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Publisher's Summary

They are driving home from the search party when they see her. The trees are coarse and tall in the winter light, standing like men.

Lauren and her father, Niall, live alone in the Highlands, in a small village surrounded by pine forest. When a woman stumbles out onto the road one Halloween night, Niall drives her back to their house in his pickup. In the morning, she’s gone.

In a community where daughters rebel, men quietly rage, and drinking is a means of forgetting, mysteries like these are not out of the ordinary. The trapper found hanging with the dead animals for two weeks. Locked doors and stone circles. The disappearance of Lauren’s mother a decade ago.

Lauren looks for answers in her tarot cards, hoping she might one day be able to read her father’s turbulent mind. Neighbours know more than they let on, but when local teenager Ann-Marie goes missing it’s no longer clear whom she can trust.

In the shadow of the Highland forest, Francine Toon captures the wildness of rural childhood and the intensity of small-town claustrophobia. In a place that can feel like the edge of the word, she unites the chill of the modern Gothic with the pulse of a thriller. It is the perfect novel for our haunted times.

©2019 Francine Toon (P)2019 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"It's both eerie and thrilling at once, and had me under its spell until the end." (Sophie Mackintosh, author of The Water Cure)

What listeners say about Pine

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Creepy and atmospheric

I couldn't stop listening and finished the book over two days. Cathleen McCarron's narration, as always, is excellent and brings out the nuances of the lush and lyrical text.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Ema
  • Ema
  • 06-02-2020

Not bad

Quite a good little story, quite enjoyable but wish there was more substance to the ending, there was a warm build up just felt it had potential to be better.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-03-2020

Tense drama

Realistic Portrayal of life in Highland Village, bound up with a tense story of the supernatural and the disappearance of a young mother. I enjoyed the performance of the narrator.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Busy bee
  • 27-02-2020

Poetic prose and beautifully narrated

The prose is rhythmical. The quality of the writing is excellent but the story appears quite slow at the beginning, however, it's for a reason and sets up what does happen and is worth the wait. Creepy and moving in places. Highly recommended.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Sarah Asher
  • 23-02-2020

simply captivating! loved this book 💚

Loved this, straight forward, yet twisting and turning, reality to supernatural.
captures the idiosyncrasies of Highland village life.
beautiful tormented chatacters brought to life well by the narrator 💚

3 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 20-02-2020

An engaging story

I loved the story and the way Toon tells it, it is not unfamiliar by that familiarity is part of it’s appeal. Engrossing and engaging, I listened to it quickly, desperate to hear more.

2 people found this helpful

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  • ClaireL
  • 10-02-2020

Good beginning & end, slow middle

I feel like you could only read the first & last couple of chapters to enjoy this book & save yourself the bother of the middle where nothing much happened.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-02-2020

good allround

don't expect much character growth or massive horror moments but if you're up for a story in an isolated setting with strong Wicca influence and genuinely creepy moments this is probably a good bet.

The plot isn't difficult to figure out so if you hate knowing what's gonna happen I wouldn't recommend. The narrator sounded a little too cheerful at some points and I feel the story would have had a darker tone without the voices she gave to the children (the main character is a child) and her positive inflexions but I think she did a good job and was a good pick for such a Scottish tale.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Rosie Brigham
  • 30-10-2020

terrible pacing

wonderful depiction of Highland life, with excellent Scots pronunciation - however the story was lacking. took forever to get going, and I really had to force myself to get through it.the main reason I did was I liked listening to the narrator.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Joelle hartley
  • 11-05-2020

very slow to start but good ending

Excellent narration is one of the main reasons I listened to the whole of this. The book starts very slowly - a lot of mundane events and repeated paranormal activity eventually culminate into a story line with a guessable ending. The main characters are quite frustrating at times though the premise of the story is an interesting one.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Sararara
  • 10-04-2020

Quietly bewitching

A slow burning eerie tale that deserves more of a fanfare. Everything about this story is understated: from dreamy, supernatural encounters and petty school bullying, to death, grief and daily life in the Highlands.
Where other books would have ramped up the drama, here there are measured responses and a quiet acceptance.
At times this is quite frustrating until you sink into the meandering story with its beautifully poetic turns of phrase.
The narration is faultless and helps lull you into a dreamlike state.
It’s quietly bewitching but if I have any criticism is that I would’ve liked more emphasis on Lauren coming of age, more focus on the ramshackle house, and clarity about the recurring smells. But it’s a great read.

1 person found this helpful

In the spirit of reconciliation, Audible Australia acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.