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By: Renee Knight
Publisher: Harper Colllins
Format: e-book Short Story
My Rating: 4 Stars
If you have read Renee Knight’s debut, Disclaimer, you are aware, how brilliantly she crafts deep unsettling and chilling psychological suspense. Her first screenplay, ‘Mother’s Day’, made it onto the Brit List of best unproduced scripts (Great Cover).
MOTHER’S DAY is a short story; hypnotic, intriguing, and mysterious~ A disturbing look into the mind of a young girl.
After a traumatic event, a young mind protects itself, with only memories of an earlier time. The way she wants to recall her mother. (readers are kept in the dark). Use your imagination. However, the way the author writes, the lines are blurred between fact and fiction. Fantasy versus reality.The complex human mind. Brilliant!
What do you do when you want to escape the ugly? Your mind takes you to your “happy place”.
Laura is now nine years old. Her fondest memories are of Beauwater Manor, a luxury hotel in the heart of the English countryside. Ah, the beauty, as she reviews her calendar from 2011… as she turns through each month—the photos, cards - the tranquil Manor House, a place to make memories --"that will stay with you forever". A children’s program, where there are crafts, art, and something for all ages. From winter to spring to summer. The beautiful gardens, the happy times. . .
Her mother had once told her the hotel was made from sandstone, the sort of house you might find in a children’s book, a place for adventures and fantasies, the perfect place for a girl like Laura whose imagination was so agile, she could take herself off into another world whenever she chose---a freedom. The envy of many an adult.
The sanctuary offered luxury and tranquility. She recalls those beautiful moments, the picnics, the three of them, a family. A dance at the beach, picnics, laughter, sunshine, warm memories.
Now, in the present, her father says it is time to go. It wasn’t a holiday but her mom says it will be fun, a wonderful idea--pack and get ready. They are returning to the beautiful place. She is excited.
However, when they arrive, this is not the hotel she remembered. It is dark. It is not like a hotel. A home away from home. The perfect place for children. She places her calendar in her room, and all the photos from years past. She is sure they will go to the beach tomorrow—her mum had promised a picnic.
The next day, this woman says no, not today. She looks out the window, her father is leaving. They say he will return. This does not look like the hotel she remembers. A blackness. Like a blank page waiting for someone to write on. Laura to fill its emptiness. It is raining today.
She would avoid the cracks in the pavement. Stay in the squares, it would be all right. She could not look back. If she looked back she would be trapped. Would the rain ever stop so they would be able to go for their picnic? Maybe she has gotten lost in another room of the hotel.
Laura recalls her mother before she became ugly. Before the illness. Her mother only wanted to sleep. She had seen this film before. She had wanted to feel the comfort of her other mother, not the sick one with the clump of hair.
She wanted to go to a happier place, to travel back in time to the Manor House she remembered. She needed to go back further. She would get out her calendar and photos. It is her game of hide and seek. The woman was waiting. The woman was seeking, she was hiding. She could slip away. A game. She had been five. Pretty, blonde, like her mother. They had been real guests in a real hotel. Not like now.
Every promise her mother had ever made was broken by this other mother. The weak mother, who did not smell right. Laura was always kept on the wrong side of a closed door and never invited in. She had given her mother a special gift for Mother’s Day. The card was laid beside her. All she wanted was to sleep. She had given her that.
She must not look back, like treading on the cracks in the pavement. Stay in the squares, then all would be ok. Laura turns back to the upper windows of the hotel; however, she was not there. She was free. She was five, back on the beach with her parents at Beauwater Manor. She could taste the picnic. A shame her father could not join them .. she had seen him drive away.
She knew she was safe. She had carved out her escape. Her clever hiding place.
(So Good)! A creative promo, a free download Kindle e-book 32 page short story (teaser). A bonus, readers receive an excerpt from Disclaimer Chapter 1 (Spring 2013), Chapter 2 (Two Years Earlier), and Chapter 3 (Spring 2013).
Disclaimer will be available in Paperback, upcoming February 2, 2016.
If you have previously read the book, you may want to re-read. Highly recommend the short story, MOTHER’S DAY. Quite creative, and oh so mind-boggling. You have to read to discover, what happened to Laura.