Last month I borrowed In Bitter Chill from my local library as an e-book and as I was reading it, I saw the author asking for people to take part in a new blog tour for her paperback release day and as I was reading and enjoying the book SO much, I jumped at the chance!
In Bitter Chill has been sitting on my Amazon wishlist since before the hardback was even published! I have wanted to read it for AGES so was really thrilled to see I could borrow it from the library.
In Bitter Chill is a complex story combining an intriguing cast of characters who are all linked by a kidnapping of two young school girls in 1978. One of the girls, Rachel, was found again – knowing very little about what had happened to her. But her friend, Sophie was never found. Years later, Sophie’s mother, Yvonne, commits suicide and this spurs the initial detectives to revist the old case to see if they can solve it years later. When an old school teacher of the girls is found strangled, things take a sinister turn and the detectives are more determined than ever to find out what happened all those years ago and whether recent events are linked.
Rachel is a genealogist and has almost found solice after the kidnapping but as events start to unfold, Rachel can’t help but feel she might be in danger and grasps at her memories to try and remember what happened on that fateful day.
I really enjoyed this book. The plot took a direction I would never have anticipated and that’s always fabulous in a thrilling novel. Ward writes with such skill and everything is so tangible. The descriptions of place felt so real, I could envisage every single step of the story which I love – it’s amazing to have such a clear picture in your mind as you read.
The plot kept me hooked as I raced to find out what really happened to Sophie when she was kidnapped and why only Rachel was returned. I wasn’t around in the 70’s or 80’s so I guess I didn’t find this novel as nostalgic as some people have but I loved the eerie feel I had as I read. I felt unsettled and on edge throughout most of the plot.
I think one of my favourite things about In Bitter Chill was that the plot was highly believable so everything was that little bit more scary and that little bit more unsettling!
I really want to go into more detail about an aspect of the plot but I’m wary it will probably be spolier-y so I will avoid talking in too much detail about it but I just want to mention the genealogy thread throughout was so intriguing and incredibly well executed.
This is a very impressive debut novel and I look forward to seeing what Sarah writes next! I recommend this book a LOT. Definitely a book to snuggle under the duvet with this winter, but make sure you keep the light on!