Monday 21 June 2021

Review: The First Day of Spring by Nancy Tucker

 Chrissie knows how to steal sweets from the shop without getting caught, the best hiding place for hide-and-seek, the perfect wall for handstands. 

Now she has a new secret. It gives her a fizzing, sherbet feeling in her belly. She doesn't get to feel power like this at home, where food is scarce and attention scarcer. 

Fifteen years later, Julia is working in a fish and chip shop and trying to mother her five-year-old daughter, Molly. She is always worried - about affording food and school shoes, about what the other mothers think of her. Most of all she worries that the social services are about to take Molly away. 

That's when the phone calls begin which Julia is too afraid to answer, because it's clear the caller knows the truth about what happened 15 years ago. 

And it's time to face the truth: is forgiveness and redemption ever possible for someone who has killed?

Review: This book was not at all what I was expecting it to be. It was pitched to me because I love Lisa Jewell and CL Taylor but this is a very different thriller. Do make sure you read the synopsis thoroughly because this book comes with a lot of care warnings for neglect, abuse and infant death.

I think I probably accessed this book on quite a different level because I have always worked with children and I am a teacher and so I found this book really tough to listen to at times. I think that the narrator did a great job although this book takes place in the north east of England and the narration reflects that. Being a northerner myself I thought the narration was great but I know its not always the most popular accent. This book really exposes what can happen when a child is not shown love and care early on in life. Although the synopsis mentions lack of money really it is the lack of care that is at the centre of this book and I think it was a really brave thing for the author to tackle. 

The book also tackles issues surrounding mental health particularly when you don't have the privilege of disposable income to help with the care that your mental health requires. I love that this is shown to be an issue in this book. We always highlight the importance of taking care of your mental health and seeking help when appropriate but we don't always have the time or the money to put towards that and that is fully explored in this novel.

The way this book is structured does make for a very compelling read. We meet Chrissie and we meet Julia and we pretty quickly learn of their connection but we jump back and forth between their two worlds and this is very much a dual narrative and dual time line novel. I love that structure in a book because it does make you keep listening to find out what will happen to each character next and what impact that might have on the other. 

This was definitely a tough read and I did feel an almost physical pain for Chrissie at many moments throughout this book but I love what this author has done in terms of taking risks to tackle subjects that not a lot of people talk about. Definitely read through the synopsis before picking this one up but if you are OK with the care warnings then I definitely recommend giving this a read. 

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

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