Congratulations! You’ve made it to the end of the week. I’ve had half a day at work today so I feel like I’ve had an extra day of weekend which is delightful. I didn’t do much with the time off other than catch up on things around the house, but I’m off to the cinema with the little girl of our household tomorrow so that should be fun. Hope you all have something fun planned for the weekend and have a good one.
In the middle of the English countryside, a man going by the name of Uncle Saviour starts a community that is supposed to promote purity, peace and a harmonious way of living. What started off as a paradise and place of love soon turned into living hell.
Thirty years later, two children have gone missing and have left very little trail behind them. Their parents are falling apart and the police are at a loss. The only clue that DI Ottoline has is a mask that was left in the woods. Could looking back at events that took place thirty years ago give them the leads that they need?
General Thoughts 🤔
It’s pretty clear from the title what this book is about and I was prepared for that but I wasn’t as prepared for just how dark it was going to get. I have a bit of a thing for cults, I find them so fascinating. Most of the time I get interested in the concept of everyone falling for some weird theory and becoming completely engrossed in that theory. What this book added was that the “community” started with what seemed like good intentions. I wasn’t quite able to pinpoint when it all went south, but it definitely did. It was at that point in the book that I continued to read with a “wtf” face and the tension was turned up.
As enthralled as I was with the cult aspect of this story, I was still interested in the children that went missing in the present day and for some reason, I don’t feel like as much attention was given to this side of the storyline. I wanted to feel immense empathy for the parents and be holding back my own tears as they searched for their kids, but I felt a little bit disconnected from them for some reason. I’d be really interested to know how other people got on with these chapters of the book.
There were quite a few characters to keep up with in this story. What I found difficult to begin with was that a lot of the characters had very unusual names so I struggled to keep on track with who was who. I got over this pretty quickly though and got to grips with it.
I liked Pearline as an investigating officer. I thought that she was very human which isn’t something that I feel from a lot of characters like her in thrillers. A lot of them are written to seem invincible and almost a bit robotic but I felt the emotion from Pearline and felt her fears for the children. However when it came to the investigation and in front of everyone that mattered, she was straight down the line and all about business.
Love was a complex character and a woman who needed help. She’d been with the community since she was a small child; she didn’t know any different. She was so conditioned that even her own mother who took her there couldn’t change her mind. I felt sorry for her for some of the book but there was a point when that definitely changed.
Writing Style ✍️
I loved that the book was written via two different timelines. This is one of my favourite structures and I think that Abby Davies did it well. I was clear about which timeline I was reading and didn’t ever feel confused; trust me I have read some books that have done this really badly.
I think that there was a huge amount of tension in the writing and the pacing of the book was matched perfectly to that. I wasn’t surprised about how the two timelines came together but I wasn’t mad about that. The two stories were chilling enough on their own, I didn’t need another big surprise.
Conclusion & Scoring 🎖️
I really enjoyed reading this book. I feel like it’s been a while since I read something that truly made me feel sick (unless I’ve erased it from my memory) so this felt particularly creepy. I see that Abby Davies has a book that she wrote before this one and I will definitely be adding that to my TBR list. If you’re going to read this book, be prepared to want to binge the whole thing.