Synopsis: 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.’
Title: The Fire Child
Author: S.K. Tremayne
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Pub Date: 16th June 2016
I received an ARC copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
When I saw a new novel by S.K. Tremayne was available, I got ludicrously excited. His debut, Ice Twins was so gripping I got angry with guests coming over on Christmas day – normally a happy event, as it means I can start eating – because it meant I had to put the book down.
But once I started reading, I grew hesitant; the settings are very similar. In Ice Twins, the story is set in family home on a tiny island just off Skye, Scotland. Whereas this is a family mansion in Cornwall. Both set away from the town; both worse for wear and in need of a ‘Grand Design’s’ level of TLC. If that wasn’t worrying enough, the characters were similar too: unreliable female protagonist, troubled kid, father who is away a lot. I started to worry that Tremayne was a one-plot writer.
Thankfully, the similarities end there. As the story progressed, I forget my fears and got lost in the pace. Soon, I was focused solely on figuring out the twist: is the first wife alive? How did she actually die? Is the current wife crazy? What happened in the past? Is the child innocent? A million questions and theories whizzed through my brain with each new chapter.
After a sleepless night of reading, I got my answer. Was I satisfied? I’m not quite sure. Don’t get me wrong, the ending is satisfying, well-written and exciting. It just didn’t create the same ‘what the hell just happened’ reaction that Ice Twins did. In its defence, I had no expectations with Tremayne’s debut, whereas Fire Child had a lot to live up to.
All in all, a brilliant and quick read. I’ll definitely read another book from Tremayne again but I’d like to see him experiment with a new setting. Dark, empty houses in the middle of nowhere are frightening in themselves – let’s see you freak me out in the middle of a city!