Fleeing an abusive relationship with her lover, Greg, Sara O’Neill travels to the small town of Kowhiowhio, and her grandmother’s ancient house. There, she encounters Moana, a Maori spirit woman who accuses her of witchcraft and is seeking to demolish the house. She soon develops a relationship with Moana’s brother-in-law, Nate Adams and his daughter, Abigail, but the situation turns dire when the ghost of her great-grandmother appears and she learns that the old house conceals a deadly secret.
Currents of Change by Darian Smith is a chilling paranormal novel that chronicles Sara’s journey of discovery and her developing relationship with Nate, as she learns to let go of the past and move toward the future; a future that is threatened by the fae the house was built to contain, and the startling discovery of her own heritage.
Told alternately from the point of view of Sara and Nate, with diversions as Sara reads her great-grandmother’s diary, the tension and sense of foreboding builds inexorably from the start to the startling climax.
The author does an amazing job of building the tension, with enough red herrings and diversions to keep a reader guessing until the ending—one that will be a complete surprise. The supporting characters are fully fleshed out, especially Greg, portrayed as a manipulative abuser from the beginning. The only sticking point for me was the final confrontation with Greg in the burning house at the end. The reader is not told whether he lives or dies—but, given his lack of any redeeming characteristics, one can only hope that he got what he deserved.
A compelling thriller, that small point is the only criticism I can level at this superb story by a master craftsman. I give Smith five stars for Currents of Change.