Line of Descent by James Derry

Upside Down 3

The author sent me a copy of this book (mobi format) in exchange for an honest review.

My rating:  4  of  5  stars

(by Goodreads)

Some women dread the idea of turning into their mothers. For Elise Gardener, that dread has twisted into an all-too-real nightmare.

Elise has always been the spooky misfit of her wealthy family—and a disappointment to her overbearing mother. Elise’s problem is that she’s supernaturally sensitive. She’s an empath who can’t help seeing and feeling the intimate emotions—sometimes painful or shameful—of every person she meets. While her cousins are starting glamorous and lucrative careers, Elise is happy working as an unseen housekeeper at a camp for underprivileged children. But Elise’s cloistered life is shattered when her mother seemingly drowns herself.

Elise invites her tenuous best friend—Mallory, a girl she’s only known for two months—to the memorial at the Gardeners’ private isle on the Georgia coast. Together, they discover that Elise’s family have a sinister secret that they’ve been keeping for generations.

They are in the thrall of a dark spirit—a powerful, primordial ancestor who lives eternally by possessing the bodies of its descendants. Elise’s own mother was its last host…and the Gardeners’ inner circle have been raising Elise to be next.

As the entity invades her mind, Elise is haunted by the memories of its past victims (including a Khmer princess and a mesmerist in pre-Revolution Paris). Through these visions she may find salvation, but her chances are slim. In 8,000 years no heir has ever broken free of the Gardener’s Line of Descent.


Genre:  Urban Fantasy

Series:  –

Pages:  248 (estimated)

Release Date:  2015-02-13



“She told you about me?”

“Oh yes. Ms. Gardener keeps very few close friends. She has a discerning intuition with people. So when Elise finds someone she wants to talk about, we all listen.”

Mallory sighed. It was strange to hear someone talk so reverently of Elise. Eight weeks ago Elise had been the creepy new volunteer: the Goth girl who never talked, ate every meal alone in her cabin, and skittered like a spider around the mess hall after hours, scrubbing and dusting…


My Opinion

The book introduces you to two young women: Elise who has just lost her mother and Mallory, her best friend. I will not tell you more about the story than shown in the Goodreads plot description. This would spoil the fun of reading this book yourself.

With Line of Descent, James Derry has created an entertaining and cleverly elaborated story. Elise is a very interesting character with a gift who wants to live life without being domineered by third parties. She and Mallory are rather likeable, there is depth in their thoughts. I was drawn into the story right away – as a silent and invisible bystander. The author tells the story in a quite intense way – giving the reader the opportunity to be very close; he handles his characters with empathy. As the story proceeds you learn more about the line of descent – you automatically take sides. This is a book for you if you appreciate a pretty different urban fantasy story, a story providing food for thought.

This is a book to read again. Recommended!


About the author

I’ve been writing or drawing stories since the day my parents let me borrow a ballpoint pen. A few years later I created my first magnum opus in blue ink: a comic-book parody of Ghostbusters called ‘Roastbusters.’ Hey, I was ten. I studied art in college, hoping to become an illustrator. But eventually my aspirations shifted, and I became a graphic designer (living in Atlanta). I returned to writing ten years ago when I met my wife. Since then I’ve spent large chunks of my free time writing (and rewriting) my manuscripts. LINE OF DESCENT is the first of my books to see the light of day. I hope to release a Space Western, IDYLL, before mid-year!


Connect with the Author:


Please take a look at my statement on reading in My train of thoughts on …reading.  Now I am asking you.  🙂

My questions for you bibliophiles:
What about you?  What did you think about Line of Descent?  Or – if you did not yet read Line of Descent – are you now interested in reading it yourself?

My question for you cinephiles:
If Line of Descent was filmed – who should direct it, who could you imagine as actors?

I am looking forward to reading your comments.  🙂



2 thoughts on “Line of Descent by James Derry

  1. Pingback: Idyll by James Derry | My train of thoughts on...

  2. Pingback: Cover Reveal: Idyll by James Derry | My train of thoughts on...

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