Nancy Tucker The First Day of Spring
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A gripping and dark book club debut with a compelling voice at its centre.
I killed a little boy today. Held my hands around his throat, felt his blood pump hard against my fingers. He wriggled and kicked and one of his knees caught me in the belly, a sharp lasso of pain. I roared and squeezed. Sweat made it slippy between our skins but I didn’t let go, pressed and pressed until my nails were white. It was easier than I thought it would be.
Chrissie is nine years old and she has just killed a boy. Across her estate, Chrissie’s playmates are tearful and terrified, and even their parents are frightened, keeping their children locked up indoors. Chrissie rules the roost – she’s the best at wall-walking, she knows how to get free sweeties from the corner shop, and now she has a new secret skill, which gives her a delicious fizzing feeling, like sherbet. It’s a power she doesn’t get to experience much at home, where food is scarce and attention scarcer, where her Ma works nights in her bedroom in black shiny plastic, and her Da is always dying and coming back to life.
Twenty years later, Julia is working in a fish and chip shop, with an eight-year-old daughter called Molly. She is always anxious – anxious that she won’t be able to afford food for Molly, or new school uniforms; anxious about what the other mums must think of her; anxious that the social services are about to take Molly away. That’s when the phone calls begin – a ringing that Julia is too afraid to answer, because it’s clear the caller knows the truth… Julia is Chrissie, living under the new name given to her when she was released from prison eight years before.
All Julia wants is the chance at a fresh start – if not for her, then at least for Molly. But just as Chrissie found two decades before, it’s not always possible to escape the home you were born into. So Julia realises she must go back to the scene of her crime – and take Molly with her.
Nancy Tucker recently graduated from Oxford University with a degree in Experimental Psychology. She currently works in an NHS mental health unit. Her memoir of her childhood struggle with anorexia, The Time in Between, was published in 2015. Her follow-up, That Was When People Started to Worry, an examination of young women’s mental health, was published in 2018. The First Day of Spring is her first work of fiction.
|Publication Date||18 May 2021|