Thursday 9 November 2017

Book review : The Winter's Child - Cassandra Parkin

Susannah Harper is the woman that all mothers dread to be one day. Five years ago, her world imploded when her only son, troubled teenager Joel, disappeared without a trace. The book jumps around in time, showing us the early days when he was adopted by Susannah and her husband John and their struggles to find a balance in their new family, the time just before he went missing, with Susannah having turned into an over-protective mother whose fusional relationship with her son leads to her deceiving and excluding her husband, and the present, where Susannah, divorced and unable to move on, finds bittersweet solace in visiting mediums who she then criticises on her blog.

However much she slams them as charlatans, she can't help but continue to nurture a glimmer of hope that one of them will one day give her the breakthrough she needs, so when she is told that her son will come back to her before Christmas, she becomes intent on discovering what happened. Strange goings on start to surround Susannah - she spots her son in crowded places, his belongings start to turn up, she receives spooky visitations - but are they hallucinations brought on by the mental strain or real other-worldly messages ?

It's a harrowing look at what it must be like to live in the limbo of not knowing whether your beloved child is alive or dead, and my heart really went out to Susannah. However, even if the story is told entirely from her perspective, I couldn't help but also feel sorry for her husband John, who had to suffer the same pain at losing Joel while also dealing with an increasingly neurotic and over-bearing wife. Susannah is not presented in a particularly positive light and I couldn't really warm to her, especially as she seems to resent everyone else who has any sort of a happy home life - her ex husband, her sister, even her case worker. It's hard to work out if her moral compass has been skewed in later years due to her suffering or if she was always quite a nasty piece of work.

The shock ending didn't come as much of a surprise to me because I had worked it out long before the end and even had inklings of doubt from the very beginning. It's still a raw, gut-wrenching journey through one woman's personal hell though, and a chilling story that will haunt you long after you have turned the final page.

star rating : 4.5/5

RRP : £8.99

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Legend Press (15 Sept. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1785079034
  • ISBN-13: 978-1785079030

Disclosure : I received a review copy of the book.


  1. This sounds like a gripping read, no parent should have to go through, I'll have to keep an eye out for this xXx

  2. This is a chilling story, and well narrated, though just like you say, you can guess where it is leading half-way through the book.

  3. Sounds like a really good read, thanks for the review


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