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.’
Publisher: Grand Central| Release Date: 3/28/2017 | Genre: Thriller | Source: Publisher| Rating: 4 Cups
Gripping, chilling, and utterly creepy, the Fire Child hooked me from the very first page.
Here’s what’s going on. Rachel Daly’s had a hard life growing up, so when she marries rich and handsome lawyer David Kerthen and moves into Carnhallow House, his ancestral home in Cornwell, she thinks her luck is changing. She has the perfect life, until Jamie starts behaving strangely and claiming that he sees the ghost of his mother. When Rachel starts digging into her new family’s past, she soon discovers that her husband covered up some facts about his wife’s death. As her suspicions increase about her husband and she starts wondering if Jamie’s prediction that she will be dead by Christmas will come true.
I love a good psychological thriller, especially when the writing pulls me in and makes me feel like I’m there among the madness and that’s exactly what this book did. It’s raw and atmospheric and relies on the dark and gruesome history of Cornwall’s copper mines to give the book that haunted feel.
David’s a damaged widower who lost his wife in terrible accident at one of his family’s derelict copper mines. He’s also a father willing to do anything to protect his son, no matter the cost. And there’s a sort of dark legacy attached to the Kerthen family that David embodies; he bandies it about like it’s a banner that goes before him. He’s charming, and sexy, and ferocious but he’s not a likable character.
Rachel’s made a life out of nothing. She’s the daughter of poor Irish immigrants who pulled herself up from the dregs London’s seedy side and made something of herself. So, when she captures David’s eye then falls for him and his son, she thinks her life is going to only go up from there and she grabs at that chance. But, from the very start, there’s a dark cloud filled with secrets that hangs above her. I kept wondering when this cloud would burst and how it was going to affect things. And what bothered me the most about Rachel was that she was bound and determined to do whatever she could to uncover David’s secrets but when he would ask her about her secrets, she would clam up and tell him she wasn’t ready to reveal them.
David and Rachel are both flawed yet believable characters and, even though I wasn’t overly fond of either of them or their actions, I felt sympathy for both of them. It also felt as though they only brought out the worst in each other. They would have both benefited greatly from being with other people.
At the crux of the story is David’s eight-year-old son Jamie. He’s very troubled, very creepy, and seemingly disturbed. He’s still dealing with the death of his mother and the secrets he’s keeping about that night. My heart broke for Jamie as he tried to figure out what was going while he struggled to accept the death of his mother.
The setting of this book is what truly brings this book to life. Rather than showcasing the bright and sunny aspects of Cornwall, this book shows the darker, more dangerous side. As the Kerthen’s made their name and fortune from copper mines, the dark legacy of the mines follows the heir and everyone in Carnhallow is affect by it. The dangers of the open mines are still there and the horrible fates of miners haunt the pages of the book.
There were a few twists and turns that happened and, while some I figured out early on, others surprised me although, there’s enough foreshadowing that made it all make sense. I will say I was disappointed at the reveal. I was expecting something more shocking and sinister. In my opinion, it wasn’t great enough to cause as much drama as it did. I do understand why they didn’t want it revealed and would want to protect it yet it wasn’t great enough to be the catalyst of the events that took place.
Overall, I enjoyed this one. It was very much a modern gothic tale that combined all of the gothic elements I love. Another thing that annoyed me was the one thread was left dangling and you have to form your own opinion based on the facts presented.
Have you ever liked a book but
not been fond of the characters?