Where Darkness Blooms by Andrea Hannah

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, Wednesday Books

Date of publication: February 21st, 2023

Genre: Horror, Young Adult, Fantasy, Mystery, Thriller, LGBT, Lesbian, Queer, Fiction, Mystery Thriller

Trigger Warning: Mention and referral to sexual assault and rape, death, loss of loved ones, child abandonment, mentions of cancer, trauma, mentions of drugging, gun violence, violence

Purchase Links: Kindle | Audible | B&N | AbeBooks | WorldCat

Goodreads Synopsis:

Andrea Hannah’s Where Darkness Blooms is a supernatural thriller about an eerie town where the sunflowers whisper secrets and the land hungers for blood.

The town of Bishop is known for exactly two things: recurring windstorms and an endless field of sunflowers that stretches farther than the eye can see. And women—missing women. So when three more women disappear one stormy night, no one in Bishop is surprised. The case is closed and their daughters are left in their dusty shared house with the shattered pieces of their lives. Until the wind kicks up a terrible secret at their mothers’ much-delayed memorial.

With secrets come the lies each of the girls is forced to confront. After caring for the other girls, Delilah would like to move on with her boyfriend, Bennett, but she can’t bear his touch. Whitney has already lost both her mother and her girlfriend, Eleanor, and now her only solace is an old weathervane that seems to whisper to her. Jude, Whitney’s twin sister, would rather ignore it all, but the wind kicks up her secret too: the summer fling she had with Delilah’s boyfriend. And more than anything, Bo wants answers and she wants them now. Something happened to their mothers and the townsfolk know what it was. She’s sure of it.

Bishop has always been a strange town. But what the girls don’t know is that Bishop was founded on blood—and now it craves theirs.

First Line:

The land had always been parched but its thirst for blood was learned.

Where Darkness Blooms by Andrea Hannah

Bishop is a town haunted by sunflowers, windstorms, and missing/murdered women. The most recently missing women, a trio of best friends, left behind four daughters: Delilah, Whitney, Jude, and Bo. They are surviving the best they can, but they all want answers to two crucial questions: Where are their mothers, and why are so many women being killed? As they dig into Bishop’s history, they realize something isn’t right with the town. The closer they get to the truth about Bishop, the more danger they are in. What is Bishop’s secret? Why are women getting killed and going missing? Will the girls find out the truth, and at what cost?

I admit it; I mainly accepted the publisher’s invitation because of the cover. I usually don’t get books purely based on their covers, and this was a rare expectation to that rule. I am glad I did because this book was one of the creepier ones I have read this year. It was sufficiently scary and made me want to know why the author made sunflowers so evil.

Where Darkness Blooms storyline centers around the town of Bishop and four abandoned girls: Delilah, Whitney, Jude, and Bo. It explores the aftereffects of child abandonment and trauma gritty and raw way. But this book also showed that most people rise under extraordinary circumstances (in this case, the town and a madman out for their blood). I was equally saddened and amazed at what these girls could do while their mothers were gone.

The town of Bishop was creepy. It was blocked off from the rest of Kansas by unending fields of sunflowers. Those sunflowers always seemed to be watching the town. The fields were where the murdered women were found and where the girls’ had a memorial to their mothers. Bishop started getting weirder and weirder as the book went on. Even though it was fictional, the wind started driving me nuts. I couldn’t figure out how the wind and the sunflowers were connected until the end of the book. Everything (and I mean everything) was explained at the end of the book.

I liked Delilah. She came across as the group’s mother hen and was determined to look after the other girls. Her relationship with Bennett was different. I don’t know if I could stand to be with someone whose touch hurt me. But, somehow, she managed, even though she liked someone else. I felt terrible for her because while she missed her mother, she figured her mother had voluntarily left her. She was so sad, yet so strong.

Whitney was a huge factor in determining why their mothers left. But, when things started coming to light, Whitney was the one who did the leg work. She went and interviewed her ex-girlfriend’s grandmother in the nursing home. She was also the one that put two and two together about the town founder. All while fighting an attraction to a nurse’s aide who helped her and running from the bad guy.

Jude is Whitney’s fraternal twin. I didn’t have an opinion of her until her past with Bennett was discussed. Then I had an “oh crap” moment when I realized it was Delilah’s Bennett. I found Jude a little mopey and somewhat obsessive over Bennett. But she could do what she had to when push came to shove.

I wasn’t a fan of Bo. She was so angry and self-destructive for almost the entire book. It was hard to imagine her as happy in any form. I got at least some of her anger. I would have been pissed, too, if my mother had just disappeared. But, it was clear from the beginning that her anger was more than that. I would love to say she was helpful, but I felt she hindered more than helped. Her temper gets her into some trouble towards the end of the book.

I was shocked at who the villains turned out to be. Well, one of them, I was surprised at who it was. The other two, I had a feeling they were bad news. Coupled with what they could do with the wind, I wasn’t surprised that they played with the girls as long as they did. Of course, why they did it was also explained, and it made me so mad!!

The end of Where Darkness Blooms wasn’t what I expected. I can’t get much into it, but I wasn’t very excited when certain things happened. I was expecting one thing, and the complete opposite happened. But it was that last chapter that made the book for me. I was pleasantly surprised by what the author revealed and then by what the author had that character do.

I would recommend Where Darkness Blooms to anyone over 21. There are language, violence, and sexual situations. See also the trigger warning section at the top of the review.

Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press, Wednesday Books, NetGalley, and Andrea Hannah for allowing me to read and review Where Darkness Blooms. All opinions stated in this review are mine

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4 thoughts on “Where Darkness Blooms by Andrea Hannah

  1. I’ve got this one coming up, so I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it! Also have Wildblood and Such Pretty Flowers waiting.

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