"I've confessed to everything, and I'd like to be hanged.
Now, if you please.
....If Eldric were to tell the story, he'd likely begin with himself, on the day he arrived in the Swampsea. That's where proper stories begin, don't they, when the handsome stranger arrives and everything goes wrong?
But this isn't a proper story, and I'm telling you, I ought to be hanged."
-opening of Chime by Franny Billingsley
Seventeen-year-old Briony Larkin is a witch. Her stepmother told her so, when she was very young. That is just one of her secrets. Her twin sister Rose is mentally handicapped and it was Briony's fault. She also can talk to and understand the Old Ones, the magical, sometimes malicious creatures that live in the Swampsea bog. When she was younger, she wrote stories for them, and for her sister. Now, no more. After their house was flooded, and their stepmother died, Briony burned all her stories, knowing if her stories were found, she could be hanged as a witch. As a result of holding onto all these secrets, Briony has learned to hate herself.
Now, her father has taken over their house, and Briony resents his way of pretending that their family is normal. When Eldric, or as Briony thinks of him, a boy-man, returns home to Swampsea, everything starts to change. He begins to thaw Briony's frozen mask of self-hatred, and when that happens, secrets that Briony never dreamed of are released.
Chime is a paranormal book with a twisting plotline and a heroine who is both witty and self-destructive. The characters are well-developed, and the setting is rich and eerie. I enjoyed Franny Billingsley's The Folk Keeper and Well Wished, and this book improves on both these novels, while remaining original.