Novelist Catriona McPherson, the author of the ‘Child Garden’, which is out on 8th September, says the setting for her book is based on a real house in Galloway; a 150-year-old farmhouse in which she lived with her husband.
The book is a thriller – it’s been heaped with praise from the likes of Val McDermid (‘if you like your thillers twisty and twisted, then you will love The Child Garden’), Ian Rankin (‘a gripping thriller’) and Alex Marwood (‘a delicilously disturbing tale of deception’). It really is terrific – it has a brilliantly original premise, and reads beautifully, with real depth to its depictions of grief.
Catriona is originally from Queensferry, though she’s also lived in Edinburgh and Dumfries and Galloway. The house she based the book on was the last place she lived before emigrating to California, and writing about it helped her through her homesickness.
Here is a snippet form the book: “Eden was its name. “An alternative school for happy children,” said the brochure. “A load of hippies running wild in the woods,” said the locals. After a suicide it closed its doors and the children scattered. Thirty years later, it’s a care home; its grounds neglected and overgrown, its only neighbour Gloria Harkness, who acts as tenant-caretaker in a rundown farmhouse to be close to her son. Nicky lives in the home, lighting up Gloria’s life and breaking her heart every day. Nicky and a ragbag of animals aren’t enough to keep loneliness at bay, and when Gloria’s childhood friend and secret sweetheart, Stephen “Stig” Tarrant, turns up at her door one night, all she can see is the boy she knew. She lets him in. Stig’s being stalked by an Eden girl, he says. She has goaded him into meeting her at the site of the suicide. Except that suddenly, after all these years, the dead are beginning to speak and suicide is not what they say.”