Posted in Books I have read

Rowans Well – C.J Hartner

Rowans Well
Psychological Thriller

This is the story of Mark Stracham a man who we first meet while he is at University and he meets the young man who is to become his best friend, Will Cooper. The reader will soon discern that Mark is not a nice guy but in the claustrophobic relationships that the boys have, Will doesn’t see it. The stories of university life in the 80s certainly felt authentic as did the night of the Ouija board which was a huge talking point during this era. While at university the boys meet twins Elouise and Olivia and they soon make a tight foursome.

This is a book about a terrible event which has a huge impact on all four of the characters in different way and just as importantly the bonds that have tied them together. I’ll be honest, when the author contacted me to see if I would consider reading Rowan’s Well; “A psychological thriller involving a terrible crime committed within a family, it shows how damage inflicted on one generation can be played out on the next.” I was however, pleasantly surprised by the depth to this story. This is no glib badly treated child turning into a monster, instead as we work through the different years we see how the boy turns into a man and perhaps we get a glimpse of why.

The main setting of this book is one of a big holiday home by the sea and not only is this brought to life by the descriptions but by the vivid atmosphere created when the family, Will and Olivia and latterly their children and Mark and Elouise along with the twins mother and her toy boy. Mark proves to be a loving uncle and both men live successful lives but there is a darkness not far beneath the surface so I felt I could never quite relax even when the picture painted is one of seemingly domestic bliss.

Although we are working towards one event this isn’t a book about just this one, there are many other incidents that are fairly disturbing. The layers of this tale are engagingly added in this tale that spans from 1981 to 2004 in a rich yet disturbing description of days and events that put together tell a far bigger story. The reader is given signposts as to how close we are ‘before’ and latterly ‘after’ but with the story inching its way first towards a date and then past, notice is needed of where you are in the story, This device has the downside of giving the reader tantalising snatches of sub-plots, some of which we never get a resolution on but I do like an author who trusts the reader to join the dots and if that means I’m left wanting to know a little bit more, I can live with that.

Discerning readers will notice that I’ve written a review that tells you very little about the book so to conclude – this is a book well worth reading, the writing is engaging and feels authentic. The characters are complex and believable and the event is shocking and has massive consequences for all the characters.

I recommend Rowan’s Well for lovers of psychological thrillers who enjoy a psychological element that is slowly revealed through captivating storytelling.

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (November 25)

This Week In Books

Hosted by Lypsyy Lost & Found my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I am reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words

I am reading some historical crime fiction, Dead Centre by Joan Lock which takes in the bleak winter of 1887 and the discontent among London’s population due to the high levels of unemployment.

Dead Centre

You can read the synopsis and an excerpt of this one in yesterday’s post

I have recently finished The A26 by Pascal Garnier, another dark and disturbing tale from this author.

The A26


The future is on its way to Picardy with the construction of a huge motorway. But nearby is a house where nothing has changed since 1945. Traumatised by events that year, Yolande hasn’t left her home since. And life has not been kinder to Bernard, her brother, who is now in the final months of a terminal illness. Realizing that he has so little time left, Bernard’s gloom suddenly lifts. With no longer anything to lose, he becomes reckless – and murderous. NetGalley

My review will follow shortly

Next up is Rowan’s Well by CJ Harter, a psychological thriller that involves family secrets and friendship.

Rowans Well


Who is your best friend? What wouldn’t you do for them? Lie? Betray? Or worse…?
When Will Cooper meets strange, tormented Mark Strachan at university he soon has cause to be thankful as they are caught up in a fatal accident. And when they marry sisters Olivia and Eloise Brooke, their fates are tied. But Will could never have imagined how strong Mark’s influence will become and that one day he will have to pay a price for their friendship. Because Mark has a secret flaw that goes to the very core of him. A secret so deep, he will wreck lives to protect it.
Imagine a psychological story that has the power to make you question all you know about family life. Rowan’s Well is a remote house on England’s north east coast, home to the charismatic Brooke family. At Rowan’s Well, the beautiful resourceful Brooke women fight to save their family and stay together despite murder and ruthless betrayal. They are confronted with events that make them question the nature of love – mother love, marital love, the love of a father for his son. And as for friendship – at Rowan’s Well, it’s hard to tell where love ends and hatred begins… Amazon

What are you reading this week? Do share!

See what I’ve been reading in 2015 here