Fire Child’s dark heroine is the young Tessa who from the age of 12 uses the power of her smile to seduce men, with damaging and dramatic consequences. The novel interplays her chilling and funny diaries with those of Martin Sherman, a dangerous young man who likes to play with fire. We know they will meet and all hell (possibly literally) will break loose. Meanwhile he stacks shelves at a supermarket, she works at a nearby estate agent’s. Both are hiding, leading deliberately dull lives in north London, afraid of what they have already done and what they are capable of. But when they meet, everything changes. Their union is devastating.
What I Thought:
Firstly, I have to give thanks to Quartet Books – I love it when books like this get a second wind. I find the idea that books are just sitting, waiting for another chance to impress, fascinating, so I hope that the Rediscovered Classics series is long-lived.
Secondly, what a novel to revive! Fire Child‘s central characters, Tessa and Martin, are so delightfully unrepentent and dispassionate about the havoc they have caused in the past – their diaries read more like those of scientists, standing back and watching as their experiments unfold. Both are in hiding, regaining their power, waiting to find each other and when they do they seem to energise each other, propelling Tessa into a devastating act of revenge.
The use of diary entries for Martin and Tessa works well as I don’t think you could get an accurate idea of either of them through conversation – they are both hiding so much of themselves from public view. As I said before, Tessa and Martin are dispassionate and detached, and this comes across really well in the text, making it at times quite dark. Tessa’s writing about her first lover comes very early in the book and is both a shock and also a perfect set up for her character for the remainder.
The pace at which both characters are revealed, including the influences of their families and friends, is timed well and then in the final act, when it’s suddenly clear what Tessa’s intentions are, everything moves much more quickly.
Quartet have also published Heat by Sally Emerson alongside Fire Child, with two more of her books to follow in June. I’m excited to read those, but also hope that Quartet keep on rediscovering some forgotten classics!
This post is part of a blog tour of Fire Child, which continues as per the banner below – do check out some of the other lovely blogs involved this week.
Note: I was sent a review copy of Fire Child by the publisher to provide an honest review. All opinions are, as ever, my own.