★★1/2 out of ★★★★★
By Catriona Ward
Rob is a suburban housewife trapped in a loveless and abusive marriage to Irving. They have two daughters Callie (Irving’s favorite) and Annie (Rob’s favorite) that they use as pawns to torment each other. When Callie is caught trying to poison her sister, Rob decides to separate the two sisters and takes Callie out to the desert to Sundial, the strange home/compound where she had grown up. Once in the desert, Rob struggles with what her daughter is becoming while Callie (and her imaginary friend Pale Callie) try to unravel her mother’s past but are confronted with more twists than an M. Night Shyamalan film.
What stopped me from loving this novel as much as Ward’s previous novel The Last House on Needless Street, is that I really didn’t care about any of these characters. Eric’s number one rule is that you have to care about your protagonist and I just didn’t vibe with Rob or Callie at all. However, Ward is an excellent writer so it was still an enjoyable read that will keep you turning the pages to see where the story goes- and where it goes is nowhere you’d imagine.