Slow burn with a twisted ending!
A Londoner of proud Italian and Greek heritage, Sophia Spiers grew up on the Lisson Green Council Estate, which informed the depiction of her protagonist’s childhood. She studied Film at university, and in her twenties and early thirties worked in TV and post-production before turning her attention to her true passion: writing. The Call of Cassandra Rose is her debut novel.
I enjoyed this domestic thriller and its steady build of suspense throughout. It was easy to follow and the characters felt very real. It definitely kept me guessing, but more than anything, I wanted Annabelle, the protagonist, to get over her issues and function better in her life. Her back story was very sad, and I couldn’t help but also feel awful for her mother. The scenes were written well, and what shone through the hardest was Annabelle’s anxiety-something I could personally resonate with. I also liked the setting in London and could easily picture the high rise flats where she grew up.
One particular scene that pulled me in was the hypnotherapy session with Cassandra during the two week intensive. Annabelle is regressed back to her childhood when she witnessed a brutal crime against her mother by three men inside her flat. It was so shocking and I raced through it to the end, wanting to find out what happened. Cassandra’s character was a mystery to me, and something felt off from the start. Especially since she was so invested in treating Annabelle, while not really knowing her, and inviting her to stay in her home. It all felt very isolating to me. After the midpoint, I found the story gripping me more and picking up pace.
Annabelle was the only character I was rooting for, but it was also difficult to like her at times. Uncle Jack’s supportive character was a nice break to read since everyone else seemed to have an agenda of their own. The ending, being a bit of a cliffhanger, actually worked for this novel. After everything that happened to the protagonist, by the end it was very clear what she wanted, and how she was going to get there. I felt myself breathe a huge sigh of relief after turning that last page.
For readers who enjoy slow-burning suspense, and domestic thrillers with twisty endings and dark secrets.
PUBLISHED OCTOBER 13TH, 2022
Annabelle seems to have it all. The perfect house, a successful husband, a darling son. But Annabelle is troubled.
Trapped in an unhappy marriage, failing at motherhood, and at odds with her new privileged lifestyle, Annabelle begins to self-harm, a habit resurrected from her traumatic past.
When she meets the alluring and charismatic hypnotherapist Cassandra Rose, she is offered a way out.
Through hypnosis, Annabelle is encouraged to unearth her painful repressed memories and face her childhood demons. But as the boundaries between her hypnotic trance and reality begin to dissolve, Annabelle becomes increasingly vulnerable to much darker forces.