Title: The Winter’s Child
Author: Cassandra Parkin
Genre: Adult fiction/Literary fiction/Suspense/Horror/Psychological
Publication date: Out now
This review contains some minor spoilers.
I finally finished this book last night and couldn’t wait to get started on a review. When I was initially approved for this book I was expecting a fairly standard missing child orientated thriller, but I was so wrong in my assumption! I’m afraid I felt like I couldn’t review this book without some spoilers so apologies in advance for that.
This book follows the story of Susannah, whose son went missing five years ago. It has two timelines – the time Joel went missing and the present day. These timelines are also interspersed with blog post entries. All of these are from the perspective of the protagonist, Susannah, who is trying to deal with the fall out of her son going missing.
Susannah’s life revolves around routine and trying to keep everything the same should Joel come home. One night, when she’s at a fair, she has an encounter with a psychic who tells her Joel will return on Christmas Eve and Susannah seems to come apart. She’s unable to recall things that she’s done and starts to have visions, during which time she becomes more and more convinced that her husband, John, murdered their son.
The character development of Susannah is phenomenal. As with most protagonists, I started off taking anything she said as being true. I felt pity and that she had been hard-done-by. I felt John was the bad one – he was too harsh with Joel. He should’ve been more patient, more loving. But the story slowly reveals new parts to Susannah’s personality – is she just a bit spoilt and used to having her own way, or is she ruthlessly manipulative?
One way or the other, it quickly becomes apparent that not everything is real – some of it is and some of it is in Susannah’s head. The space between reality and fantasy becomes progressively blurred.
All this leads to the question of what happened to Joel.
The Winter’s Child is truly chilling. I am not someone who is easily creeped out by books but some of the scenes where Susannah is hallucinating really gave me the heebeejeebees! I saw on Amazon that one of the genres this book is listed under is ‘gothic’ and I think there’s an element of truth to that – there is a modern gothic feel to this book.
My only minor criticism, and I deliberated over this, is that the ending didn’t entirely satisfy me. I feel bad saying it because I asked myself what I wanted from the ending or what I would like to have seen happen, and the honest answer is I just don’t know. I was reading it on my Kindle which showed I was 95% of the way through, and when I (unknowingly) reached the end of the book I went to the next page because I was expecting more.
That could very much be me, and I would say to anyone considering reading this book please do not let me put you off! Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this book but I have a responsibility as a reviewer to be honest and critical. Four stars.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Legend Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
The Winter’s Child is available to order now. You can also follow Cassandra Parkin on Twitter.
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Have you read The Winter’s Child? What did you think of it? Comment below!