Copy of Add a subheading 2 - REVIEW: Sundial by Catriona Ward

REVIEW: Sundial by Catriona Ward

Sundial by Catriona Ward
Published by Viper on March 10, 2022
ISBN: 9781782837534
Genres: Fiction, Crime, Gothic, Thrillers, Psychological, Horror, Family Life, General, Small Town & Rural, Mystery & Detective, Suspense
Pages: 331
Format: ARC, eBook
Source: NetGalley, Publisher
Buy on Amazon

'DO NOT MISS THIS BOOK' - STEPHEN KING'A thrilling hall of mirrors filled with twists' - ALEX MICHAELIDES'Brilliant and moving' - SARAH PINBOROUGH
You can't escape the desert. You can't escape Sundial.
Rob fears for her daughters. For Callie, who collects tiny bones and whispers to imaginary friends. For Annie, because of what Callie might do to her. Rob sees a darkness in Callie that reminds her of the family she left behind. She decides to take Callie back to Sundial, her childhood home deep in the Mojave Desert. And there she will have to make a terrible choice.
Callie is afraid of her mother. Rob has begun to look at her strangely. To tell her secrets about her past that both disturb and excite her. And Callie is beginning to wonder if only one of them will leave Sundial alive...
A gripping gothic masterpiece from the bestselling and award-winning author of THE LAST HOUSE ON NEEDLESS STREET, SUNDIAL is a must-read for fans of GIRL A and SHARP OBJECTS.
'A desert-dust nightmare with a scorpion's sting. I loved it' - EMMA STONEX, author of THE LAMPLIGHTERS
'Impossible-to-put-down. Sundial is a heart-in-the-throat smash' - JOE HILL, author of THE FIREMAN
'Ambitious, brutal and breathtakingly original' - TAMMY COHEN, author of WHEN SHE WAS BAD'A wild, twisted family gothic unlike any you've read before' - PAUL TREMBLAY, author of A HEADFUL OF GHOSTS'Dark and unsettling, creepy and enthralling' - LISA HALL, author of THE PARTY'Evocative, lyrical and beautiful. I loved it' - ARAMINTA HALL, author of PERFECT STRANGERS

Sundial, much like its atmospheric veracity, blew me away. I stood in the desolated desert and allowed the dust and the sound of longing carried by the wind to scratch at my skin. I’ve never been one for extremes, especially the heat but this novel made it more claustrophobic, more suffocating, and felt myself clawing for the cool.

Sundial had everything that I love in a horror story…oppressing sense of dread. A threat that is entirely human. A will to protect and survive. Horror isn’t exclusively about ghost stories, the supernatural, and things that go bump in the night. Horror examines just how the humanity (or lack thereof) of our species can become a danger. How the tides can turn and instead of protecting they can quickly stab you in the back. The confines of the law won’t stop some. We know the formulaic makeup of humans and anything that deviates away from that is inherently frightening. It is for this reason that Sundial works so well.

If you are looking for the most emotionally devastating prose in company with an unsettling, potent, and menacing storyline then Sundial is the perfect novel for you!

Rob, teacher, mother to two little girls, Callie, and Annie. Wife to the respectful and charismatic professor. Nope, he’s ruthless, he’s a cheater and abuser and he showcases it for his family daily. The family dynamic is toxic, and Irving has no hesitation in gaslighting his entire family. He has turned their eldest daughter against her with whisperings of her inability to be a good mother and how she isn’t mentally stable. Irving is the worst of the worst. His ploy was to crumble their relationship, but he is also trying to manipulate Callie’s reality. The worst kind of parent.

When Callie starts to display behaviour that is not only strange but incredibly worrisome, Rob acts. What little girl keeps the bones of dead animals and talks to ghosts that aren’t there? She decides some one-on-one time is needed so she takes her out to Sundial, her inherited home in the desert. Expect Sundial has a past. Rob is hesitant but she needs to reveal the past to Callie, to protect her, to stop her from walking a path that has no end.

“Kids are mirrors, reflecting back everything that happens to them. You’ve got to make sure they’re surrounded by good things.”

The story is told in dual timelines, Rob Then and Now, Callie, and the fictional world of Arrowwood. Rob’s POVs are poignant and sad. You feel all her emotion pouring onto the page and you would need to be made of stone not to feel for a past that has determined her actions in the future.

The story takes no effort on the reader’s part to be fully absorbed. The characterisation from the start is unyielding and it is easy to understand why the characters are behaving in the way they are. Are some scenes and backstories difficult to read? Yes, but you keep reading because Ward has created a world that you can’t look away from. The vivid scenes and pictures are almost painted on. I held my breath as the storyline had a chokehold placed upon me. Ward has some magic enraptured in her readers and she led me down a road I wouldn’t have been able to tread on my own.

Sundial is the very epitome of a must-read. Ward is at her atmospheric best with this hypnotising tale of grief, pain, and family. It is a stark warning that nothing haunts us as much as the shadows of the past.


image 1 - REVIEW: Sundial by Catriona Ward

CATRIONA WARD was born in Washington, DC, and grew up in the United States, Kenya, Madagascar, Yemen, and Morocco. She studied English at the University of Oxford, and later, completed a Creative Writing Masters at the University of East Anglia. Ward won the August Derleth Award for Best Horror Novel for her debut, The Girl from Rawblood, and again for Little Eve, making her the first woman to win the prize twice. Little Eve, which also won the Shirley Jackson Award for Best Novel, will be published by Nightfire.


One Comment

  • Tammy

    I really enjoyed this too, although not as much as Needless Street. But she is such a unique writer, I will read anything she writes!

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