You can't escape the desert. You can't escape Sundial.

Rob fears for her daughters. For Callie, who collects tiny bones and whispers to imaginary friends. For Annie, because she fears what Callie might do to her. Rob sees a darkness in Callie, one that reminds her of the family she left behind. She decides to take Callie back to her childhood home, to Sundial, deep in the Mojave Desert. And there she will have to make a terrible choice.

Callie is afraid of her mother. Rob has begun to look at her strangely. To tell her secrets about her past that both disturb and excite her. And Callie is beginning to wonder if only one of them will leave Sundial alive...

From the bestselling author of The Last House on Needless Street comes a stunning thriller exploring the toxicity of the mother-daughter bond, and the power of the past to twist the present.

Our Review

Reading Sundial by Catriona Ward is the emotional equivalent of being savaged by a pack of wild dogs...or coyotes. It is a tense, and imaginative book and hits the reader in all the right places. 

I found it hard to take to Rob initially because it was clear that of her two daughters she preferred Annie to Callie and this made for uncomfortable to reading., especially when we learn that Callie knows this to be the case as well. Then we learn about Callie's disturbing collection of tiny bones and it becomes easier to understand Rob. 

"I worry about her physically, my fragile second child, in a way I don't about Callie. Annie is small for nine and people often assume she is younger. Callie worries me in other ways." 

I love the way the author slowly unfurls the story piece by piece so you are never quite sure what is coming next and also about what has gone before. This was added to by the fact that I was never quite sure of Rob's reliability as a narrator, who was she before? Who is she now?. Is she to be trusted? Is she unstable? Most importantly, is she a danger to her daughter? And, if she is can we as readers condone this danger? 

"There are other, older stories, but they are about a Rob who is dead and gone. I walled her up, sealed her off in the dark. Maybe she starved and died down there. A hopeful child buried beneath the desert sand. Maybe that's a good thing." 

The characters in this book are all quite unsettling and that is one of the things that makes it a stand out book for me. 


Our Final Rating...

Our Rating

  • Currently 5/5

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