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gertrude

October 2017

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reading

The Fire Child, S K Tremayne



At first The Fire Child seems very Rebecca: big old house in Cornwall; beautiful young woman dead in mysterious circumstances; rich, handsome widower marries in haste a much younger woman who has to adjust to becoming mistress of a great house. No Mrs Danvers. Instead there’s Damian Jamie, David’s young son, who seems to predict the future and believes he sees his dead mother. Poor Rachel. How is she to cope with a disturbed child, a distant husband and what appear to be supernatural events? This turns into a horror story.

The Kerthens have lived at Carnhallow for at least a thousand years and have made their money out of the tin mines on their land. David is obsessed with his own family history and the need for the line to continue. In order to maintain his inheritance he works all hours as a highly paid lawyer in London, only returning home at weekends. At the same time, he’s modern enough to feel some guilt about his ancestors’ behaviour: the terrible working conditions and numerous deaths of the miners who have made his family wealthy.

Rachel is so in love with David and so fond of her stepson that all seems well. But Jamie begins to behave strangely, with his apparent predictions. One day he tells Rachel that he has seen something very, very bad, something he doesn’t want to happen. ‘You are going to die by Christmas Day.’ Each chapter is headed ‘x days before Christmas’ so that as the date approaches, the reader is almost as frightened as Rachel. She’s lonely in the great house, feels haunted herself by the dead first wife and the dead miners she imagines to be right under the house. She starts to fear her apparently perfect husband. David has secrets. Rachel has demons of her own, events in her earlier life which are not revealed until near the end of the book. I can see why S K Tremayne’s The Ice Twins was a best seller because I could hardly put this book down but raced to the end to find out what would happen.

One little nitpick (I have to do this, don’t I?): ‘reiterate’ does not mean ‘repeat’, as in ‘repeating the mistakes of the past’. Editors, where were you? The Fire Child is a cracking read, published by Harper Collins. I read it courtesy of NetGalley.

Comments

I like the sound of this! I love Daphne DuMaurier, so any coincidences are fine by me.
The author must have been aware of the similarities. All the stuff about the mines is very spooky.
Really like the sound of this one. I love Rebecca so any similarities are fine by me. It's on my to buy wishlist :)
I know you like to be scared :-)
It's a psycholgical thriller really: 'Is this really happening or am I going mad?' sort of thing.
I have netgalley'd this (and quite a few others whilst I was in there - amused/charmed to discover that Pan Mac have auto-approved me, so I have downloaded The Muse) after reading your review. Reports to follow...
I look forward to reading your report!
I'm auto-approved by a couple of publishers but still haven't made use of the benefit. Read Now can be fun.