The Witch Elm

The Witch Elm

Toby is a happy-go-lucky charmer who's dodged a scrape at work and is celebrating with friends when the night takes a turn that will change his life: he surprises two burglars who beat him and leave him for dead. Struggling to recover from his injuries, beginning to understand that he might never be the same man again, he takes refuge at his family's ancestral home to care...

DownloadRead Online
Title:The Witch Elm
Author:Tana French
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The Witch Elm Reviews

  • Mackey

    Love LOVE and more LOVE for

    by the amazing Tana French!!

    Amicable Toby is a happy-go-lucky guy who fancies himself as one the "The Lucky Ones." He has a great job, although he did create a major mess there  - but he sorted out his mess so it's all good. He has an amazing girlfriend to whom he is faithful, except for a bit of a roving eye. And he has two terrific mates who love him, at least he thinks they do. But Toby's luck is about to change when he is brutally beaten and robbed i

    Love LOVE and more LOVE for

    by the amazing Tana French!!

    Amicable Toby is a happy-go-lucky guy who fancies himself as one the "The Lucky Ones." He has a great job, although he did create a major mess there  - but he sorted out his mess so it's all good. He has an amazing girlfriend to whom he is faithful, except for a bit of a roving eye. And he has two terrific mates who love him, at least he thinks they do. But Toby's luck is about to change when he is brutally beaten and robbed in his own apartment. Left for dead, in and out of consciousness for weeks, Toby is trying to put his life back together again while recuperating at his uncle's home, The Ivy House, where he and his two cousins summered throughout their childhood and teens. That is, until a human skull is found in the Wyche Elm, yes a cute play on words there, isn't it? Poor Toby - is anything that he thought true and real actually what it had seemed?

    Let me be frank with you, I only dabble in Tana French's series,

    . There are those that I absolutely adore and then there are those that I barely make it through. French does such an incredible, amazing job at developing her characters that if I don't connect with them, I don't enjoy the book.

    however, is a stand-alone and I love - have I already used the word love - Toby! My son's name is Toby and, ironically, my Toby and this Toby are very, VERY similar. It's not hard to see why I connected with the book, is it?

    More importantly, though, French creates a supporting cast of characters that are quirky, irritating, affable, hilarious and oh so very flawed. Through them, as they either look for the killer or attempt to cover up for the killer, we learn about family, forgiveness, love, mistakes, second-chances and, sadly, death. While there is definitely mystery and suspense here, this is not a "thriller." It is a slow simmering, beautifully written examination of family, particularly a family in crisis.

    Interestingly, as I have read other reviews and previews of the book, they seem to be divided into die-hard fans of the DMS and the rest of us and the ratings reflect that division. This is a book that stands on its own as a marvelously written, creative work that is well worth reading by die-hard fans as well as those of us who simply appreciate a well told tale. Well done Ms. French!

    FIVE emerald green Irish Stars for

  • Tammy

    Lucky and genial Toby meets the guys for a night out to celebrate his circumvention of a potentially career-wrecking incident at work. Afterwards, he is nearly beaten to death by intruders and his life changes dramatically. He lands at Ivy House to care for his terminally ill uncle and to recover from his own serious injuries. A skull is found in the Wych Elm which takes this finely crafted novel into the events of the past as experienced by the participants looking back from the present day. Im

    Lucky and genial Toby meets the guys for a night out to celebrate his circumvention of a potentially career-wrecking incident at work. Afterwards, he is nearly beaten to death by intruders and his life changes dramatically. He lands at Ivy House to care for his terminally ill uncle and to recover from his own serious injuries. A skull is found in the Wych Elm which takes this finely crafted novel into the events of the past as experienced by the participants looking back from the present day. Impaired and confused (or is he?), Toby tries to unravel the mystery of the skull which leads him to question who he was, who he believes himself to be, as well as, who he has become. His familial relationships are equally as distorted. This book crackles with realistic characterizations. At times, I felt as if I was listening to my husband and his friends good-naturedly jab at each other including that eye roll inducing middle school mentality that that tends to resurface when they are together. While a mystery exists, this book is more of a deep dive into the human psyche and an exploration of the perception of events from different points of view. I was transfixed.

  • Theresa Alan

    Wow. This is a very different novel for Tana French. Still wonderful writing and still more than one mystery to solve, but this isn’t a detective-tracking-down clues story. Instead, the first big thing doesn’t happen until about thirty pages in, and the second really big thing doesn’t happen until you’re well into the novel. This allows for serious character development not just of the protagonist, Toby, but of the supporting cast as well. I found myself incredibly invested in how things would t

    Wow. This is a very different novel for Tana French. Still wonderful writing and still more than one mystery to solve, but this isn’t a detective-tracking-down clues story. Instead, the first big thing doesn’t happen until about thirty pages in, and the second really big thing doesn’t happen until you’re well into the novel. This allows for serious character development not just of the protagonist, Toby, but of the supporting cast as well. I found myself incredibly invested in how things would turn out for Toby.

    After he’s severely injured when two men break into his home, Toby goes to the Ivy House, a family property where his Uncle Hugh lives and where Toby and his cousins spent their summer vacations until they went away to college at eighteen. There, the discovery of a human skull leads Toby to examine his life and question his family and friends and history—also, who is he now after a head injury.

    The writing is magnificent and the twists and turns deftly and satisfyingly surprising. This is much deeper than a typical non-stop action suspense novel. Highly recommend.

    For more reviews, please visit:

  • karen

    OH MY GOD, IT'S HERE! AND IT'S NOT AN ARC - IT'S A FINISHED COPY AND IT'S MIIIIIIINE! goodbye, rest of day. you belong to tana french now.

    ***********************************************

    UPDATE - while my plan to corner an unscrupulous intern (harlequin presents #945: cornering the unscrupulous intern) may have failed, the universe has provided, and i am going to be reviewing this for l.a. review of books - ARC is en route. A MOST FRABJOUS DAY, INDEED!!!

    ******************************************

    OH MY GOD, IT'S HERE! AND IT'S NOT AN ARC - IT'S A FINISHED COPY AND IT'S MIIIIIIINE! goodbye, rest of day. you belong to tana french now.

    ***********************************************

    UPDATE - while my plan to corner an unscrupulous intern (harlequin presents #945: cornering the unscrupulous intern) may have failed, the universe has provided, and i am going to be reviewing this for l.a. review of books - ARC is en route. A MOST FRABJOUS DAY, INDEED!!!

    ***********************************************

    these are the penguin random house offices in nyc. i am prepared to camp out in front of them until some kindly intern slips me an ARC of this.

  • Diane S ☔

    3.5 In this rather lengthy stand alone, French again explores the sense of identity, as well as the question, How well do we really know another person? Three cousins, children of four brothers, who have all spent their summers, vacations from school at the house where their unmarried Uncle Hugh lives. Grown up now, not as close as they once were, they all come together after Toby is attacked in his apartment and left for dead. Although he makes it, he has lingering effects from the attack, one

    3.5 In this rather lengthy stand alone, French again explores the sense of identity, as well as the question, How well do we really know another person? Three cousins, children of four brothers, who have all spent their summers, vacations from school at the house where their unmarried Uncle Hugh lives. Grown up now, not as close as they once were, they all come together after Toby is attacked in his apartment and left for dead. Although he makes it, he has lingering effects from the attack, one being his memory which has huge holes, blank spaces.

    So who is he now? He no longer feels like himself, far from the capable man he had thought he was. When a body is found in the old witch tree in his Uncle Hugh's garden, the Garda is notified. When it turns out t be someone they know, all come in suspicion, especially it seems Toby. The one Garda, reminded me so much of Peter Falk, playing Colombo. Dating myself I know. So the story goes,the very slow unraveling of a history of the characters. Intriguing story, well written as all of her novels are, the pace is very slow, and the pages long. One needs patience here, need to be in the mood for a slow burner. There are plenty of surprises, the characters interesting, myself I had a soft spot for Uncle Hugh, and the questions posed within, important ones.

    More a character study than a thriller I believe, though there are a few action scenes. I enjoyed this, but not as much as some of her previous works. Have a soft spot for her Dublin murder squad.

    ARC from Netgalley.

  • Dorie  - Traveling Sister :)

    I had only read one book before from this author and that was “The Trespasser” which I loved. This book was just an o.k. read for me, here’s why.

    I’m getting a bit tired of unreliable narrators, this seems to be a trend lately. Toby is about as unreliable as you can get since he has suffered a severe brain injury right at the beginning of the story. It all starts, as he states, on the night that he walked home from the pub to his house quite drunk and went to bed without turning on the door alarm

    I had only read one book before from this author and that was “The Trespasser” which I loved. This book was just an o.k. read for me, here’s why.

    I’m getting a bit tired of unreliable narrators, this seems to be a trend lately. Toby is about as unreliable as you can get since he has suffered a severe brain injury right at the beginning of the story. It all starts, as he states, on the night that he walked home from the pub to his house quite drunk and went to bed without turning on the door alarm. During the night some men came in and robbed him. He interrupted their ransaking when he opened the door to the main room and turned on the lights. It was at this point that they beat him almost to the point of death.

    So the story started out with a bang. From there we have many hundreds of pages describing his recovery, his relationship with his girlfriend, Melissa, etc. Finally amidst all of this upheaval he gets a message that his Uncle Hugo is terminally ill and between suggestions from his mother and his own thoughts of wonderful summers spent at Uncle Hugo’s Ivy house with his cousins Susanna and Leon “, he decides to temporarily move there to keep an eye on his uncle and his health. To his happy surprise Melissa decides to join him. There are many weeks of things going quite happily, considering his uncle’s diagnosis. I have to say this part of the book really moved slowly for me.

    One Sunday Susanna and her family and Leon were visiting at the Ivy House, there is a blood chilling scream from the yard. “Zach and Sallie were standing at the bottom of the garden. Both of them were rigid, arms out in shock and by this time both of them were screaming, Sallie’s piercing inhuman high note rising above Zach’s ragged howls”. Turns out that the children have discovered a human skull in a deep hole in the Witch Elm in the garden. The adults do what seemed right at the time and called the police.

    The detectives spend weeks and weeks investigating the skull, ruining the garden with their digging and setting everyone’s nerves on edge. They did find an entire skeleton and identified it as Dominic, a friend of Toby’s and now they have to find out the reason the skeleton is here. Did his commit suicide as had originally been thought, did someone kill him, did he fall by accident?

    The story slows down quite a bit as we are introduced thoroughly to each of Toby’s cousins, what they were like when they were teens spending summers at the Ivy House and what they are like now. Ms. French relies entirely on our interest in her characters to move the story along, it doesn’t really make for a page turner. Her writing as always is superb and I always learn new words when reading her books. Here are a few for you to ponder: “hippogriff, decoction, burger and garrote.

    Just when things seem to be winding down and I was really getting tired of the book, bang, something really disturbing happens. This was at about 85% so it came as quite a shock. What ensues next is for you to discover as well as the ending.

    Ms. French did touch on some timely topics with this story including, family relations, bullying, PTSD and sexual harassment. I do love reading her novels just for the beautiful writing. My stars would be 5 for writing and 3 for slowness of the plot. On this afterthought I am changing my rating to 4 stars but remember you will have to have patience!

    I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher through Edelweiss.

  • Emily May

    I actually didn't love a

    book...

    . I just

    I jinxed it by writing that first paragraph in

    .

    I keep trying to convince myself to bump this up a star because it's hard to believe Tana French can write anything that isn't amazing. It's definitely not a bad book, but

    - French's first standalone outside of her

    series - just didn't contain a lot of the stuff I've loved from this author.

    To start with, I fee

    I actually didn't love a

    book...

    . I just

    I jinxed it by writing that first paragraph in

    .

    I keep trying to convince myself to bump this up a star because it's hard to believe Tana French can write anything that isn't amazing. It's definitely not a bad book, but

    - French's first standalone outside of her

    series - just didn't contain a lot of the stuff I've loved from this author.

    To start with, I feel like my love for French is centred around her awesome, snarky, flawed, messy, human detectives. The crimes are whatever; the detectives - their voices, quirks, passions and personal histories - are what make her books so damn addictive. I shipped Rob and Cassie so hard in

    , and Cassie herself made the implausible plot of

    actually okay. I will probably never get over Frank and Rosie from

    . And that's before we've got to Kennedy, Moran and the ferocious Antoinette Conway.

    Toby? He just doesn't compare. He's an asshole, but it's not that because sometimes assholes can be interesting (I might want to rewrite that sentence later). It's more that he's obnoxiously clueless, a self-proclaimed "lucky bastard" wrapped in a bubble of his own privilege. He's tall, blond and handsome, works at a PR firm, has a loving girlfriend and a group of good friends, and pretty much gets away with everything. He's a person who thinks this about poor, homeless people:

    Flaws are interesting, but Toby's casual misogyny, judgement of others, and condescension make him extremely irritating. Plus, French's narrators are typically smart and intuitive, so Toby's head-scratching was frustrating.

    I think I can trace a lot of my issues back to Toby. For example, I usually enjoy the long-winded nature of Tana French's books. She can get away with waffling on because I genuinely enjoy learning details about the characters, and listening to them have pages of dialogue about something unrelated to the plot. But I was so uninterested in Toby that huge chunks of this book made me want to go to sleep.

    , too. I get the point of the lengthy build-up in order to understand Toby as a character - someone who has been handed everything in life without having to face the struggles others would have, and someone who cannot believe it when he meets his first misfortune - but that didn't make it any more enjoyable to get through. It's a good hundred pages before the main story even rears its head.

    I also can't deny that I miss the exciting investigations and police procedure the detectives usually take us through.

    But I don't want this to get too negative. French does a lot of excellent things in this book and she digs into something interesting with Toby: how someone's luck, privilege, whatever-you-want-to-call-it can really affect not just a person's physical circumstances but their entire outlook on life. He's a conceptually fascinating individual, but it was so hard to find sympathy for him. It was this, in the end, that made me unable to care who the murderer was.

    |

    |

    |

    |

  • Meredith

    Toby has had all the luck in the world. He has natural good looks and things come easily to him: his jobs, his friends, and his girlfriend. He comes from a loving upper-class Dublin family, who can offer financial support when needed. Needless to say, Toby hasn’t faced many struggles in his young life, until one night when his luck runs out and his life changes forever.

    Toby is the primary unreliable narrator. I enjoyed getting inside of his head. I was riveted for about the first 20%--

    What bothered me was not that there wasn’t much happening and the amount of information provided seemed superfluous.

    Tana French certainly knows how to write a sentence; her characters are finely crafted and well-developed. The setting is multidimensional and takes on a life of its own. I really enjoyed the ending and having the opportunity to witness a complete view of Toby’s transformation.

    I received an ARC of this book from Edelweiss and Penguin Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review.

  • Hamad

    This review and other non-spoilery reviews can be found

    🌟 Have you ever watched a TV series or a film and you knew from the start it is not just for you, but it was interesting enough to make

    This review and other non-spoilery reviews can be found

    🌟 Have you ever watched a TV series or a film and you knew from the start it is not just for you, but it was interesting enough to make you watch a bit more and then more and then you were invested enough to continue the whole thing only to regret the whole process at the end. Well, those were my feelings toward this book!

    🌟 I am as disappointed now as I was excited now when I was approved for this ARC-which is quite a lot- I wanted to read something by Tana French for ages now and I wanted a standalone rather than her Dublin Murder squad series. I thought everything was going to be perfect until I started reading this…

    🌟 I started this after finishing 3 books in 3 days and I was so excited, I started it while I was a bit tired and got bored so I blamed myself, took a break from reading and started it once again from the beginning the next day, it was a bit better but still I knew I won’t like it.

    🌟 So enough ranting and let me explain why I didn’t enjoy this; The writing was sybaritic and voluptuous (who uses these words??). The writing was from 1st person POV and the main character used lavish words that I have never heard from anyone IRL. If it had been a 3rd person POV, then it would have been the author using this language and it would have made much more sense. People in real life don’t talk the way this was written! Also the words Xanax and Bollocks were used every couple of pages and I could not un-notice them then which became annoying!

    🌟 Also it is supposed to be a thriller and I only started to get hooked after 30% of the book. See this quote:

    Boy, I wish it was an Agatha Christie book, Agatha would have almost a whole book in the 30% that it took me to get involved in this. This was so descriptive and slow, that it felt like a 600-700 pages rather than 464 pages.

    🌟 There was much time spent on characters development and backstories. Unfortunately many details can be omitted and it would have been the same. I wasn’t fond of any character but I just powered through this as I don’t like to DNF ARCs.

    🌟 By the end of the book, many things happened and one thing took me by surprise. I sadly have lost interest by that time and just wanted to finish. I ended up giving it 2 stars out of 5!

    🌟 Summary: This book had a good idea and it can be surprising but I think it had bad execution. It could have been faster, simpler and with more relatable characters. I saw many reviews that said this was not as good as her Dublin Murder squad which is a good news for those -including me- who still want to give Tana a chance.

    🌟 Prescription: For those who are patient and can tolerate slow-paced books.

Best Free Books is in no way intended to support illegal activity. Use it at your risk. We uses Search API to find books/manuals but doesn´t host any files. All document files are the property of their respective owners. Please respect the publisher and the author for their copyrighted creations. If you find documents that should not be here please report them


©2018 Best Free Books - All rights reserved.