Published: July 2014
Format: Paperback (proof copy)
A copy was provided by the publisher in return for an honest review
Touched is both gripping and hypnotic. It compels the reader to turn each page until the final word has whispered by.
Rowena's mother is long gone and leaves behind her cottage in a quaint English town. The Crales decide to knock the walls between the two cottages to make a larger family home. From the start the we are aware of a sense of foreboding within the house. It's as if the walls themselves resent their presence. Mold oozes from the shadows and the damp seems to reach to the very bones of the family.
The children entertain themselves away from the shadows lurking within the house. They seem drawn to the Pollards - the typical older friendly neighbors who always offer a welcoming cup of tea and slice of cake. Eva feels they are the only ones who understand her connection to her late grandmother. They know that she isn't just strange or crazy. She knows she is the favorite. Even though it is Jennifer whom they fawn over and Jennifer who's face is immortalized in canvas .....
There are many theme's in touched including those of betrayal love and guilt. Rowena seems happy for Eva to make an appearance every now and then but panics when Jennifer suddenly disappears.
Her husband sees her as nothing more than an object that exists to tend to his whims in the kitchen and in the bedroom. It's no surprise that she searches for passion elsewhere.
Each member of the family learns to lie and to suppress any guilt associated with those lies which is what ultimately leads to their downfall.
Shifting shadows and an other worldly presence can make the reader feel like paranormal activity is to blame for this families woes but the truth is far more real...and much more disturbing.
Touched is paced extremely well, never leaving the reader feeling bored. My eye was constantly tempted to jump across the page to see what was awaiting me.
The writing is reminiscent of Fingersmith by Sarah Waters and This House is Haunted by John Boyne. It's an incredibly addictive and satisfying read.
Highly recommended !