196 Pages
English

You can change the print size of this book

The Winter's Child: A must read for fans of haunting female fiction

-

Gain access to the library to view online
Learn more

Description

'One of the best books I've read all year ... A tender, raw, heartbreaking brutally honest look at how much a mother can love a child. An over-used phrase but I could not put down this raw, intense thriller. A beautiful, tense, complex thriller.' Adele Parks

'Fresh. Original. Spell-binding.' Jane Corry

'…a wonderful writer with a painterly eye for detail... There are some brilliant twists.' Wendy Holden, Daily Mail

Five years ago, Susannah Harper's son Joel went missing without trace. Bereft of her son and then of her husband John, Susannah tries to accept that she may never know for certain what has happened to her lost loved ones.She has rebuilt her life around a simple selfless mission: to help others who, like her, must learn to live without hope.

But then, on the last night of Hull Fair, a fortune-teller makes an eerie prediction. Susannah is told that this Christmas Eve, Joel will finally come back to her.

As her carefully-constructed life begins to unravel, Susannah is drawn into a world of psychics and charlatans, half-truths and hauntings, friendships and betrayals, forcing her to confront the buried truths of her family's past, where nothing and no one are quite as they seem.

Cassandra Parkin brings us a ghostly winter mystery with a modern gothic flavor. A dark tale of twisted love, marriage, family secrets and hauntings, Parkin keeps us guessing throughout. 

What Reviewers and Readers Say:

'A gripping tale of mother love' Sam Hepburn

'Wow. I have always loved Parkin's books - have read every single one - but oh, this is a treat. All her usual talents are present and accounted for; beautiful prose, thoughtful and real characters, gorgeous story. But this one is darker, twistier, and utterly addictive. Watch out world, this one should be huge!' Louise Beech

'Cassandra Parkin’s The Winter’s Child is a gripping thriller from beginning to end, certain to chill and haunt... a journey filled with skillful twists and turns on every page. A fantastic, eerie story … The prose is eloquent and skilful. From the first chapter, the characters develop into tangible, fully realized people. The cast exists in a foreboding world, a dark atmosphere that Parkin deftly crafts with each scene ... deeply disturbing, intimate, and effective.  In addition, there is an underlying commentary on gender and motherhood that further deepens the novel’s scope. The Winter’s Child is a stunning, beautifully disturbing mystery.' MYA ALEXICE, Foreword Reviews


Chapter One

Saturday 14th October 2017

In the warm cigarette dimness of the caravan, the Roma woman’s eyes are shrewd and bright.
  “You’ve lost someone,” she says.
We gaze watchfully at each other across a table of polished glass, etched with a cornucopia of flowers. Its bevelled edge is sharp to the sight but not to the touch. I’d imagined the inside of a traditional vardo, painted wood and bright patchworks, but instead I’m surrounded by glass and china and crystal, intermittently set ablaze by the lights of the carriages that dip and wheel above our heads. The cabinet behind my opponent is filled with china girls with arms like ballerinas, waists no wider than their necks and frothing, intricate skirts. Do all showmen live in this impossible delicate luxury? How do they take their homes from place to place without breakages?
  The fortune-teller is looking right into my eyes, watching and waiting for a tell. I force myself to sit cool and blank, trying not to be distracted by the fragments of my reflection – blonde hair, blue eyes, slim figure – that appear, startlingly distorted and inverted, in the million reflective surfaces of the caravan.
  If my sister Melanie finds out what I’ve been doing, she’ll be furious. I’m supposed to have given this game up years ago. I shouldn’t be here.
  “A husband, maybe?” The fortune-teller shakes her head.
“No, not a husband.”
  I keep my breathing slow and quiet, in and then out, refusing to let her see the satisfaction this gives me. In fact, I have lost a husband, or rather my ex-husband and I have lost each other, torn apart by the brutal tragedy that ripped through our life like a tornado. When we first married, I imagined that losing John would break my heart. When it finally happened, we were both too exhausted to summon more than a weary acceptance.
  “Boyfriend, then.” I imagine I can feel the caress of her eyes as they flick, flick, flick over my face like the smooth dry kiss of a snake’s tongue, looking for the microexpressions that will tell her if she’s on the right lines. “No, not a boyfriend.”
  Next she’ll change track completely. She’ll go for an easy hit so I’ll forget about the misses.
 “You’ve come to the Fair since you were a child,” she says. “You’ve loved it all your life. I see you in a hat and coat, holding the hand of a tall man and laughing.”
I try not to snort. She’ll know from my accent that I’m a local girl, and what else does she need to know to guess
how deeply Hull Fair is lodged in my heart? Fair Week is the darkest and most beautiful spell our city casts, a residential street and a patch of waste ground suddenly ablaze with the showmen’s last wild gathering before they disperse into a mysterious continental winter, and we all hunker down and wait for the more respectable follow-up of Christmas.
  “I see you coming here as an adult, too,” she continues.
“There’s a child with you. I see a little boy in a blue coat, riding on a train. When he gets frightened and cries, you buy him a stick of candy floss.”
  More easy hits. Not half an hour ago I lifted my nephew Thomas out of the ghost-train and held him tight, trying not to laugh at his wild terror of the man who jumped out at us and rocked the carriage on its tracks. “It’s all right,” I told him over and over. “It was just one of the guys from the ride. See? Look there and you’ll see him do it again… now, shall we get some candy floss?” And three minutes later Thomas’s fright is melting stickily on his tongue among the threads of spun sugar. A scene played out thousands of times each night. Perhaps she even watched me, or had one of her fellow showmen watch me, so she’d have something in her pocket to dazzle me with. Perhaps they watch all of us.
  Nonetheless, her words conjure another, more tender memory: washing Joel’s face in the dim light of the bathroom while John put the car back in the garage. I can still hear the high singing in our ears as they rang to the echo of the pounding music. I can still see the tracks of tears on his cheeks, the sweet pink crust around his mouth.
  “A child! That’s it. A child. You’ve lost a child.”
Her words come so fast I can’t prepare. Stupid Susannah, stupid stupid stupid, walking into the trap like this. She’s seen the truth in my face. There’s no escape from what’s coming.

Subjects

Informations

Published by
Published 15 September 2017
Reads 0
EAN13 9781785079023
Language English

Legal information: rental price per page 0.0200€. This information is given for information only in accordance with current legislation.