From the inside cover:
It only took six words to shatter her dreams…
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.’
The story starts 178 days before Christmas and counts down to ‘the day Rachel will die.’ I wasn’t quite sure what to make of the beginning of this book; I’ll immediately overlook the fact that Rachel gave up her whole life in London, married and moved in with a man and began raising his son, all in the space of 8 weeks! David works in London during the week and only returns to Carnhallow at the weekend, and thinks it’s acceptable to leave his son in the care of a woman he barely knows, despite the fact that he is still deeply troubled by the death of his mother. Rachel wants to be the perfect step-mum and continue restoring Carnhallow, a task that Nina, David’s first wife, left unfinished.
The beginning of this book was like a history lesson, learning all about the mining in Cornwall and the history of the Kerthen family – neither of which, I really cared about or thought it necessary to go into so much detail. Between the chapters of this book, there are pictures of Cornwall, this gives you an instant visual of the setting, which I really liked, but furthermore depleted the need for such long descriptions.
One of my pet peeves: David, a 40 year old man, calling his mother, “mummy”, when talking to her and about her, I found this extremely annoying, is this something rich people really do?
What I did really like about this book were the elements of the supernatural, these are what created the haunting, eerie atmosphere. The interactions between Rachel and Jamie were what made this book enjoyable for me. Jamie hearing his mother’s voice and feeling her presence, Rachel wanting desperately to help this little boy, who is so clearly troubled but simultaneously wondering, could Jamie be telling the truth, could this house really be haunted?
As I approached the last third of this book, the story took an unpredictable turn and pulled me right in, the suspense was unbearable. Rachel and Jamie were alone in the house and Christmas was approaching, had Nina returned? I found myself considerably on edge, nervous for both Rachel and Jamie. This last third is where this book earned its stars!
Overall, a dark and gothic tale, that perhaps could have relied less on descriptions of Cornwall to create a haunting atmosphere and more on the story itself.
This book is available to buy now from: Amazon UK