A Review: Tana French's Faithful Place

I’ve been getting a little behind on the book reviews.  I read The Thirteenth Tale after finding a great used copy at my local Goodwill back in January.  I LOVED the book, but because of so many unexpected situations, I never had the chance to sit down and write a review that would do it any justice. Although I really enjoyed the novel, there was so much information that I’d literally have to go back and re-read sections just to give you an accurate picture of what the novel has in store for the reader.  Mystery abound, the dark nature of the storyline is gripping from the start.  To make the title even more fantastic, our narrator is a book-loving young woman who spends her hours reading and perfecting the shelves of her father’s book shop.  It’s a must read if you like Southern Gothic literature and/or mystery/suspense/thriller titles.
Because I’ve never really sought work labeled mystery/suspense/thriller, I've found that I sort of stumble upon it when I see a really intriguing review or short snippet of a synopsis.  This is precisely the case with Tana French’s Faithful Place.   I’m so glad I have her previous novel, In the Woods, to read next, because it was so captivating.
Frank, our protagonist, is called back to his hometown neighborhood, 20 years after pledging never to return, when the suitcase of a girl he loved is found in an abandoned building.  Frank, himself, is an undercover cop by profession, and vehemently disliked by the seven family members he’s left behind.  Frank is faced with painful memories from a childhood that was anything but stable and healthy.  His father, an alcoholic, who frequently physically abused his mother, drove Frank to leave his five siblings behind, and forge a pact with his young love, Rosie, to set sail for England.  When his plans are mysteriously foiled, Frank sets off alone without looking back.  Back at Faithful Place, Frank is forced to face the failed attempt to depart with the young woman that night so long ago.  

I'm not quite sure I've read many fictional titles that portray such a negative family life.  At times, I found it extremely hard to consider the way in the which the family members interacted with one another.  Based on one of Dublin's poorer neighborhoods, French captures the essence of the neighborhood and the period, and perplexes the American reader with strong dialect.  Frank is an all-around interesting character and keeps the story going.  

A captivating read from start to finish, Faithful Place is perfect if you're looking for a little suspense.                                                                                                                                               


  1. I got Into the Woods for Christmas and hope to read it soon. I thought this series had to be read in order, but I'm glad to know I can jump among the three novels if I want to!

  2. When I requested this title I was unaware that it was apart of a series. Apparently Franks's character is briefly mentioned in one of the other novels but Faithful Place is his story. I will be reading the other two in order because I think the same character's appear in those and require the reader to do so to understand everything. It will be interesting to read the others because Frank (a member of the Undercover Squad)frequently bad-mouths the Murder Squad, which I believe is where the perspective comes for the other two. I really liked it!

  3. I haven't read any French but I remember viciously hunting for In The Woods at Half Price Books last year around Halloween - with no luck. Now I see it popping up here and there, but I want to wait until Halloween to read it, which is weird because I'm not really a seasonal reader - except for Halloween. I should probably just buy it next time I see it.

    Good to know you gave French a thumbs up!

  4. The Thirteenth Tale is one that I loved as well! I also have In The Woods, but haven't read it yet - I'm going to have to pick it up soon, I've read nothing but incredible reviews for it!

  5. Great review! I'm pushing Faithful Place up in my backlog...It's leaping ahead of many others ;)

  6. Yes, it's great. I LOVED IT. After your post today, I am definitely starting In the Woods this weekend. Hope you like it!


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