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You can’t escape what’s in your blood…
I have not yet read Catriona Ward (although The Last House on Needless Street is on my to-read list), so I don’t have anything to compare this to, but reading Sundial was quite interesting. If I had to describe it in a few words, I’d say this was dark, twisted and unsettling. But personally, I enjoyed the experience (what can I say, I like horror and creepy stuff!).
Sundial opens with Rob, a mother to two daughters – Callie and Annie, and wife to husband, Irving. Right away you can tell that this family is dysfunctional, with dark secrets and a terrible marriage. When Rob thinks there may be something dark in her eldest daughter, Callie, she whisks her away on a mother/daughter trip to her family home in the desert, Sundial, much to her husband’s chagrin.
But Sundial has secrets of its own, and as the story progresses it uncovers a dark, horrific and tragic past.
The story switches between Rob and Callie’s perspectives and is told in past and present tense. The story in itself is disturbing, but it drags you in, revealing more unexpected turns with each chapter. None of the characters are exactly likable. I won’t deduct any stars for how disturbing the story was, I will just say Read at your own risk. However, I did not care for the ‘book within a book,’ Rob’s writing. I didn’t think it added anything meaningful to the plot and I could have gone without it. I found myself inwardly sighing whenever I got to one of those chapters. It’s a difficult book to recommend, but if you like psychological horrors and disturbing stories and can get past some things (see trigger warnings at the bottom) then I would say give it a read.
Trigger Warnings: Domestic Abuse, Animal Abuse, Child Abuse, Drug Abuse, Adultery, Self-harm, Attempted Suicide, Pregnancy loss, Mental illness
Sundial is set for publication on March 1, 2022. Preorder on Amazon
Special thanks to NetGalley and Macmillan Publishing Group for this ARC in return for an honest review.