Rosie Shadow by Louise Worthington is the first book in the Black Tongue horror series.
Thank you to Helen Lewis of Literally Public Relations Ltd for sending me a free Advanced Review Copy of Rosie Shadow in return for an honest review.
Rosie Shadow is six years old, and her mother, Elly, isn’t coping well. Rosie is a strange and terrifying child — incredibly strong, enjoys killing animals and doesn’t listen to her mother. She is desperate to see her father, Archie — who runs tours at the local prison, Shortbury. Meanwhile, one of Archie’s employees, Clare, has just lost her boyfriend in a mysterious car accident.
“At dawn, blackbirds and sparrows sing a love song to celebrate life from the top of the yew tree. The aubade is as sweet as Daddy’s lullaby to a baby. When darkness falls, the sound of a lonely owl spills through its branches, settling in the shadows at the base of the trunk where it shouldn’t travel any further.”
So begins Rosie Shadow by Louise Worthington. This is the third book of Louise’s that I have read and as always, the writing is absolutely beautiful. It’s incredibly moving and full of evocative imagery, and very atmospheric throughout the book! (Check out my reviews of Distorted Days and Stained Glass Lives!)
The main characters are incredibly well-written and relatable too. Clare is mourning the death of her ex-boyfriend and the descriptions are spot on. Clare moves back back to her parents home while she tries to come to terms with his loss. I found these scenes and descriptions so moving and related closely to my own experiences of loss. She is also struggling to figure out what to do with her life, as she is currently failing her masters — and again, this is brilliantly written. In addition, I really enjoyed learning how Elly, Clare and Rosie are all connected as the book progresses.
The story is absolutely terrifying — Rosie is utterly chilling! The more supernatural elements are written so well too, and Louise makes it very believable! As well as killing animals such as birds and dogs, Rosie also enjoys digging in the garden and burying herself. Every scene with her made me feel quite disturbed and uncomfortable. There are a few awful murders too and I think I will be remembering the bees for quite some time (probably my worst nightmare!). I really felt for both Elly, Marie and Annie, who all care for Rosie and desperately try to help her.
At the beginning on the surface it all seems quite normal and it’s only as the story progresses that the darker, supernatural elements come out — which I absolutely loved.
Rosie Shadow is incredibly unique and very original. It’s incredibly disturbing and hard to read at times — and the writing is fantastic! It’s definitely a must-read for fans of horror, and is one of the best horror books I’ve read. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series!
The blurb for Rosie Shadow
‘Whatcha crying for, sissy? Why don’t you grow a pair?’ Rosie says to her mother…‘Send me to school and I’ll rip off your arm! Beat you with the stump.’
Abandoned by her terrorised mother at the age of six, Rosie Shadow will do anything to win the affection of her father Archie, an undead cannibal in charge of Her Majesty’s Prison Shortbury, now operating as a visitor attraction. Clare is sent reeling into Archie’s arms with the grief of losing her boyfriend in a mysterious car accident when he collides with an ancient yew tree.
The secrets in the Medieval dungeon beneath the prison are under threat when Clare becomes suspicious of Archie’s true identity and his progeny.
Rosie Shadow is the first book in The Black Tongue Series, a gripping zombie horror by the author of Rachel’s Garden, The Entrepreneur, Willow Weeps and Distorted Days.
About the author, Louise Worthington
Louise Worthington lives in Shropshire and is the author of six novels. She writes across genres, including psychological fiction, horror and women’s fiction. She takes inspiration for settings from Cheshire where she grew up, her local town of Shrewsbury and the surrounding natural landscape. As a teenager, she read until the small hours, enjoying the dark worlds conjured by Stephen King and Daphne du Maurier.
In June 2020 she signed with Bloodhound Books, leading crime and thriller publishers. 2021 will see the launch of book one of The Black Tongue Series, Rosie Shadow, a supernatural horror, and Dr Glass, book one of the Glass Minds Series, psychological thrillers.
Louise’s debut novel, Distorted Days, was described by Kirkus Review as ‘a formidable work’. Her novella-in-flash was longlisted by Ellipsis Zine and many of her short stories and flash fiction are published in the UK and America.
About the blog tour
I was sent a free copy of Rosie Shadow to review by Helen Lewis of Literally Public Relations Ltd as part of a blog tour — you can view the full tour schedule below. Check out these amazing bloggers and Instagrammers for book reviews, guest posts and extra content!