The May Queen Murders by Sarah Jude easily fits into the overlapping worlds of horror, suspense and romance. Freakier than gore, it’s not the usual fright-fest and instead pulls from Ozark lore that builds in tension as the secrets of traditions are unearthed.
Satisfyingly spooky, The May Queen Murders pulls readers into a maze of what ifs and whodunit while developing a diverse lot of suspicious characters.
An ALAN January pick, this novel should please fans of multiple genres and ages.
About the Book:
Title: The May Queen Murders
By: Sarah Jude
Pages: Hardcover, 304 pages
Release Date: May 3rd 2016
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Stay on the roads. Don’t enter the woods. Never go out at night.
Those are the rules in Rowan’s Glen, a remote farming community in the Missouri Ozarks where Ivy Templeton’s family has lived for centuries. It’s an old-fashioned way of life, full of superstition and traditions, and sixteen-year-old Ivy loves it.The other kids at school may think the Glen kids are weird, but Ivy doesn’t care—she has her cousin Heather as her best friend. The two girls share everything with each other—or so Ivy thinks.When Heather goes missing after a May Day celebration, Ivy discovers that both her best friend and her beloved hometown are as full of secrets as the woods that surround them.
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Q: What particular May Queen myth inspired The May Queen Murders? What’s the story behind it for you? Why were you fascinated by it?
A: How do you choose which girl is the embodiment of spring? It’s a duality—historically, the girl picked as May Queen was virginal and yet it’s a fertility rite. Spring is the season of new growth, animals bearing young, the end of winter’s barren expanse.The May Day festival has been more prominent over in the UK than the US, but there are pockets of communities that had a May Queen crowning. Often she led a parade and is much celebrated. While there has never been any proven sacrifice or ritual murder associated with May Day, the old movie The Wicker Man--not the Nicholas Cage version but the old one with Christopher Lee—portrays that rumored side of May Day.When my editor took the book to the acquisitions meeting, she cited that movie as something it reminded her of, and honestly, it was an inspiration point.The real story for me lies in the secrets people hold and how your face on the outside can contradict what your face is inside. The process of choosing a girl seemed a ripe setting to exacerbate already growing rivalries.Sometimes the people you are closest to are the ones you are also most at odds with, so exploring that was definitely a touchstone of writing THE MAY QUEEN MURDERS.
About the Author:
Sarah Jude lives by the woods and has an owl that lands on her chimney every night. She grew up believing you had to hold your breath whenever you passed a graveyard or bridge spanning water.Now she writes about cemeteries, murder, and ghostly apparitions.She resides in Missouri with her husband, three children, and three dogs.