Review of Blue Bottle Tree by Beaird Glover

There’s no such thing as Voodoo. At least, that’s what most of the Baptists in Bellin tell themselves. But Seven LaVey knows better. 
In a small rural town just outside of Nashville, Voodoo conjures and curses simmer and seethe under the noses of the many who will never know. Seventeen-year-old Seven romanticizes about the meaning of life while held captive as a zombie under the shell of a kiddie pool. He’s counting on the strength – and maybe even love – of a certain redheaded clarinet player to save him. But will she?
Filled with betrayal and revenge, two families struggle with a curse that stretches back to Queen of the Voodoos Marie Laveau in this contemporary Southern Gothic adventure. Prepare for a wildly original twist on the paranormal. 

Before I write this review, I must say that I have long been intrigued by all things Voodoo. So, after reading the blurb of this book and being given the opportunity to read a copy by a book review group, I jumped at the chance!

The book started out in an interesting way, from the viewpoint of Seven, so named because he is a seventh generation descendant of the famous Voodoo Queen, Marie Laveau. Seven is infatuated with Penelope Langston (but he calls her Longstocking because she wears black stockings). In fact, he watches her as she practices clarinet from the vantage point of a cave.

The book held a lot of promise, but several things about it made it less than a 4 or 5 star read. First of all, the chapters are told from the viewpoint of many different characters, but you only know that after you have read a paragraph or so. It would have been helpful if the author had titled the chapters with the character speaking.

Also, the book started out reminding me of a YA book, then evolved into the violent torment of Seven and twisted sexual perversions between some of the characters. Without spoiling some of the story, I also found that the few adult characters wavered between all seeing and all knowing and totally clueless.

The best parts of the book were the extensive histories of Voodoo practices and Marie Laveau’s family. The author obviously spent a lot of time researching and it shows throughout the book. I read a book many years ago called “The Serpent and the Rainbow” and later saw the movie based on this book. This book reminded me a lot of that book/movie. That in itself is a recommendation since I read that book over 30 years ago.

If you like twisted tales that involve Voodoo or enjoy reading about YA characters who obviously need a mental evaluation, check out this book. The author is a very good writer and I enjoyed a lot of the book, but I just can’t recommend it as one of my favorites.

BTW, the cover is wonderful!

3*

Blue Bottle Tree is currently available through Amazon and other outlets through Parliament House Publishing

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