Chime by Franny Billingsley


ChimeReviewed by Teri Davis

Living near London in the first half of the twentieth century gives most readers a sense of the setting. However, living in a swampy area creates an environment based on superstition and witchcraft.

Briony Larkin has guilt issues. She feels responsible for her twin sister’s lack of development due to a childhood injury and also her stepmother’s death. What really happened?

Briony and Rose Larkin are the unusual twin daughters to the local Reverend. For years, Briony lived as the wolfgirl of the swamp while Rose seemed to be a lost immature child. Since their mother died giving birth to the twins, the Reverend struggles raising with these two.

Finally, the two sisters are developing love interests and their relationship with their community is becoming strained, especially when a suspected with is hung. After her death, since the body did not turn to dust, that was the proof that the red haired woman was innocent.

Briony has the gift of second sight and can view when someone will die. She also sees spirits, brownies, and creatures that normal people do not even know exist. She doesn’t want to die by being accused of being a witch, so she has the constant challenge of not fitting in, when she truly feels that she never
does belong.

Chime has issues of jealousy and the problem when it is not controlled. Also are the issues of misplaced guilt and accusations, as well as arsenic poisoning. The characters are self-centered, unusual, flawed, and frequently shallow. The storyline does move quickly and constantly is turning and twisting. With the setting being in the superstitious swamp, there are numerous fantasy aspects.

Franny Billingsley has previously written Well Wished, Big Bad Bunny, and The Folk Keeper. Working as a lawyer was a challenge and Franny decided to live her successful career to live in Spain while finding herself. After reading numerous children books, she ran out of money and returned to Chicago to work as an independent book buyer. She now enjoys her life in this area.

Overall, Chime is an enthralling young adult read. I would recommend that Chime is for the older teenager due to the relationship issues.

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