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. Filled with twists and suspense, The Call of Cassandra Rose is a chilling thriller that examines how trauma shapes our lives and asks whether we can ever really escape our pasts.
The Call of Cassandra Rose is a very dark and disturbing debut novel that delves into the deeper story of how we can never truly escape the past. It’s a slow burning psychological thriller that creeps up on you with its twists and turns, delivering a compelling storyline right until the very last page.
There are trigger warnings at the very start of this book so if scenes of self harm aren’t for you then give this book a miss as it can get very emotionally challenging to read some of the depictions here. Annabelle should be living her best life and in many ways she is! She has a beautiful home and an enviable lifestyle but behind closed doors she hides her unhappiness in her marriage and the pressures of parenting. It doesn’t help that the hired help seems to have more of a place in her sons heart than his own mother. An unhealthy relationship with her own mum seems at the root of her problems especially as she struggles to remember some events of her childhood. Her answer to solving her problems lies with hypnotherapist Cassandra Rose…or does it?
This is one of those novels where you are never quite sure who to trust. Annabelle is obviously very disturbed by something in her past but is Cassandra the right person to help her? I had my doubts but the author keeps her readers guessing with a cast of unlikeable and untrustworthy characters so I was never quite sure where this was heading or why. There are some distressing moments but these aren’t gratuitous and are handled really well by the author. Self harming lies at the heart of Annabelle’s life and it was heartbreaking to unpick the threads as Cassandra used hypnosis to release the horrors of the past.
The Call of Cassandra Rose is a gripping debut, beautifully written and delivered with confidence. I thoroughly enjoyed it!
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. Sophia was one of the six outstanding mentees chosen from over 1500 entrants to be part of the inaugural Madeleine Milburn mentorship scheme, and has been honing her craft ever since.