The chilling new psychological thriller by S. K. Tremayne, author of the Sunday Times No. 1 bestseller, THE ICE TWINS.
When Rachel marries dark, handsome David, everything seems to fall into place. Swept from single life in London to the beautiful Carnhallow House in Cornwall, she gains wealth, love, and an affectionate stepson, Jamie.
But then Jamie’s behaviour changes, and Rachel’s perfect life begins to unravel. He makes disturbing predictions, claiming to be haunted by the spectre of his late mother – David’s previous wife. Is this Jamie’s way of punishing Rachel, or is he far more traumatized than she thought?
As Rachel starts digging into the past, she begins to grow suspicious of her husband. Why is he so reluctant to discuss Jamie’s outbursts? And what exactly happened to cause his ex-wife’s untimely death, less than two years ago? As summer slips away and December looms, Rachel begins to fear there might be truth in Jamie’s words:
‘You will be dead by Christmas.’
It is the first book I read from the author. It had a real strong hold on me for the most part of it, but the ending ruined it for me. I have always had a thing for old families and their mansions, their history and their tragic decisions, so the description had me at the first sentence. The novel was everything it promised, the writing was brilliant, the pace unnerving and it could have easily turned into one of my most favourite books out there, if only the ending wasn’t so soapy. It was so disappointing it actually made me angry… So angry I had to call my Ldn Boy and debate with him for two hours so that I can come to terms with what to write as a review. I had armed myself with the most exquisite word to flatter everything about this thriller and I just dropped them, the second my jaw dropped with astonishment at the way this jewel-of-a-story was handled.
It has a slow, atmospheric start as the landscape and imagery is built up like poetry. The author builds up the characters the same way and before long the dark twists and shades of grey start to enter the book. This book messed with my head! If you look to the low left of this map of Cornish Mines you can see a few that are mentioned in the novel including Zenner and St Just, very real places.
If I had to use only two words to describe The Fire Child they would easily be CLEVER & SHARP! It just takes you through all those emotions: sadness, horror, love, uncertainty, uneasiness, plain confusion. It turns you into the victim and the detective at the same and you literary breathe with its plot.
If I had to compare it to a classic I would be into minds on whether to put it right on the shelf next to Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier, or a bit higher next to Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. It is dark and engaging, paranoid and still a masterpiece… For the most part!
What had me agitated was the overdoing when it comes to the building of characters… there was just too much darkness in both of them, and then they just worked it out… WHAT?!. Easily there was material for creating two different books, and it would have worked out way better. There was too much hinting around and to much pointers to something going seriously wrong… I almost went “Oh, shame, no one died”. You get how weird that is, right? Especially for someone like me, who digs a happy-ending.
The Fire Child is a rare occasion of a deep, profound confusion for me. It is compelling and brilliant and at the same time a bit patched… It got me hooked and yearning for the darkest resolve out there and gifted me with an easy way out. I still keep on wording breathlessly WHY?!