Sophia Spiers ~ The Call of Cassandra Rose
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.
This book sounded fantastic, but sadly didn’t live up to expectations.
Gaslighting is nothing new and needs to be done well to provide a new story. The husband in this book is the typical manipulative and controlling man, who has found a vulnerable, younger woman on whom to prey. While it is readable, as a whole, the book is very slow, repetitive and predictable.
The book is well-written (although possibly a little too much attention to detail in places) and there is some character development in the book. Unfortunately Annabelle isn’t believable, especially how she is with her son and in the house. So many books deal with women who have ‘perfect’ London lives and yet, few of them seem to have any real purpose. Cassandra is far more interesting; she has many layers to unpick and is pitiable, but her character is is quite far-fetched and – to me – it is immediately clear what is going on.
The self harm and hypnotherapy do provide some different angles, and are quite well done, but the book feels too long. Considering she’s grown up in difficult circumstances, Annabelle is naïve and weak; her flashbacks help us to understand her more, but the ultimate aim of her memories adds very little to the overall story.
Spiers is a good writer, but this feels like a very safe debut, which is disappointing. I hope she gets braver with her next book.
Thank you to Lume Books and Insta Book Tours for my copy. Opinions my own.