My Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Age Category: New Adult/ Adult
Type of romance: MF
Trapped in a tedious job without fulfilment, ambitions, or a boyfriend, Izzie Murray’s only passion is researching her ancestry. But the beautiful mural of her family tree switches from a distraction to an obsession once she hits a mysterious gap in the timeline. Why would an entire family just disappear?
With an intense craving to find the last pieces of the puzzle, Izzie ditches her life in England to investigate the last known whereabouts of the family – the little town of Bulwark, Georgia. Between the unnatural behaviour of the local wildlife, tales of witches, and the overpowering draw of a puddle of weird goo, she’s only finding more questions to answer. The instant attraction to the one resident in town that seems to be on her side isn’t helping either.
Bulwark does not give up its secrets easily. And sometimes things are hidden for a reason.
I was lucky enough to win this book in a giveaway. As this is the only book at the time I hadn’t read yet by the author I was excited to have a copy of it now as well. When I hit a particularly nasty reading slump I decided to pick this one up, because what better than a book by one of your favorite authors to get you out of a slump?
While The Missing Branch isn’t my favorite book by this author, I did really enjoy it. And it caught my attention in a time when few books manage to do so, it definitely gets bonus points for that. Kay MacLeod’s writing style is pleasant and I liked this story which is so different from her other series.
The Missing Branch is a relatively short read, but the pacing was done well. After a short introduction scene Izzie is off to the United States to find more about the missing branch of her family tree. I thought the focus on her ancestry and wanting to find out what happened to them was an interesting focus. Once she’s in the United States the pace slows down a bit while we follow her research to find out what happened to her ancestors when they got here. The town of Bulwark has it’s own personality almost with the slightly creepy and mysterious vibe and strange things that are happening there. It made me wonder what’s going on here.
There also is a bit of a romance as Izzie grows close to a local boy in Bulwark. While their romance definitely developed quickly, I did like what the romance added to the story. And the twist at the end had more impact because of the romance.
My main issue with this story is the abrupt ending. It just felt a bit rushed and some questions feel unanswered, but that might be intentional. It did wrap up most of the plot line, but it also made me wonder if this is really the end with the way it’s open ended enough. This story is also part of a series of short stories all set in Bulwark, so I feel that reading those might expand on the world and the town and characters more. Even so this one could easily be read as a standalone.
To summarize: I enjoyed reading this book. It kept my attention from start to finish. Kay Macleod’s writing style is pleasant to read and I liked following Izzie in this book as she tries to find out what happened to her ancestors who went to America. It has a bit of a mysterious and creepy vibe with unexplained things that are happening when Izzie is in Bulwark. There is a bit of romance as well, which develops quickly, but I did like them together. The ending feels a bit sudden and abrupt and leaves me wondering what happens next, but that might be intentional. While part of the Bulwark series this one can definitely be read as a standalone.