Book Review: Sundial

SUNDIAL | Catriona Ward
03.01.2022 | Tor Nightfire
Rating: 5/5 stars

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All Rob wanted was a normal life. She almost got it, too: a husband, two kids, a nice house in the suburbs. But Rob fears for her oldest daughter, Callie, who collects tiny bones and whispers to imaginary friends. Rob sees a darkness in Callie, one that reminds her too much of the family she left behind. She decides to take Callie back to her childhood home, to Sundial, deep in the Mojave Desert. The mother and daughter embark on a dark, desert journey to the past in the hopes of redeeming their future.

WOW!! I fell in love with Catriona Ward’s writing last year when I picked up THE LAST HOUSE ON NEEDLESS STREET and SUNDIAL completely solidified her as an auto-buy author for me. 

Let me preface this review with, SUNDIAL will not be for everyone. This book is dark and disturbing, but there is so much layered meaning within the pages that it makes it worth the journey. There’s a broad range of topics covered, ranging from interfamily relationships, abuse (both human and animal), and mental health, to name a few. Perhaps one of my favorite parts about Ward’s writing is her ability to weave psychology and the workings of the human mind into her stories. Through the eyes of Rob and her daughter, Callie, the reader experiences not just the events of their lives today, but the past and the effects that past can have on people. Nature versus nurture has long fascinated me and this book truly digs into that concept. 

It’s way too hard to talk about the details of this book without spoiling something, but it’s one I’m going to be pushing on everyone. This book is an experience and it’s a story that will stay with me for a long time. You’ll be seeing it again at the end of the year in my top reads stack. 

A huge thank you to Tor Nightfire for my gifted copy!

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