Sundial by Catriona Ward #bookreview #horror #suspense

You can’t escape what’s in your blood…

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. And there she will have to make a terrible choice.

Callie is worried about her mother. Rob has begun to look at her strangely, and speaks of past secrets. And Callie fears that only one of them will leave Sundial alive…

The mother and daughter embark on a dark, desert journey to the past in the hopes of redeeming their future.

The Last House on Needless Street blew me away, so requesting Ward’s next release on NetGalley was a no-brainer.

Right away you know this is a dysfunctional family – a husband with anger problems who’s had numerous affairs, an unhappy wife who clearly has issues of her own, a daughter obsessed with nearly anything involving death. I felt bad for the daughters who had to witness the toxic, abusive relationship between their parents. Rob has always found it difficult to connect with her oldest daughter, Callie. At times, she even struggles to like her. She feels like Callie is more her husband’s daughter, while Rob’s strongest bond is with her youngest daughter. After a jarring event, Rob knows she has to take Callie away to her childhood home, Sundial. And what a twisted place it was to grow up.

The gradual reveal of Rob’s past sent icy fingers inching their way up my spine. It’s no surprise her greatest desire is to have a normal life. Shocking, horrifying secrets some to light, and you’ll never see them coming. The ending is difficult to describe. Just trust me when I say you’ll need uninterrupted time to finish those pages and then more time to think about it.

There’s no doubt the psychological suspense is well-crafted, but I struggled with this novel due to the many mentions of animal death and cruelty and had to skim through several pages. If there was any hint of this in the description or a content warning, I probably wouldn’t have requested it. If that topic is a trigger, you might want to skip this one.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

25 thoughts on “Sundial by Catriona Ward #bookreview #horror #suspense

  1. I was intrigued by this one when I initially saw it, Teri, but animal cruelty part is a pass for me. I just read an exceptional book that had a few instances of that. Minor, and yet, those things still stick with me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. By the time I got to those parts I was invested in the book, but I did some serious page skimming. Several other reviewers mentioned it in their reviews, and I know Tessa DNFed it for that reason. If I’d had an inkling it contained content like that, I’d have also passed.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. In the book I read it just mentioned what had happened to two animals after the fact, it didn’t detail the abuse or the cruelty as it played out. IA def pass for me. I didn’t realize Tessa had DNFd.

        Liked by 1 person

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