Children’s Book Reviews

Children's Book Reviews: The Unquiet Past

Publish January 8, 2016

Kelley Armstrong’s The Unquiet Past is one of seven books in the highly anticipated Secrets series.  Written by a different author, each book in the series focuses on one of the seven orphaned teenage girl after a fire destroys the Benevolent Home for Necessitous Girls. In Armstrong’s novel, the only memories sixteen-year-old Tess has of her life before arriving at the Home are more like nightmares. She is tormented by hallucinations of people from the past and being buried alive. After the fire, Tess follows the only clues she has about her family to rural Quebec in hopes of learning about her parents and finally discovering the truth behind her terrifying visions. Her investigations at a decrepit insane asylum in the tiny town of Sainte-Suzanne raise yet more questions, and soon Tess is in serious danger. With its unmistakably gothic themes, The Unquiet Past is perfect for readers who enjoy stories about conspiracies and the paranormal. Stubborn, independent, fashion-obsessed Tess is easy to cheer for, especially as it becomes apparent just how much energy she puts into hiding her secret and how scared she is of actually being crazy. Tess’ relationship with Métis orphan Jackson teaches her about the importance of teamwork, and the inevitable romance between the two encourages, rather than limits, Tess’ growing thirst for knowledge about the world. Although some of Tess’ experiences are fairly intense, and may be disturbing to sensitive readers, they are central to the plot and allow Armstrong to explore themes of mental illness, secrecy, and the myth of being “normal.” The Unquiet Past is a deliciously creepy, but ultimately satisfying, tale that will leave readers curious about the fates of the other orphans in the Secrets series.

The Unquiet Past

Kelley Armstrong
Orca Book Publishers
ISBN 13: 978-1-4598-0654-2

Roseanne Gauthier
Roseanne Gauthier

Roseanne Gauthier is the Youth Services Librarian for the Prince Edward Island (PEI) Public Library Service, and is PEI's 2017 award-winning 'Champion of Reading'. She has worked in the Faculties of Education at both the University of Prince Edward Island and Mount Saint Vincent University and spent two amazing years as the Children’s Librarian at the Confederation Centre Public Library. She holds an MLIS from Dalhousie University, and an MA from the University of Waterloo. Roseanne lives in Charlottetown, PEI with her husband, their adorable daughter, and two tuxedo cats.

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