Friday, November 11, 2016

Review & Excerpt: Walls of Ainsley - S.J. Lynn

Walls of Ainsley
by S.J. Lynn
Published: November 10, 2016
Genre: Suspense, Mystery
Brigham Ainsley is the son of the most notorious mass murderer in Surrey, England. The Ainsleys built this orphanage decades ago. Considered odd and eccentric for their time, the family remained secluded, shutting out the world. It is believed Brigham's father, Allister, finally snapped, killing the children and family at his mercy.

Scarlet, a fresh out of college journalist, knows there's an untold story here and sets off to England to hopefully guarantee her career working for the top magazine company located in San Francisco. It isn't long before the locals tell her to turn around. They say Brigham could still be alive—or he's dead and haunts the place. It isn't long before Scarlet finds out which story is true.

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4.25 Stars
ARC provided in exchange for an honest review.

Dark and mysterious, Walls of Ainsley holds within its pages a story of secrets, desperation, fear, and even romance. Told from alternating POV's, the main characters, Brigham and Scarlet, want to get to the bottom of the mystery, but for entirely different reasons. Scarlet is driven, to the point of being slightly obsessed, but her POV is the most enlightening because of that determination. I loved that she was fierce in her want for Brigham, but also in her want for the truth. I love that she uncovered the secrets, that she knew even more than those who were living within the house. Brigham is a heartbreaking character, the kind you both avoid and want to wrap your arms around. I was torn about my feelings for him, because you see how much he's been effected by the past and his current circumstances, you ache for his loneliness, but the reader also sees the sinister secrets in the shadows and the alarm surrounding him as a character is very real. The secondary characters are driven by their single-mindedness, they thing only of themselves and sway those surrounding them into believing it is for the greater good. While the characters left me torn in several directions, the suspenseful thriller kept me hanging on to every word. The reader is left in the dark, only shown glimpses of the horrors that wrought the old orphanage, but as Scarlet uncovers the truth the readers are taken on a twisted journey where more questions are unveiled than answers.

S.J. Lynn gifts the reader with her eloquent writing, intriguing characters, and a mystery that will give you the creepy crawlies from the very first page. While the book does end on a bit of a cliffhanger, the story is complete and S.J. Lynn ends on a perfect moment, with the reader given a handful of information that will leave them horrified by their assumptions of what the truth really is. I really enjoyed this suspenseful mystery and I cannot wait for the sequel.

He took a step toward her. “I need to show you something, and you have to promise not to tell Todd or Martha.” Scarlet looked up. Hope flickered inside, but she was also slightly afraid. “What is it?”
“Follow me.”
“Uh, I’m not sure that’s—”
“Whatever it is you think you know about me, please don’t dwell on it at this moment. I need to show you something.”
They walked down the dark endless halls until they came to an old pantry filled with jars of dried beans, noodles, and spices covered in thick layers of dust and cobwebs.
“What is this? What’s in here?” she asked.
“Not what’s in here…but what’s through here.” He took out a key and unlocked a secret door.
“It’s dark. Is this the basement?”
“No,” he said and flipped a switch on the inside wall. Light flooded the small hidden room, revealing a set of stairs. “Please, come see.”
She had no reason to trust him and he had no reason to trust her.
Bretta trotted around the corner and brushed up against Brigham before turning to Scarlet.
She scratched Bretta’s ears and felt the unease knotting in her belly loosen. “Okay. Just for a bit.”
The tension in Brigham’s face, his shoulders relaxed, and he nodded.
He took the first step down, and Bretta followed.
When his feet touched the cement floor, he turned and looked at Scarlet still standing at the top of the stairs. “What is it?”
“I just—”
“I won’t hurt you, Scarlet.”
And I want to believe that, but how? She shook her head, sighed, and took a step down. It took a while, but she eventually made it.
She reached the bottom and took in the cement floor and walls made of stone. It’s a whole other building down here. Evidence of his inherited wealth. “What is this place?” Awestruck by the enormity of the space, even if it was old and dirty, Scarlet thought of the magazine and her article. There is so much more to this place than anyone realizes.
“The manor was built on top of this building by my great-grandparents. Their grandparents, as well as their mother and father, all lived down here before them. They never strayed beyond these walls.”
“Like something kept them here,” she whispered, more to herself than Brigham. “So, your great-great-grandparents lived here first?”
“That is correct.”
She turned to him with furrowed brows. “It’s underground.”
“They were…introverts.”
“Like you?”
As if she hadn’t said a word and introverts somehow explained the eccentricities of his entire family, Brigham replied with the last answer Scarlet expected. “My family believed they could change the world by raising unwanted children and then sending them out in society hoping they’d make it a better place.”
Her eyes lit up. She was fascinated and couldn’t help herself as the reporter in her kicked into gear. “You mean, like, a spiritual movement?”
He cocked his head to one side. “They weren’t trying to be like Jesus. They were merely trying not to be like mankind.”

About S.J. Lynn
For S. J. Lynn, books have always been a passion of hers, and a way of expression.
As a child, even to this day, she spent most of her days daydreaming. What can she say? Now those daydreams are on paper being shared with many!
Her goal is to help people be able to escape the anxieties of life through fiction. She hopes people will also fall in love with her characters; the ones she’s been imagining all her life, and now.
S. J. Lynn is a wife to an adoring husband. She's also a proud aunt, and a loving daughter.

Other books by SJ: Standalone Romantic Suspense
Through the Fog
The Heart's Shrapnel
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