The Cold Cold Sea
By: Linda Huber
Publisher: Legend Press
Publication Date: 8/01/2014
My Rating: 5 Stars
A powerful suspense novel by Glaswegian author Linda Huber.
'They stared at each other, and Maggie felt the tightness in her middle expand as it shifted, burning its way up… Painful sobs rose from her throat as Colin, his face expressionless now, reached for his mobile and dialled 999.'
When three-year-old Olivia disappears, her parents are overwhelmed with grief. Weeks go by and Olivia’s mother refuses to leave the cottage, staring out at the turbulent sea and praying it didn’t claim her precious daughter’s life.
Not far away, another mother watches proudly as her daughter starts school. Jennifer has loved Hailey for five years, but the child is suddenly moody and difficult, and there’s a niggling worry of doubt that Jennifer cannot shake off. As she struggles to maintain control there are gaps in her story that even she can’t explain.
Time is running out for Maggie at the cottage, and also for Jennifer and Hailey. No-one can underestimate a mother’s love for her child, and no-one can predict the lengths one will go to, to protect her family.
A special thank you to Legend Press and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
WOW, a riveting, emotional and brilliantly written page-turner! Crossing many genres, fans of suspense, mystery, intrigue, family drama, women's fiction, adult fiction, and psycho-thrillers will devour The Cold Cold Sea. The novel begins in Cornwall at a holiday beach cottage, and flashing back and forth with two separate families, and a caring school teacher, Kate who ultimately links the two families for an intense (edge of your seat), and explosive conclusion. Maggie/Colin and their two children, Olivia and Jon—a family is out for a day on the beach, Olivia wants to join her dad and older brother, so Maggie, says go ahead while she goes back to sipping her coffee. However, in the blink of an eye, Olivia (Livvy), only three years old never makes it to her father. She just vanishes, and being next to the beach, after time goes on in a frantic search, this family worries she has drowned. Colin blames Maggie and she is guilt and grief stricken. The search places more added stress on their marriage, so he takes off with the son and leaves Maggie at the cottage. Maggie wants to stay and wait for her daughter, and never gives up home, as she continues to put off the memorial service. In the meantime, we switch to another family in England:Jennifer and Phillip, who have lost a daughter, as well. Jennifer is preparing for her daughter, Hailey’s first day at school, while her husband Phillip is away in Los Angeles, CA taking care of the elderly grandmother. Enter, Katie, a new and eager teacher who takes Hailey under her wing, as a new student in her class. She is quite concerned about her, appears to be young for her age. Hailey seems disturbed and tense around her mother and wonders if there could be problems at home, as she knows the mother is pregnant with twins and the father is away in the states. Most of the second half of the story centers on Jennifer and her relationship with Hailey, and plans for her husband’s return for a shocker reunion. What happens next is mind blowing, as Phillip now is immersed in a saga between protecting his family and doing the right thing. Jennifer’s twisted character is brilliantly crafted, clearly delusional and has escaped reality. Phillip’s engrossing character is cleverly crafted as this mind blowing tale comes to a choice of right and wrong, and his conflicting feelings of love and loyalty. The Cold Cold Sea is quite unique, cleverly crafted and a gripping suspense thriller, hooking you immediately into the intriguing and powerful storyline, as have never read any other book like it-with twists and turns which will keep you dying to learn the fate of these families. With the Switzerland author’s former profession as psychotherapist, she does not “miss a beat” for a dynamic character-driven read, with strong raw emotions, and feelings of motherhood, grief, love, loss and family. The one thing I have mentioned to a few other readers, the front cover does not adequately convey the complexity, power, and intensity of the novel, as it seems a little elementary. As a former publisher, and designer, I am into covers, as believe they sell books, and speak for the book as a brand and image. Would like to see a change in cover for the next 2015 printing to reflect more sophistication. Can envision a battered cottage on a cliffside with thick landscaping and hidden with a winding path, and many rocks overlooking a gray/blue foggy beach front, to further enhance the mystery and intrigue surrounding this stunning and spectacular thriller. Highly recommend The Cold Cold Sea and delighted to be introduced to talented Switzerland author, Linda Huber. Cannot wait to read her first book, The Paradise Trees, (teaser included). Sounds like another intense mystery suspense. Fans of Diane Chamberlain will enjoy this one!