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Sundial by Catriona Ward

Digital Reads Reviews is a blog-haven for book posts and tech tips. This is a review of a psychological horror.
Shalini
sundial
I loved it
3.5/5

Publication Date: March 2022

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Blurb

You can’t escape what’s in your blood…

All Rob wanted was a normal life.

She almost got it, too: a husband, two kids, a nice house in the suburbs.

But Rob fears for her oldest daughter, Callie, who collects tiny bones and whispers to imaginary friends.

Rob sees a darkness in Callie, one that reminds her too much of the family she left behind.

She decides to take Callie back to her childhood home, to Sundial, deep in the Mojave Desert.

And there she will have to make a terrible choice.

Callie is worried about her mother.

Rob has begun to look at her strangely, and speaks of past secrets.

And Callie fears that only one of them will leave Sundial alive…

The mother and daughter embark on a dark, desert journey to the past in the hopes of redeeming their future.

My Review

What was it all about

Sundial by Catriona Ward was a graphic, psychological horror, that played on my senses in multiple ways. 

It started as a domestic horror where the husband and wife were constantly trying to score on a one-up on each other. 

Added to their woes was the elder daughter Callie who was different, almost cruelly indifferent to mom Rob, and younger daughter Annie who had discovered God and prayers. 

Rob soon made a discovery with both her daughters, and to save their lives, she made an impromptu decision to take Callie to Sundial, her family home, a place that started it all to tell her daughter the story of her past. 

How it made me feel - The Good

I think I read this book with bated breath. There were times when I wanted to look away and stop reading, but I couldn’t seem to do so. It was that macabre but fascinating.

The author left no stone unturned in showing how darkness had pervaded deep into the core of this family. 

Their lives were one constant tug of war of victories, where abuse had a no-holds barred freedom. Boiling maggots, bleaching bones, physical abuse, animal abuse, love affairs, the story showed them all in its pages. 

It was a book that made me go WOW at the imagination of the author and at the same time, I felt icky at reading some of the passages. How low down the abyss humans could go to display their power over the vulnerable. The sci-fi vibe and experiments were an added bonus. 

The book required a strong constitution to travel quickly down the pages to get to the final chapters of the reveal. Dual timelines and dual POVs added to the mystery that connected the mother to her daughter. 

The Bad

There was a story within this story which was probably written in for effect as the main character Rob was a teacher who was writing a fictional piece. Unfortunately, it was not well linked to the main plot line. 

The style of writing was quite different and many things appeared confusing in the first half of the story. Only in the last few pages was everything clarified. 

The Conclusion

An atmospheric read that captured my interest on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Read it if you dare. 

I downloaded the digital version of the book from an online retail, and this is my journey down its pages, straight from the heart. STRICTLY HONEST and UNBIASED.

If you’ve loved the review, buy me a cuppa to perk me up.

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