is a real treat for Dark Shadows fans. You get an incisive,
vivid portrayal of the Willie/Barnabas relationship, an exciting
glimpse into Willie's past with Jason McGuire and an altogether
new slant on Willie's feelings for Maggie. I closed this book
with my affection for Dark Shadows renewed and restored.
Hawkes Harbor is not a Dark Shadows novel,
even though it feels, looks, talks and walks like a Dark
Shadows novel. Once upon a time, it was a Dark Shadows
novel but it was rejected to go out under the Dark Shadows
imprint. Names have been changed and Tor has instead published
Hawkes Harbor as a mainstream novel. Perhaps the original
title was Collinsport?
instead of Willie, Barnabas, Jason, Maggie and the Collins
family we get Jamie, Grenville, Kellen, Katie and the Hawkes
family. I was amused to see that Hinton had sneaked in a reference
to Grenville's "brother Charles" who "was somewhat
frivolous. Charming, but careless." This reference to
Night of Dark Shadows was the only blatant wink at
the reader I could detect.
times Hawkes Harbor reads like Hinton over relied on
her spell check. There are a few characters, such as Lydia,
her brother Richard and his daughter Barbara whose names are
mentioned as part of the plot but are hardly seen in the story.
(In the case of Barbara, she is only mentioned, never seen.)
The only purpose of these characters would be if they were
referred to by their "actual" names of Elizabeth,
Roger and Carolyn. What could have been an important addition
to the verisimilitude of Hinton's Collinwood becomes a host
of unrealized characters in Hawkes Harbor.
there are several important plot points in the Dark Shadows
universe that are glossed over in Hawkes Harbor. Julia's
treatment of Barnabas, Willie's friendship with David that
leads to Willie opening Barnabas' coffin and Angelique's curse
on Barnabas all make their appearance, with names suitably
changed. This is a lot of backstory, but it is all stuff that
any Dark Shadows fan knows. A Dark Shadows fan
reading Hawkes Harbor brings all this knowledge with
them and it informs their reading. A reader unaware of these
storylines will just be bewildered. For example, Willie suing
Julia for her constant threats of returning him to Windcliffe,
and showing that he legally can't be returned to Windcliffe
by her, is funny when it concerns Willie and Julia. Jamie
suing Louisa just doesn't have the same resonance.
story of Hawkes Harbor will leave most non-Dark
Shadows fans out to sea. On the jacket copy and in the
recent article on S.E. Hinton in Entertainment Weekly,
the supernatural elements of Hawkes Harbor are heavily
downplayed. No mention is made of this being a vampire story.
The Entertainment Weekly article says, "several
publishers passed." Of course they did! Readers who loved
Hinton's The Outsiders or Rumble Fish as kids
would pick this up to read a gritty story of lowlife orphan
Jamie Sommers, only to be thrust into a world of vampires
and gothic horror! I can not envision this book becoming a
mainstream success, but I may be underestimating the general
reading public who propelled Alice Sebold's horror-tinged
novel The Lovely Bones to bestseller status.
might be some Dark Shadows fans who close the pages
of Hawkes Harbor with troubled looks on their faces.
When Maggie/Katie is held prisoner by Grenville/Barnabas,
Willie/Jamie goes to comfort her. They wind up making love
in explicit detail. I found this scene to be very moving,
with the scenario of Maggie/Katie wanting to be made love
to before she dies very potent. Katie and Jamie are two lost,
hopeless, tortured souls and it seems only natural that they
find solace in each other's arms.
you are of the mind to find this turn of events abhorrent,
you'll want to put down Hawkes Harbor immediately,
for your head will spin as Barnabas and Willie enter an episode
of The Love Boat! Actually, a cured Grenville and Jamie
are on a vacation cruise and they both score; Grenville with
a lovely divorcee and Jamie with a three-way! Phwooaaar! The
high (or low, depending on your perspective) point of this
sequence is Jamie making Grenville "spill a drink all
over a bar" by asking Grenville "yours give good
head?" Needless to say, if you only want to read a Dark
Shadows book where the characters act exactly in print
like they do on screen, this book is not for you. More open-minded
readers will have a hoot.
Hawkes Harbor is a delight to read. This should have
been issued as a Dark Shadows novel. S.E. Hinton is
a well known, best selling author and a Dark Shadows
book by her would have sold like hotcakes. We would probably
have a whole range of Dark Shadows novels by now, spurred
on by the sales of Hinton's book. This might not be the last
we see of the world of Hawkes Harbor. Entertainment
Weekly said, "Hinton hopes all the hoopla will generate
some Hollywood interest." Francis Ford Coppola has previously
adapted two of Hinton's books, The Outsiders and
Rumble Fish, to the big screen. Maybe we'll see Hawkes
Harbor: The Movie starring Matt Czuchry as Jamie and Alec
Newman as Grenville?
Readers: Order this book from Amazon.com
this book from Amazon.co.uk