The Unmaking of June Farrow
Grade : A

True confession – despite the fact that I’ve heard nothing but praise for Adrienne Young’s last book, Spells for Forgetting, it’s been on my TBR pile for months for no other reason than I have a small library’s worth of books to get through and there are only so many hours in the day.  But her new book, The Unmaking of June Farrow had such an intriguing description, I dove right into it as soon as I received it – and I’m so glad that I did.

The book starts in the present day by introducing us to June Farrow, one of a long line of Farrow women who have been whispered and gossiped about in their small town of Jasper, North Carolina because of their strange behavior.  Everyone believes that the Farrow women are cursed.  June has been raised by her beloved grandmother because her mother disappeared after leaving an infant June in an alley – never to be seen again.  The story begins with the death of June’s grandmother and the reveal that June herself has spent the last year experiencing the same symptoms and presumed descent into mental illness that all of the rest of the women in her family have suffered from.  I really loved the setup to the story and the way it was written.  You know that something is wrong with June – it’s obviously not normal to see things and hear people who aren’t there – but you’re not quite sure what’s going on.  It immediately makes you root for her as she explains that knowing she suffers from this affliction has stopped her from pursuing a romance with her best friend, Mason, despite being in love with him for years, because she doesn’t want to end up a burden on him, and she knows that no matter how much she wants to, she can’t have children with him for the same reason.  A star-crossed love story will get me every time!

The story really kicks into high gear when shortly after her grandmother’s funeral, June receives a photograph from her sent before she died.  The picture was taken in 1911 and is of Nathaniel Rutherford, the well known town minister who was murdered in 1950, a crime that has never been solved and that has captured the attention of the residents ever since.  The twist?  Standing next to him is his wife, June’s mother – decades before she would even have been born!  This was the point where I started to get excited and turn pages as quickly as possible.  I love a good time travel story (as evidenced by my obsession with the Outlander series!) and I was immediately hooked.

June tries to tell Mason, but she knows she sounds ridiculous.  Still, she begins to investigate her discovery and only gets more confused when she finds evidence that she might’ve been born – and died – in 1912.  But how is that possible?  She has no idea what to think or if she truly is losing her mind until her grandmother’s oldest friend, Birdie, reveals that she isn’t going crazy – but won’t tell her anything more except that the next time June sees a door appear out of thin air in front of her, she should walk through it.  Intriguing, right?

Despite her hesitancy, June takes Birdie’s advice and goes through the door.  And that’s when the story kicks into high gear.  June suddenly finds herself in the past, the year 1951, a time she has obviously never been before, except… people seem to know her.  A lot of people.  Including a mysterious man and young girl that she seems to be having memories about herself.   Who are they to her and why won’t the other Farrow women she meets there tell her more about what’s going on?  I’m struggling a bit here with how much to give away because I think the book will be much more enjoyable the less detail I give – the reader should get to experience it all for themself without knowing what’s coming next.

What I can say is I loved this book.  It’s such an interesting mix of genres and stories.  There’s time travel and swoon-inducing romance and June discovering who she is and deciding who she was meant to be.  All of the Farrow women are forces to be reckoned with – strong women who support each other through everything – and I enjoyed getting to know all of them.  (Just don’t think too deeply about the details of the time travel aspect of it because it can get very confusing.  Accept it all at face value and move on).  The book also contains several mysteries – why is June starting to forget her life in 2023?  What happened to June’s mother?  Who murdered Nathaniel Rutherford?  The police chief seems to think it was June, but she’s not a murderer.  Or is she?  By the time all of the stories converged at the end, I was holding my breath and praying that June would figure it all out and find her way to a happy ending.  And in the sign of a truly good book, I was torn about what exactly that happy ending should be!

I truly enjoyed reading this novel and highly recommend it.  In fact, I loved it so much, I moved Spells for Forgetting to my nightstand and plan on starting it tonight before bed!

This review is by Stacey Pulwer

Reviewed by Guest Reviewer
Grade : A

Sensuality: Warm

Review Date : October 19, 2023

Publication Date: 10/2023

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  1. “What follows next is the Forced Seduction scene. Sigh! I had heard these were popular in romance novels written in…

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Over the years, AAR has had many a guest reviewer. If we don't know the name of the reviewer, we've placed their reviews under this generic name.
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