Thursday, October 8, 2015

Author Spotlight: Sanctuary by Jennifer McKissack

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 1:00 PM


Jennifer McKissack lives in Texas and writes for teens. She's working on another YA Gothic with a haunted manor house, family secrets, and romance, this one set on the moors of Scotland.

Title: Sanctuary
Author: Jennifer McKissack
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication: September 29th 2015
Cover Rating:3/5


I have stated in previous reviews that ghost books are a guilty pleasure of mine. So, of course I would want to read Sanctuary. It is told in the time of WWII, I believe. The book has a very old time feel to it though. Living on an Island with barely any modern luxuries will do that to a book. But it also felt very elegant and haunting, albeit, creepy, too.

Cecilia is just as haunted AND haunting as the island, Sanctuary. She has lost so much and has been cast away from the only place she has called home only to be pulled out of her school and sucked back to the island after her Aunt Laura's death. She didn't want to come back but at the same time she didn't want to leave. Her entire family is buried on Sanctuary and she has no one left. She is spunky and inquisitive. I do wish she was a little less shy though. She should have got in her Uncle's face.

Eli was cute, smart and funny. What's not to like about a young professor who loves books? Plus he kind of sticks up for Cecilia and isn't afraid to put Uncle in his place. 

I wanted to jump through the book and kill Uncle. If a guy ever talked to me or treated me the way he treated women I would probably be in jail. He was such a horrible human being. Married again not even a month after his "beloved" wife died. Treats Cecilia like she is an abomination. I know he probably wasn't in his "right" mind.. But either way. The person who Uncle was portraying was horrible.

Mary was rather disgusting. Throwing herself at Eli and treating Cecilia pretty much the same was Uncle did. She was such an ass kisser. Bringing up Cecilia's dead family at any given chance and rubbing it in that Cecilia really didn't have any reason to be on the island anymore since she wasn't a blood relative of Uncle. 

As the book progressed it grew more haunting and sad. Learning about Amoret and the Dr. and everything surrounding Captain Winship and taking over Amoret's village. It was all just so sad and horrible. But, if anyone had a good enough reason to haunt and entire Island, Amoret definitely did. We meet so many new people and the mystery of Cecilia's family and Amoret just gets sadder and weirder. 

I just couldn't imaging being in Cecilia's position. She had no one. She was hated by her uncle and treated pretty badly by Mary. You could tell that there was something evil at work here. There is no way this much tragedy could befall one family in such a short period of time. 

This book was such a great read. It was a little slow at parts but I think that was because it has such tiny print. The chapters are super short though. So it contains something I hate, tiny print, and something I love, short chapters. I want to say soo much more but I know all of it would be spoilers so I will leave the review at this and say that if you love ghost stories and something that will haunt your soul then this is the book for you

Overall, I gave the book 4.5/5 stars.


1) What was the inspiration behind Sanctuary?
REBECCA by Daphne du Maurier. I first read that classic novel as a teen and many times since. 

2) Do you believe in ghosts?
I’ve never seen a ghost, but I’m open to the experience. 

3) Which would you prefer? A man like Eli or a guy from this time period?
Wow. What an interesting question! I feel like I need to write an essay on that instead of a short answer. And I kind of want to ask you that question back! Which would you prefer? 

Eli is – as my editor said – dreamy, and forward-thinking for his time. I’m quite fascinated by him. I don’t want to say more because I don’t want to reveal spoilers. 

But guys of today are cool too. 

4) Coffee or tea?
How I love my coffee. Until death do us part.

5) If you had the choice to go back in time and choose when you were born, would you? and if so, what you/time period would you pick and why?
I’m well-suited for this time period. I wouldn’t have done well in a time or place that had fewer opportunities for women. We still have a long way to go, but things are much better than they were. I saw how my mom suffered from societal expectations of what she should be; I’ve often thought how glad I was not to be born when she was. 

But still . . . other time periods have a hold on me. I love to immerse myself in research or in novels exploring past events or centuries or places and imagine myself there. 

6) If you could live on a private Island for the rest of your life, would you?
I’m an introvert and enjoy solitude, but no. I need people around me too. And bookstores. Real live bookstores.

7) How would you pitch Sanctuary to the people who are reading this interview?
Ghosts, family secrets, an old mansion that seems to be a living thing . . . if you want to immerse yourself in a Gothic story about a girl exploring her family’s unsettling past on a spooky island off the misty coast of Maine, SANCTUARY is the novel for you. And romance. You need to enjoy a bit of romance.

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