Released: 24th June 2019
Genre: Crime Mystery Thriller
Publisher: Silverwood Books
The year is 1955, the location picturesque Devon.
In a house by the River Dart, schoolgirl Josephine Kennedy posts invitations to her twelfth birthday party – a party that never takes place.
Horrific violence is committed that night in the family home, leaving all of its occupants dead.
Based on a disturbing real-life crime, this compelling story explores Josephine’s fate through the prism of friends and family – the victims and survivors who unwittingly influenced the events that led up to the tragedy.
Josephine’s best friend, Susan, is haunted by the secrets of the birthday house. Can she ever find a way of making peace with the past?
This little book definitely packs a punch … It's a tense, heart-breaking and vivid story that looks at family and grief. The fact that this is based on a true event made me feel haunted throughout, but I was compelled to read on and find out more about the characters and what had happened.
We first meet Susan, Josephine's friend, who is looking back and reflecting on her memories. We then delve back into the main story in the 1950's and follow various members of the Kennedy family and friends as the plot unfolds with such powerful and sombre emotion that I read it in a day. I was completely drawn in, though to say that I enjoyed it seems odd for the subject matter. I enjoyed the way that Jill Treseder was able to take the real horrific crime and create such a beautiful and emotive story around it that I felt myself rooting for them despite what I knew was coming. Reading the afterword, I felt that the author's trepidation came through in the hope that she had done justice to the real people involved in such a tragedy. I had no prior knowledge of the event or the people, but while there were sections that were violent and difficult to read, the fictional characters were handled with such care and spirit that I can only applaud the author for her skill in writing something that was obviously close to her own heart.
I would highly recommend this for anyone who enjoys suspense family drama, though of course there are some dark and difficult themes addressed here. Thanks so much to Anne Cater for inviting me to be part of this tour, and to Silverwood Books for sending me s copy for review.