The long winter of depression induced by the unexplained disappearance of a beloved son is fleetingly lifted by the spiritual light of a gypsy soothsayer predicting the prodigals return on Christmas Eve.
Preyed on by a witches’ cauldron of mystic Megs who delight in stirring the tea leaves of the emotional vacuum left by Joel, Susannah is forced into a downward spiral of misplaced hope; finding comfort only in the writing of a blog which acts as a reality check and a cathartic conduit to victims of similar misfortune.
The symbolic date of this modern day resurrection is approached in staccato fashion as the apparent happiness of a pre-traumatic life is glimpsed through a shuttered blind narrative giving the effect of both light and dark as the initially unbreakable unit begins to fracture with suspicions of the husband’s emotional insecurities revealing a brittle carapace of family life.
As we reflect on the predictions of the much derided prophecizers the snippets of fact potentially masquerading as fiction seep into the readers’ consciousness and we are left questioning the credibility of Susannah’s story as she finds a receptive listener in a detective whose motives may be less than altruistic.
In contrast Melanie provides a pragmatic rock, offering sisterly love untainted by any extenuating motives. Tough love versus empathetic love help both support and conflict in the search for Joel and it is only with the festive date dawning that Susannah finds the strength and lucidity to reveal a truth so deeply suppressed that in its telling her life is changed irrevocably.
The author’s understanding of grief and compassion reveal circumstances that are rarely black and white. Delusional insight into the mind of a mother driven mad by grief is both compelling and tragic and make the Winter’s Child both unique and unputdownable.