Dreaming Darkly – Caitlin Kittredge

After her mother dies, seventeen-year-old Ivy Bloodgood is sent to Darkhaven, a small island off the coast of Maine, to live with her mother’s brother Simon. Ivy and her mother haven’t had the most stable of lives, moving from place to place and existing on what they could make reading tarot cards and stealing. Ivy isn’t sure life is going to be much better at Darkhaven, a place made “from granite blocks the size of Volkswagens”.

Ivy doesn’t know much about her mother’s family and when she arrives at Darkhaven she realizes she might not have known very much about her mother, either.

Why would my mother have left this behind? She was ruthless, and she loved money. I couldn’t believe poor-little-rich-girl syndrome have driven her out of this spectacular house and away from the credit cards and clothes and cars that came with a family like this. Never mind the inheritance.

Darkhaven isn’t a safe haven, though. Almost as soon as she arrives, Ivy begins having horrifying dreams of blood and violence. Then there’s the Ramseys, the only other family who lives on the island. There’s bad blood between the Ramseys and the Bloodgoods, but that doesn’t stop Ivy from spending time with Doyle Ramsey, the only person she feels like she can trust.

There’s a lot going on in Caitlin Kittredge’s YA novel Dreaming Darkly. As Ivy digs into her family history, she starts to discover that her mother had withheld more than just the size of the house she grew up in. Uncle Simon isn’t all that forthcoming with the family stories, either, and that just makes Ivy even more determined to get to the bottom of the family secrets. And there are lots of them.

While I did enjoy reading this book, I think it’s about 100 pages too long. The last 25 pages, as the secrets of Darkhaven are revealed, happen so quickly, you barely have time to get your feet underneath you. There were lots of moments in the middle that just slowed the narrative down and probably didn’t need to be there. There were also some instances where characters appeared only as a way to impart information to Ivy; they didn’t seem to serve any other purpose.

Still, if you like family secrets, a creepy location, and a plucky heroine then Dreaming Darkly might just be the book for you