I review The Fire Child by S.K. Tremayne for the Lovereading review panel.
Many thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy.
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.’
Ah, Cornwall. It’s home, to me. So when I get a book set in the wild depths of the Cornish moors, against a backdrop of savage seas and desolate winters, I shiver with delight. Having lived in Plymouth for a few years, while studying and working across the Tamar, I’ve seen Cornwall at every time of the year. Tourists – or emmets, to you and I – only see the glorious sunshine, the tropical waters, the sandy beaches. But there’s a darker side to Cornwall.
The Fire Child is set during a particularly harsh Cornish winter, pathetic fallacy at it’s best. Rachel, happily married to David, moves to his ancestral home, Carnhallow House, and is determined to make it home. David’s son, Jamie, is the icing on the cake, until his behaviour changes, and Rachel’s past starts to catch up with her.
This story twists and turns. It reads like a horror story – the child sharing prophecies of death, the backdrop of harsh landscapes, and a history of violence and suffering. Then it’s a thriller, the finger pointing towards each character in turn. With clear influence from Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, Tremayne manages to capture the darkness of an earlier time in a contemporary setting.
With themes of mental illness, past suffering, abuse, and grief, The Fire Child is a rollercoaster ride of heartbreak and sadness, guaranteed to give you chills.