The Grave Tender: Review and Giveaway

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By Eliza Maxwell
  Genre: Women’s Fiction / Psychological Suspense
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Date of Publication: April 11, 2017
Number of Pages: 248
Rating: 4/5

Scroll down for Giveaway!


A chilling psychological suspense novel, The Grave Tender explores the dark boundaries people cross to save loved ones, and the limits of family bonds tested by the deepest of betrayals.
Endless questions from a shadow-filled East Texas childhood haunt Hadley Dixon. People said her mother, Winnie, was never quite right, but with one single, irreparable act, life as Hadley knew it was shattered. The aftershocks of that moonlit night left her reeling, but the secrets and lies had started long before.
When a widowed and pregnant Hadley returns years later, it’s not the safe harbor she expects. The mysteries surrounding a local boy’s disappearance remain, and the townspeople still whisper about Hadley’s strange and reclusive Uncle Eli—whispers about a monster in their midst.
But Hadley’s father and grandmother, the cornerstones of everything safe in her world, avoid her questions. If Hadley stays here, will she be giving her children the family they need or putting their lives in danger?

The hunt for answers takes a determined Hadley deep into the pine forests, in search of sunlight that will break through the canopy of lies long enough to reveal the truth.


“The Grave Tender will grasp you in its hooks from the beginning as you try to figure out the truth behind each character, because no one is truly what they seem … Addicting, easy to read, and hard to put down.”Shelbi LeMeilleur, Insite Magazine


* * *


When I started reading this book I was anticipating it to be like the movie A Man Without a Face. And let me just saw, it was truly nothing like it. I knew this story was going to be dark, but I hadn’t expected the truly dark turn this story took. The Grave Tender is heartbreaking and deep, a gravestone of bones in its own making. The sinister shadows revealed, to me, were unexpected. It’s gritty and real and even though the book was very well done, I’m not entirely sure how I feel right in this moment as I write the review. I’m left with a mixture of turmoil for the main character, the pain she experienced, the secrets that surrounded her life were truly upsetting, but there is a glimmer of hope at the end of the story, showing that one can survive after such darkness. I can’t help but wonder after reading this, how does one go on from there? How does someone endure all those emotions that Hadley must have been feeling? I can’t even imagine living on the cornerstones of such a dark and tragic past.

I will say this, the story was very gripping. It delved in the past with ease and I found myself captured by the story telling of the tragic events that had transpired in the Dixon home. Maxwell moves through the story fluidly, jumping back and forth in the timeline, and it is very beautifully done. I was never confused by the shift in the story from person to person or from present to past. And I found myself eager and anxious to find out what had happened to this family. Their stories were tragic. Their stories were dark. They pulled at the strings of my emotions.

The characters were amazing. My favorite is Eli. I knew instantly that there was more to Eli than what there appeared to be. Eli was frowned upon by others in town because he was a recluse, kept to himself, and had scars on his face. And though others tried to blame Eli for misdeeds that happened, I knew he would be our Man Without a Face, and that his story would be heart wrenching. But each of the characters in this story have a heart beat of their own. Walker, Gran, Sam, Kate, Hadley, Jude…. so many effected by the acts that transpired in this small town. Like a tree burned at it’s root that slowly decays over time. But on this tree grows a small leaf, a small glimmer of hope, at least for most of them.

There were several times in this story where I wanted to yell at the characters and say “What is wrong with you, turn the person in!” I’m not excusing by any means what this person had done, but it shows us too how twisted people can become by horrible, horrific things. Perhaps I shouldn’t show a small ounce of compassion in that regard, but how can I not? When I know that if that person had been raised the right way, without being abused or molested, that they would have at least had a chance at a happy, decent life. Still, I wanted that person to be accountable for their actions. Regardless of what had happened to that person, they still needed to pay the consequences.

This story does deal with molestation of a child and abuse, for those of you that this might be a sensitive topic. But it’s a very well told story and the characters are very memorable. And it does give hope. Hope that in the darkest of times, justice will carry out, and through all the pain, people can find a way to live again.

Eliza Maxwell lives in Texas with her ever patient husband, two impatient kids, a budgie named Sarah, and a bird dog who lives a tortured existence.  She’s an artist and writer, an introvert and a British cop drama addict.  A former bookseller with a lifelong love of the written word, she can often be found barefoot on the front porch lost in a good cup of coffee and a great book.



Grand Prize:The Bookworm Basket ($150 Value)
Signed paperback copy of THE GRAVE TENDER
$50 Amazon gift card
Plush decorative throw blanket (Smoke Grey)
Greatest opening lines of literature coffee mug
Taste of Texas Coffee variety pack
Ferrero Rocher Gift Cube
Library card socks
Paperback copy of THE LIFE WE BURY by Allen Eskens
Paperback copy of SISTERS ONE, TWO, THREE by Nancy Star
1st & 2nd Runners-Up:
Signed paperback copy of THE GRAVE TENDER
 (U.S. Only)
Book Trailer
Author Interview
Deleted Scene

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