Thank you to Blackstone Publishing and Netgalley for the chance to read and review this novel.
Just look at this cover! I’ll admit, I was totally judging this book by its gorgeous cover, hoping the story inside would be as exciting as it sounded from the blurb. I was not disappointed in the least. The Night Child has everything I look for in books – twisty, deeply emotional, and boasting a strong storyline.
Though this is Anna Quinn’s debut novel, she is no novice. Come to find out she is the owner The Writers’ Workshoppe and Imprint Bookstore in Port Townsend, Washington. This explains her sharp writing, emotional storytelling, and well-paced plotting.
The Night Child begins in the classroom of Nora Brown, a high school English teacher in Seattle. Unexpectedly, Nora sees a young girl’s face, with bright blue eyes floating toward her after class. Deeply shaken and haunted, she tries to write off the incident as a side effect of stress. However, hours later, while on vacation with her family for Thanksgiving, Nora sees the face again. She can no longer deny the importance of these moments and decides to meet with doctors and a psychiatrist to delve into why this could be happening. Nora never expects to unearth decades worth of memories in the process.
My first thought upon reading the synopsis of this story was that it would be a terrifying read. In some ways, it was, but not in the ways most might expect. It is not what I would consider paranormal, though readers may get that impression from the blurb. Rather, this is a deeply moving story about the lengths human minds can go to protect themselves from trauma. This was an emotional tale that sucks readers in from beginning to end. I picked this book up in the morning, hoping to read a few chapters, and ended up reading much of the day, finishing the entire novel in less than 12 hours time.
The writing was emotional, dark, and exciting. I was reminded of my favorite author, Tarryn Fisher‘s writing as I read, who ironically happens to be a Seattle resident with one of her own books set in Port Townsend, Washington. I’m not sure if the two authors are connected in any way, but I loved the similarities I found between the two. I think readers of Tarryn’s work would be drawn to this novel and find it appealing to their tastes.
With this story, readers are taken back to childhood through an unexpected avenue. I was impressed with the author’s ability to convey the voice of a child with the accuracy she managed. As a mother, some of these parts were difficult to read but were vital to the message of the story. I was drawn the psychological theme of The Night Child, the ties between past and present, and the Washington setting. Overall, this book was so much more than I expected. It was emotional, heartbreaking, and interesting. I highly recommend this to readers are keen to learn about the mind’s inner workings. Many thanks to Anna Quinn for starting my year with a great 5-star read.
Be sure to pick up a copy of The Night Child upon its release on January 30th.
NOTE: Sensitive readers may want to explore further reviews for trigger warnings, if needed.