one Halloween when a woman stumbles onto the road. They take her home with them ut in the morning she has disappeared. Only Lauren remembers that the woman was there. But where has she gone? Then Ann-Marie goes missing. Is there a link?

This is an atmospheric and suspenseful read. It starts off as a slow burner but the pace picked up around the middle.
Oct 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
I liked this a lot. I enjoyed the writing style, the dialogue, the setting and the characters. I did think it ended almost quite abruptly, but overall it was a good, creepy, suspenseful read - perfect for October!
Mar 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
An engrossing story set in the Scottish Highlands, beautifully atmospheric with touches of gothic, folklore, mystery and the supernatural. It's a tale of a child not only coping with her father's ongoing grief but her own emptiness at the mysterious loss of a mother that she was too little to remember. The story feels like shadowy corners and things glimpsed out of the corner of one's eye and seems to almost drip with chill and mist. This reminded me very much of Starve Acre and Devil's Day, so ...more
What was the point of this story?

Included in my January Wrap Up video

It wasn’t really ‘moving’ anywhere. Words on a page.
Got a little interesting towards the end...then it ended.

1.5 stars
Mar 31, 2020 rated it liked it
What I liked most about Pine was the atmosphere: a remote village in the Highlands of Scotland surrounded by deep forest and infused with magic and mystery. There’s a feeling that anything could happen here and either no one would ever find out or they wouldn’t find out until long after the fact, when it’s too late. Ten-year-old Lauren lives with her father Niall; her mother, Christine, has been missing for years and is presumed dead. But starting on Halloween night, when Niall drives Lauren out ...more
Brenda Waworga
Feb 26, 2020 rated it it was ok
Descriptive writing style is rarely work for me… and this one isn't work for me as well, The design and premise of this book are really interesting but the execution is MEH in my opinion

90% of this book I swear is just about the author trying to describe EVERYTHING!!… from the color of the wall, the itsy bitsy tiny details on the desk and wall, the clothes, the people, what they buy on grocery store… it’s driving me crazy cause it felt so unnecessary and only to make the book longer and this boo
greta ☁️
Nov 24, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
dnf. i absolutely did not enjoy reading this at all.
A delicious slow burn that rewards the patient reader. I was trying to decide what to read last night and picked this because of the cover - that cover! - and it was a fine choice. Starting with going guising on Halloween with her friend Billy, this puts you into the day to day lives of ten & a half year old Lauren and her dad, still eyed with suspicion and distaste by the town after the disappearance of Lauren's mother when she was a baby. Lauren gets teased mercilessly by her classmates, but t ...more
Thomas Strömquist
Brilliant start of the reading year. Flowing, beautiful narrative and a haunting, mesmerising, dreamlike story that just draws you in. I was waiting for a change of atmosphere, of pace or just for the story to ket me have some breathing space, but it didn’t - just spun on, pulling me deeper into the darkness of it. And yet I felt like I could not have enough. Great characters, great location and a really great ending. I just capitulated and threw all the stars onto this one. Obviously recommende ...more
Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Dark and moody, Pine felt like the perfect winter read, easily read in one sitting. At times utterly terrifying, there is an air of unease to the entire novel.

I could talk for hours about the Scottish Highlands setting, just this in itself was completley captivating. The snapshot of life, in a small remote village, was perfection. The fragile and fractious neighbour relationships are explored thoroughly, and its evident just how much small communities in remote locations rely heavily on each oth
Mary Durrant
Oct 12, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was drawn in by the cover an expecting a gothic thriller.
Very disappointing no suspense and just ambled along.
Another hyped up book which could have been set anywhere, no feeling of time or place and nothing much happened.
Didn’t really like any of the characters and it’s left me yearning for a classic.
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 setti
Renee Godding
Dec 18, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020-releases
''With all the lights on, there is still a darkness in the house.''

3/5 stars

After reading Francines Toons debut novel, there is no doubt in my mind about two things:
1. She is a very promising author, whom career I'll be sure to follow.
2. This book just didn't work for me

What I loved about Pine was the atmospheric writing. An eerie mist of forboding floats between the pinetrees that surround this remote Scottish Village, creating the feeling that anything could happen at any moment. I also
Alice (Married To Books)
Pine has received a lot of attention from readers and bloggers in the UK, so when I saw it available to purchase as a 99p e-book deal, I had to get my hands on a copy. Set in Scotland, the spookiness starts from the first page. Lauren is 10 years old and while travelling home with her father Niall in the dark, they both spot a strange woman (almost ghostly figure) yet when they transport her out of the cold and into their house, the following morning changes everything. Every time someone sees t ...more
Sipping Tea With Ghosts
Jun 01, 2020 rated it did not like it
If this book is supposed to be eerie and thrilling, I suppose whoever wrote that on the cover lives in fear of whenever they have to go grocery shopping at night. No, this story is the exact opposite of thrilling. Thrills promise at least some form of consistent or occasional adrenaline pumping pace, but this 300+ page story is slower than a snail dying on a salt factory floor. The proper pairing of words for this novel is mundane and overwritten.

Every chapter in this story is about 80% descrip
Feb 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
From the moment you reach for Pine there is static electricity. The soul of the cover is perpetuated by an energy that seems to be constantly moving in the background, that grows more evident, stronger, as the pages go by.

The pace is slow at the beginning, the language a lulling song being whispered in your ear, a spell that seems to conjure a force that wills you to brave the darkness, to immerse yourself in it.

Speaking of darkness, the relationship of the novel with the concept is polygonal an
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Francine Toon grew up in Sutherland and Fife, Scotland. Her poetry, written as Francine Elena, has appeared in The Sunday Times, The Best British Poetry 2013 and 2015 anthologies (Salt) and Poetry London, among other places. Pine was longlisted for the Deborah Rogers Foundation Writers Award. She lives in London and works in publishing. ...more

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