Title: The Night Child
Author: Anna Quinn
Source: Free ARC from Blackstone Publishing
Rating: 4 stars
Note: As stated under the Source (above), I received this book for free from Blackstone Publishing via NetGalley. I pride myself on writing fair and honest reviews.
Summary: Nora lives and teaches in Seattle with her husband and six-year old daughter. Though things have been a little strained her marriage recently, that alone doesn’t explain how unsettled she’s been feeling. When she starts seeing the ghostly face of a young girl, she fears she is coming apart at the seams. After visiting her doctor and a neurologist, she finally seeks the help of a psychiatrist, fearing that she is losing her mind. What she discovers in her therapy sessions will change her life forever.
Review: The beauty of not familiarizing myself with a book’s summary prior to starting it is I go in not quite knowing what to expect. Having had the book for a while before starting it, I made assumptions about the genre based on the cover and title: a thriller, maybe a paranormal thriller. But I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Very much a character driven story, this is about Nora coming to terms with childhood trauma that she had suppressed for decades. Facing her demons is necessary to her healing, and that healing leads to upheavals in her life that she doesn’t think she can bear. But through the process, she learns more about herself, giving herself permission to let go of things in her life that she doesn’t really want after all, opening herself up to new possibilities, and becoming more whole.
The journey is a painful one, and I felt all along the way. The story is beautifully written, and empathizing with Nora took no effort whatsoever. From the first chapter, I was pulled fully into her world, and putting it down was my only struggle.
Note: For those who might be intensely affected by themes of child abuse (in any form), I will say that this book is emotional, but not overly graphic. This is NOT A Little Life or Sybil or When Rabbit Howls (all books I’ve read that wrung me out, agonizingly painful). None of the very short scenes of her recollecting her childhood trauma are gratuitous, just informative enough to get across what happened to her. Still, I think it’s important that people know about these kinds of things going in.
In a nutshell, an exceptionally emotional and well-written book that I’d recommend wholeheartedly.