The year is 1955, the location picturesque Devon.
In a house by the River Dart, schoolgirl Josephine Kennedy posts invitations to her twelfth birthday party – a party that never takes place.
Horrific violence is committed that night in the family home, leaving all of its occupants dead.
Based on a disturbing real-life crime, this compelling story explores Josephine’s fate through the prism of friends and family – the victims and survivors who unwittingly influenced the events that led up to the tragedy.
Josephine’s best friend, Susan, is haunted by the secrets of the birthday house. Can she ever find a way of making peace with the past?
Paperback: 150 pages
Publisher: Silverwood Books (24 Jun. 2019)
A quick but memorable read. It was a fascinating book, birthed out of the need to deal with grief through fiction, to try and provide answers not freely given in the tragedy that occurred in ‘The Birthday House.’ It’s commendable what Treseder has done in trying to find an explanation, writing a sort of novella in the process. The senseless tragedy that has happened will never have a satisfactory answer or even an answer at all but to try and explain it seems natural as this tragedy will continue to affect those touched by it for the rest of their lives.
I really enjoyed this, Treseder has a strong voice and an impressive style, given that she does it all in 150 pages and makes it end on a satisfying note.
The chapters are divided between the people involved in the story, the young best friends, the parents, and even the housekeeper who stumbled upon the horrible discovery, and this is part of the reason why the book felt so fleshed out and was able to feel complete in my opinion.
Four solid cups of coffee, a great and fast read that will make you stop and think at the end.
Thank you to Silverwood Books and Anne Cater for a copy in exchange for my honest opinion as part of the blog tour.
About the Author
I started writing in a red shiny exercise book when I was seven years old. But in that time and place it was an ‘invalid’ activity, was overlooked, but never went away. It was many years before I felt able to call myself ‘writer’.
But there came a day when the phrase ‘I am a writer’ no longer sounded pretentious, but legitimate, and even necessary. Was it because I had a writing room instead of the corner of a landing? Or because I spent more time writing? Or because I’d got better at it? Or because I get miserable and bad-tempered if I don’t write? Probably a combination of all of the above.
Writing is my third career. The first was as a social worker with children and families, a job I loved, but left because I could no longer cope with the system.
This led to a freelance career as an independent management consultant, helping people to handle emotions in the work context. I worked in the IT industry, in companies large and small, as well as public organisations. Later I became involved in research projects concerned with the multi-disciplinary approach to social problems such as child abuse. So, in a sense, I had come full-circle.
All these experiences feed into the process of writing fiction, while my non-fiction book ‘The Wise Woman Within’ resulted indirectly from the consultancy work and my subsequent PhD thesis,‘Bridging Incommensurable Paradigms’, which is available from the School of Management at the University of Bath.
I live in Devon and visit Cornwall frequently and these land and seascapes are powerful influences which demand a presence in my writing.
Writers’ groups and workshops are a further invaluable source of inspiration and support and I attend various groups locally and sign up for creative courses in stunning locations whenever I can. I try doing writing practice at home but there is no substitute for the focus and discipline achieved among others in a group.
I have written some short stories and recently signed up for a short story writing course to explore this genre in more depth.
I live with my husband in South Devon and enjoy being involved in a lively local community.
The Rest of the Tour