This review is written with thanks to Harper Collins UK and Netgalley for my copy of The Fire Child.
Rachel is from South London, and when she marries David Kerthen, she moves to Carnhallow House in Cornwall to live with him and his eight year old son, Jamie. Jamie's mother, Nina, died when she drowned in a mine shaft on the Kerthen estate two years ago. Jamie claims that he can still see and speak to Nina, and makes some disturbing predictions about Rachel's future. As Rachel tries to get to the bottom of these predictions, she realises that there are things about Nina that have been hidden from her. Can Rachel find the truth?
The Fire Child is set in the remote, picturesque mountains of Cornwall, and Tremayne uses beautiful language and breathtaking imagery to bring the location to life in the reader's mind. In doing so, he sets the scene for a dark, mysterious novel with many twists and turns and a chilling conclusion. I enjoyed the build up of the atmosphere and the sense that Carnhallow House has many secrets, and this enticed me to read on.
Behind the mysterious setting and the gripping plot, there are several engaging themes in The Fire Child, particularly domestic violence, rape and prepartum psychosis. Tremayne has clearly researched these themes in great depth, and as the novel progresses, he creates a realistic view of this issues, which helped me to become fully immersed in the book. This is heightened by the development of the characters; achieved in the first instance by the narrative style, whereby chapters focusing on Rachel are written in first person, and chapters focusing on David are written in third person. This allows Tremayne to establish closeness between the reader and Rachel, and distance between the reader and David, which is then extended through their actions, dialogue with others and revelations about their past.
Like Tremayne's debut, The Ice Twins (which I reviewed here), The Fire Child contains elements of the supernatural. Although this helps to maintain the eerie atmosphere of the novel, I found that at times, especially towards the end, I was required to suspend my belief to accommodate these aspects of it. This lessened the impact of the novel's conclusion for me.
Overall, I enjoyed The Fire Child, and found the suspenseful plot and engaging characters made it very difficult to put down.
The Fire Child is available on Amazon.