The Haven by Fiona Neill #review

Book cover of The Haven by Fiona Neill

Title: The Haven
Fiona Neill
Publisher: Michael Joseph


Sixteen year old Cass Sawyer wakes up in the woods with a head injury.
She has no recollection of what happened.

But she recognises where she is. The Haven. The idyllic, off-grid retreat her parents claimed would heal their broken family.

As Cass searches the now deserted buildings, memories begin to trickle through.

Her father’s erratic behaviour. Her mother’s pleas that they go back to town. The Haven’s charismatic, free-spirited leader. The strange girls that hang on his every word.

And a nagging feeling: that Cass has done something terribly wrong.

What happened at The Haven? Where is Cass’s family?
And will they ever escape?

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My review:

The Haven is a strange, unsettling, mysterious book that kept me reading on!

The book follows the Sawyer family as they embark on a radical lifestyle change, leaving behind their comfortable lives for the mysterious eco-community known as “The Haven.” Fueled by Rick’s obsession with the enigmatic Mo he met at a festival, they head into the remote English wilderness.

The narrative cleverly flips between the present, where teenager Cassia finds herself in danger, and the past, gradually revealing the events leading up to this critical moment. This structure maintains a constant sense of mystery, urging the reader to piece together the puzzle. I think this dual narrative works really well.

While all the characters may not necessarily be likeable, Neill portrays them with a depth that makes them feel real. The idyllic descriptions of The Haven’s way of life are punctuated with a growing sense of unease, masterfully building tension throughout the novel.

There are a fair few moments which you need to suspend your disbelief for, and I can see why this might put some readers off, but for me, I enjoyed the rest of the book so much that I didn’t mind this. Fiona Neill highlights how seemingly rational people can be swayed by manipulation. We see the family start off (mostly) in high spirits but slowly the tone of the book changes with the family as their spirits sink and they no longer feel safe. And it ends with a bang!

My rating: 4/5

Many thanks to the publisher, Michael Joseph, for providing a copy of this book on which I chose to write an honest review.


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