Alison Littlewood’s novel begins with a mother and child travelling through a dense fog on route to their new home. Cass and Ben are moving to start a new life after the loss of their husband and father, Pete. Their destination is the small village of Darnshaw in which Cass spent time as a child. But the idyllic Darnshaw from her youth now bears some sinister marks and she begins to discover that her memories may not be as innocent as she recalls.
The pair’s new home is a flat in a renovated old mill. Cass had visions of a cosy but bustling modern residence in the heart of the picturesque village. When they arrive the other flats are empty and the lack of occupants turns the atmosphere from cosy to cold. This upset is only the beginning of a series of unsettling situations that will test the mother and son’s relationship to breaking point.
Eventually Cass finds a support network, the rambunctious Sally with her wicked child Damon and Cass’s new flame Mr Remick. These new friends appear just in time as peculiar events start to rock Cass’s sanity. Blue rocks haunt her dreams, curious dolls appear beneath her floors and crosses are etched into doorways.
As Cass battles to make sense of her new life and why her child now carries disdain behind his eyes, she is left venerable to a formidable evil that is clawing into her soul. Her only hope could lie in a figure that she shunned from her life. When the estranged parent makes contact, the protection that Cass rejected as an adolescent may be the weapon she needs to arm herself against the rising horror.
Littlewood gives particular attention to recounting her characters senses, which become so vivid that it heightens your own. Touch especially comes to life, skin tingles with cold, palms itch with irritation and the heart jerks at each frightening episode of this dark horror fiction.
Cass is thrust into a twisted world, alone and struggling, she falls deeper. She becomes tempted, tempted by lust, tempted by the desire to belong or to give up her responsibilities, to give up entirely. Only her love for her child has the potential to push her into a fight for their lives and each pulse-quickening episode reveals how far this mother will go to save her son.
Post by Ellen Trevan
A Cold Season by Alison Littlewood is due for release on January 5th 2012.