Friday, September 8, 2017

Blog Tour: The Door to January - Gillian French

The Door to January
Gillian French
Series: n/a
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal Thriller
Publisher: Islandport Press
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Ever since sixteen-year-old Natalie Payson moved away from her hometown of Bernier, Maine, she's had nightmares. And not just the usual ones. These are inside her, pulling her, calling her back, drawing her to a door, a house, a place, a time. Full of fear, full of danger. So this summer, Natalie's going back to Bernier to face up to a few things: the reason she left town in the first place; the boy she's trying hard not to trust; and the door in her dreams. But once she goes through the door, into a murky past, she's entangled in someone else's world. And only Natalie can help right the wrongs of both the past and the present.
DREAM CAST by Gillian French

Thank you, We Live and Breathe Books, for this chance to assemble a dream movie cast for THE DOOR TO JANUARY! When I write one of these, I believe in tossing aside all laws of time/space and choosing whichever actors and actresses strike me as best for each part, even if it has been a couple decades since they were technically “young adult.” I think we’ve got a pretty good lineup here—comment below if you have any suggestions!
Kara Hayward as Natalie
Young Jimmi Simpson as Teddy
Kathy Najimi as Cilla
Alexandra Shipp as Delia
Young Adam Beach as Lowell
Britt Robertson as Grace
Nick Robinson as Jason
Kevin Durand as Vsevolod


Natalie's family fled Bernier after she and her cousin, Teddy, were attacked at gunpoint by local bullies. She had stayed away for three years, but felt a need to return in order to find out more about the nightmares that had been plaguing her. While back in Bernier, she "reunited" with her attackers, which awakened memories of that terrifying encounter, while also stumbling upon another mystery involving an abandoned house, which seems to call to her.

I really enjoyed this blend of mystery, time traveling, and the paranormal. The elements were blended in such a way, that they worked well together. At first, I thought this was just going to be about Natalie's nightmares and the house, which slowly divulged pieces of a string of murders that took place in the late 40s. But, these were not the only flashes of the past revealed to Natalie. She also began seeing snippets from that dreaded day in the woods, which left one of her former friends dead and his murder still unsolved. By dropping pieces of both mysteries and weaving them with a little friendship, romance, and confrontation, I was left with a lot to think about, but French wove them in such a way, that I enjoyed collecting the pieces and trying to figure it out.

I really liked the relationship between Teddy and Natalie. They had a great bond, which was tested, but still held up. I also liked the interactions between Natalie and Lowell, however, I wished we got to see more of them together. The relationship looked to be heading in a direction I was totally behind, but it was cut a little short.

French made quite an interesting decision at the very end of this book. She switched the perspective and put some ideas out there, which made me question a few of the things I thought I learned from the rest of the story. I would love to be able to discuss the ending with her, because I  want to see if my thoughts jibe with her intentions.

Overall: A suspenseful tale with a touch of romance and the paranormal.

**I would like to thank the publisher for the advanced copy of this book.


Gillian French is the author of three novels for teens: GRIT (HarperTeen, 5/16/2017), THE DOOR TO JANUARY (Islandport Press, 9/5/2017), and THE LIES THEY TELL (HarperTeen, 5/2/2018). Her short fiction has appeared in Odd Tree Press Quarterly, EMP Publishing's anthology Creepy Campfire Stories (for Grownups): Tales of Extreme Horror, Sanitarium Magazine, and The Realm Beyond. She holds a BA in English from the University of Maine, and lives in her native state of Maine with her husband and sons, where she's perpetually at work on her next novel.


Do you like time travel books?
Let us know in the comments!


  1. This book definitely has an intriguing concept! The time travel element in a mystery novel is one that can take the plot into an interesting direction, for sure. I love getting a glimpse of how the author envisions the characters. Thanks for sharing this one. :)

    1. I liked the concept. It reminded me a lot of this movie I saw as a kid with Lukas Haas (so an old movie), called Lady in White.

  2. I am curious about the time travelling in this book -- what an unexpected addition! Great review, Sam. Totally has me curious about it.

    1. The time traveling brought the MC back to the murders in the 40s. At first it seems like she is only an observer, which is more like flashbacks to me, but she has an active part later in the story.

  3. This sounds really good. I can't resist time-travel and paranormal book and this one has both element. Glad you enjoyed it!

    1. This book made me think of a movie I saw in the 80s (Lady in White). I was definitely interested in the overall mystery. I just would have liked more with the romance and the ending (endings are everything for me).

  4. You had me at time travel and paranormal. I'm a complete sucker for time travel books. Too bad the romance wasn't well-developed enough.

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    1. The romance was such a tease for me. There is a jump ahead in the epilogue and no mention of the "hero". In the immortal words of Stephanie Tanner, How rude!

  5. The time travel and potential creepiness of this one has me really curious.

    1. French definitely tried to build atmosphere. This seemed more like flashbacks until the climax, but it worked in the story. It's a twofer mystery with a little thriller thrown in there. The ending just left me slightly perplexed.