I did not know what I was letting myself in for with this one. Ohh good grief.
Let’s dive right in!
(Found on Goodreads)
In 1950s England, six-year-old Gracie Scott lives with her Mam and next door to her best friend Billy; she has never known her Da. When her Uncle Joe moves in, his physical abuse of Gracie’s mother starts almost immediately. But when his attentions wander to Gracie, an even more sinister pattern of behavior begins. As Gracie grows older she finds solace and liberation in books, poetry, and her enduring friendship with Billy, with whom she escapes into the poetic fantasy worlds they create. But will fantasy be enough to save Gracie? Just how far will Uncle Joe’s psychopathic behavior go? The story weaves between these events and the visits Billy pays many years later to an old friend, confused and dying in a hospice. It is here that he is forced to revisit the events of the past. Seas of Snow is a haunting and psychological domestic drama with an unexpected twist and considerable emotional punch.
*Thank you to the publisher for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*
I did not know what I was getting myself into.
I knew it was about a psychopath, yes. I knew it would be dark. But how dark? How detailed?
Well, it’s a good job I’m not a sensitive reader.
This is one of those books where I honestly don’t know what made me keep reading. The story was absolutely horrific. I wasn’t exactly enjoying the story. So why? Morbid interest? Did I feel I owe it to the character to hear her story? Did I want to see the ending outcome?
I suppose it was all of those. Because no matter how disturbing this story became – no matter the times I shut this book feeling sick to my stomach – I kept reading.
I did really appreciate the friendship this book encompasses. Gracie and Billy. Everything about them is so pure and comforting. And in my experience, there’s not many boy/girl platonic friendships that last, and are as trusting as this one. It was really lovely to see. Especially since it starts from such a young age and continues on for years.
The simple love for smaller things grabbed my attention too. Of course, there’s the poetry aspect. How Gracie uses poetry as a crux to guide her through all the horrific events. The appreciation for words and that deeper level of understanding. But even just the remembrance of happy memories – popping bubbles in the garden. Or the colour of daffodils. And the giddy excitement when knowing crumble is coming after dinner. The appreciation for simple pleasures not only resonates with me, but it made the story feel real.
Which, to be fair, I wish it wasn’t real for anyone.
And while I sped through this, needing to know the outcome, the ending really threw me off. I don’t know whether it was done on purpose or if I just missed a major detail somewhere along the lines, but it did jar the story for me. Instead of it acting as a plot twist kind of deal, it just left me thinking “wait, what?” Instead of me appreciating a clever ruse, I actually felt cheated out of the ending I thought it was going to have all along. Which might sound petty and childish, complaining because it didn’t end as I thought, but with a story this sad, I’d have been glad for the ending I was hoping for. Unfortunately, that can’t always happen – both in real life and fiction.
And so I was left, confused by the ending, reeling after having read this horrific book.
I can’t say I enjoyed it. No one could enjoy a story like this. But somehow…I did? I don’t know what the word for it is. The closest phrases I can get are “morbid interest” and “wishful thinking”. Because while I couldn’t enjoy it, so to speak, something kept me reading. Be it the level of detail and genuine information used. Be it the horrible circumstances leading me to need an outcome. I don’t know. But this was a really weird sort of book for me – definitely not like any I’ve read before.
Note: Trigger Warnings for Domestic Abuse, Sexual Abuse, Physical Abuse, Child Abuse
Rated 3/5 stars
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Until next time…
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