Impossible Causes by Julie Mayhew #bookreview #thriller #mystery #paranormal #horror

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Title: Impossible Causes

Author: Julie Mayhew

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

Publication Date: November 19, 2019

Page Count: 419

My rating: 2 stars

About the book:

For readers of All the Missing Girls and You Will Know Me, Impossible Causes is a gripping, claustrophobic thriller about isolation, power, and the lies that fester when witnesses stay silent.

For seven months of the year, the remote island of Lark is fogbound, cut off completely from the mainland.

Three strangers arrive before the mists fall: Ben Hailey, a charismatic teacher looking to make his mark, teenager Viola Kendrick, and her mother, both seeking a place to hide from unspeakable tragedy.

As the winter fog sets in, the presence of the newcomers looms large in this tight-knit community. They watch as their women fall under the teacher’s spell. And they watch as their daughters draw the mysterious Viola into their circle. The girls begin to meet furtively at night, dancing further and further away from the religious traditions that have held Lark together for generations.

But when a body is found one morning at the girls’ meeting place, high up among the sacred stones of Lark, faith turns instantly to suspicion and fear. For the island is weighted with its own dark secrets, and now it is time for them to come into the light.

Eerie and menacing, timely and moving, Impossible Causes is an unputdownable thriller that examines the consequences of silence kept at young women’s expense.


Impossible Causes by Julie Mayhew is a dark mystery/thriller that also crosses into paranormal horror. The story in this novel is one told from different points of view from an atmospheric, isolated island of Lark.

Viola Kendrick has moved to Lark with her mother after the tragic loss of her father. Also arriving on the small close knit island is Ben Hailley, a new young male teacher. All of the locals are infatuated with so many new comers to an island of less than 300  residents. Soon Viola meets a trio of local girls that are called the Eldest Girls who begin to welcome Viola into their group just as rumors of devil worship and witchcraft begin.

Impossible Causes is one of those novels that is an incredibly slow burning thriller, the kind in which have trouble holding my attention taking so long to make sense of the story. I found the setting quite creepy and intriguing but then toss me into a high school waiting for something more and it didn’t take long to realize this one wouldn’t be a favorite. The book does pick up in the second half but for me this wasn’t enough to make it an enjoyable read as I much prefer faster paced novels that immediately pull me in.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

Find this book online: 

Goodreads  /   Amazon

About the author:

Julie Mayhew is the author of the young adult novels Red Ink and The Big Lie. She is also a prolific writer for radio and has twice been nominated for Best Original Drama at the BBC Audio Drama Awards for her plays. She lives in Hertfordshire, England, with her family.
Website:, Twitter: @juliemayhew

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