The Winter’s Child

Cassandra Parkin. Legend (IPG, dist.), $14.95 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-1-78507-903-0
At the autumn 2017 Hull Fair, Susannah Harper, the desperate narrator of this labored novel of loss and obsession from British author Parkin (Lily’s House), consults a Roma fortune-teller in the hope of learning whether her adopted son, Joel, who ran away in 2012 when he was 15, is still alive. The fortune-teller predicts that she and Joel will be reunited by Christmas Eve, then asks whether Susannah is going to report their encounter on her widely read website, Life Without Hope, where she often criticizes psychics (“Five more ways psychics often fool us” is the title of one post). Despite her skepticism, Susannah can’t help feeling encouraged and pushes Det. Insp. Nick Armstrong, the police officer assigned to Joel’s case, to do more to locate him. She begins to suspect that her former husband, John, who had a turbulent relationship with Joel and left her in the aftermath of the boy’s disappearance, had some hand in the tragedy. The process of Susannah’s slow and painful disintegration follows a predictable path to an unsurprising resolution. Parkin is best at dramatizing the tension between the rational and irrational sides of her heroine’s mind. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/18/2018
Release date: 09/01/2017
Genre: Fiction
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