Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Pine” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.49  ·  Rating details ·  3,745 ratings  ·  636 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
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published January 23rd 2020 by Doubleday
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Pine, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
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.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.49  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,745 ratings  ·  636 reviews

Sort order
Start your review of Pine
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
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 Laurens 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
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
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.
DNF. Ive read great reviews of this book but Im 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 Im enduring rather than enjoying. Its not for me. 21/9/20 - just awarded the William McIlvanney Prize. I am gobsmacked! ...more
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?
Francine Toons 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, its quite ironic that theres 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 their ...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 dont 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
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
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
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. Theres a feeling that anything could happen here and either no one would ever find out or they wouldnt find out until long after the fact, when its 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 its driving me crazy cause it felt so unnecessary and only to make the book longer and this book is
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, ...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
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.
Didnt really like any of the characters and its left me yearning for a classic.
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
Feb 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
In an isolated community in the Scottish Highlands, 10-year-old Lauren narrates the tale of her life with dad Niall as she tries to cope with bullying at school and the disappearance of her mother Catherine when she was a baby. One night she and her father are travelling home when they see a woman wandering in the road in nothing but a dressing gown - they take her home and her father looks after her but, in the morning, her father has no recollection of the woman. And when she appears to other ...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 didnt 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 setting
Filled with all the eerie dark and uncertain things. I think this is exactly what I was after when I picked up Liminal and this delivers so much more - not perfect, but well on the way there.

The choice to make ten-year-old Lauren the main point-of-view was brilliant: she has a wonderful mind, and viewing much of the happenings through a child's eye means that there is an even greater sense of unsettlement, adding to the whole uneasy atmosphere of the story.
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%
Barb (Boxermommyreads)
Well, now that was interesting. I really don't know how else to describe it. I was highly anticipating this book and I'd love to be able to tell you what it's about and recommend everyone pick it up, but basically, I'm still not sure what I read. I do agree with the synopsis in that Toon does desolation and dread really well because I did get that from the prose. But unfortunately, nothing really happened until about the last 30 pages of this book and by then I just wanted it over.

Lauren is a
Miriam Smith
Feb 24, 2020 rated it liked it
Debut novel Pine by Scottish author Francine Toon is a realistic, utterly atmospheric, haunting read that will leave true literary fiction readers agog for more by this talented writer.
The story contains many themes to it, from a gothic atmosphere, to grief, mystery and a hint of the supernatural. I also enjoyed the inclusion of mysticism and the reading of the tarot cards, something I own but have yet to perfect.
The characterisations are second to none and young Lauren the main female
Nov 09, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I admit I struggled a bit with this book. The story was interesting, a bit like a ghost story, with some nice characters and I found it was like an old fashioned tale in many ways with mystical aspects.

The writing is quite lovely, often with a beautiful turn of phrase or description which makes for nice reading. It was also really atmospheric but my god it was slow moving which made it hard for me to get into. The book is full of mystery and this slowly builds throughout but after a while I
Oct 29, 2020 rated it liked it
This is an enjoyable modern Gothic read. Toon's prose are at times very beautiful and she creates a great atmosphere of fear and gloom. The story is intriguing and the characterisation of Niall, Lauren's father, is well done and moving.

Lauren is supposed to be a 10-11 year-old school girl and the story follows her searching for her missing mother, Christine. Some descriptions of her thoughts and actions simply seem too mature and therefore unrealistic for a small girl.

Another slight issue was
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: Please edit title 2 11 Oct 02, 2020 05:16AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Making a Psychopath: My Journey into 7 Dangerous Minds
  • Afraid of the Christmas Lights: An Anthology of Crime Stories
  • American Dirt
  • The House
  • Bad Debt (Robbie Munro, #6)
  • Marilou is Everywhere
  • The Sisters (Cormac Reilly, #0.5)
  • Starve Acre
  • Bloodstock
  • The Holdout
  • Love Until it Hurts
  • A Sociedade dos Sonhadores Involuntários
  • Disobedience
  • The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep
  • Five French Hens
  • Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?: And Other Questions About Dead Bodies
  • Agent Running in the Field
See similar books…
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.

Related Articles

  Whether you love the horror genre or just tiptoe into it ahead of Halloween, we have book picks for every level of scared you want to...
433 likes · 282 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“Whenever Lauren feels scared in the dark, she lets it wrap around her, opening up her other senses until she becomes part of it, moving as silently as she can. She creeps to the stone hearth and sweeps out the grey ash into a dustpan. Then she piles the fire with kindling, as she often does when her father is out in the evening, laying down a piece of firelighter with half a peat block and striking” 0 likes
“She doesn’t smell unpleasant, but familiar, of how she imagines the moon might smell, or a flower that only bloomed in winter. The woman shows her a silver ring on her finger, two hands holding a crowned heart, and then holds it out in her palm. They hear distant explosions.” 0 likes
More quotes…