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3.83  ·  Rating details ·  327 ratings  ·  104 reviews

'It's both eerie and thrilling at once, and had me under its spell until the end.' Sophie Mackintosh, author of The Water Cure

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

Kindle Edition, 330 pages
Published January 23rd 2020 by Transworld Digital
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Average rating 3.83  · 
Rating details
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Amalia Gavea
''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
Feb 08, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Liz Barnsley
Oct 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ☽
Will I purchase this book based on its cover? Well, you know me.
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
Eric Anderson
Jan 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Louise Wilson
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.
Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Théo M.
Jan 28, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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?
Jan 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As soon as I saw the description "Gothic Thriller" I knew I had to get my hands on this book. As an avid thriller fan who likes their books with a side of supernatural I was keen to read this one.

Set in a small village in the Scottish Highlands, Francine Toon creates a mysteriously haunting and eerie tale that touches on loss, father daughter relationships, small village life, all with a supernatural edge.

It's set in the present day with references to social media but reads like a ghost story
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
Joanna Park
Jan 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jodie (jodie.loves.books)
This was such a dark, atmospheric book! I was immediately drawn into the eerie story through the beautiful writing and perfect setting and I think this is the ultimate book for a dark, Winter’s night!

In Pine we follow Lauren, a young girl who lives with her Dad in the Scottish Highlands. Her Mum vanished when she was tiny and she is dealing with lots of issues in her life. When a local girl goes missing in the woods, suspicion is rife in the community and a huge search begins to try and find
Abbie | ab_reads
Dec 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mysterious and unsettling, Pine unfolds slowly but builds to a tense and gripping conclusion. I loved the setting and the folkloric, witchy elements.
Jan 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
Based on the cover alone, I was super keen for Francine Toon’s Pine which turned out to be a beautifully atmospheric and disconcerting novel and my favourite read of the year so far.

Set in a small town in the Scottish highlands, 10-year-old Lauren and her father Niall’s life is overshadowed by the enigmatic disappearance of Lauren’s mother and Niall’s partner, Christine, and the trauma that ensued.

The icy climate made for an eerie and haunting atmosphere that was an immensely enthralling and
Sep 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Rachel Bridgeman
Jan 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: january-2020
I had the funniest feeling that I would love this book when it started appearing in Book Twitter mentions-one look at the synopsis and I was hooked.

From the spare and deliberate use of language, to the use of the present tense to create an atmosphere of immediacy, everything about this book is a wonder.

Told in alternate persepectives , that of almost 11 year old Lauren and her father Niall, this is a folklore and gothic inspired tale of a small Highland village bordered by pine forests. Not only
The Coycaterpillar Reads
Just where do I start? Francine Toon has spun a beautifully unsettling story. Her imagination for novel writing is what Einstein was to science. The book cover is completely apt – it visualises everything the story promises to be. It’s desolate, it’s eerie and it’s intensely unnerving. If you have followed this blog tour and you haven’t added this to your TBR – well, there is something wrong with you! This book and it’s captivating writing has been building in hushed tones upto a deafening ...more
Jan 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: physical-arcs, 2020
Pine is a thriller/crime/horror novel set in a Highland village that, to those of us who live or grew up in similar locations, will be especially chilling.

Laren lives with her Father, not only on the outskirts of the community geographically, but also societally. Seen as different because of her mother's disappearance when she was only tiny, Lauren struggles with bullies at school and the growing awareness that her family set up isn't seen as normal and that there are many stories and rumours
Alex (PaperbackPiano)
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
Jan 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
My thanks to Random House U.K. /Transworld for an eARC via NetGalley of Francine Toon’s highly anticipated debut, ‘Pine’, in exchange for an honest review.

First off, in terms of design its stark white and black cover with stag/forest motif was extremely eye catching. It conveys both a sense of beauty and of unease given the surreal image. Ever since I spotted the cover and read the premise I felt that ‘Pine’ was likely to prove the kind of novel that I would fall in love with. This proved to be
Jan 31, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gothic in feel and quite eerie, this is a rather gloomy story set in the Highlands of Scotland. I found this book to be a story of two halves - the first half I thought was well written but quite depressing as we got to know the characters and their relationships. There is a slowness (not a criticism) and a bleakness that makes it difficult to 'enjoy' as such, when you are trying to get into the story. The pace changes in the second half when the action takes a more lively turn and becomes less ...more
Daren Kearl
Dec 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.

The Literary Shed
Francine Toon’s child protagonist, Lauren, lives with her troubled, alcoholic father, Niall, on the edge of a forest in the remote Highlands. Her mother, who some believe was a witch, disappeared years ago and Niall and the local community have never quite got over it. Lauren herself is drawn to the mystical, to spells and tarot.

Driving back one Halloween, they come across a woman stumbling along the roadside who Lauren recognises; they take her back home with them, only to find she's vanished
Jan 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Welcome to my spot on the blog tour for Pine. A big thank you to Francine Toon, Doubleday Publishers, and Dark Room Tours for allowing me to take part!

This book is just unsettlingly chilling. It makes you believe in magic and folklore just a little bit. I was honestly so creeped out so many times with tihs book, especially when characters persistently forgot things that had happened and just seemed to act like this was normal! I wanted to shake Lauren a little bit and demand she push further on
my bookworm life
I was very kindly sent a copy of this book from the publishers as i took part in the review tour.

This was quite different to anything that i have read before, so i found it a bit hard to get into for a while, more so the first half of the book i did struggle with a bit and didn't think it was for me, but i am glad i carried on with it because it's a really eerie, atmospheric and interesting story. The descriptions of the surroundings and everything are so vivid, so that creepy and closed in
Jinghay (TheSecretNoceur)
I absolutely loved this book!
It was mysterious, suspenseful, and honestly SO eerie sometimes that I couldn't help but feel a little scared.
The supernatural parts really added to the whole atmosphere of the story and I was so curious to find out more about the disappearance of Lauren's mother.

Lauren, by far, was my favourite character. She's such a sweet child and has to go through so much in the book. I just really wanted to give her a hug and protect her

The author does an amazing job of
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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.
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