Cover Image: The First Day of Spring

The First Day of Spring

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

It sounds mad to say I really enjoyed this book as it does cover a dark subject matter but I found it refreshingly honest and both the character of the young Chrissie, the child killer and the older woman and mother she becomes were authentic and believable.  There is humour in amongst the bleakness of Chrissie’s terribly neglected young life and I warmed to her even though we are told practically on page 1 that she has killed a two year old child.  Even after she has served her punishment and is given a chance of a new life, she still punishes herself. The book is very well written and impeccably researched.  I’ll be looking out for more from this great writer.
Was this review helpful?
It's great to be in a position to recommend much more diverse books to our young people at school. Building the senior school library as a place where students actually come and find books that they want to read as opposed to books that teachers think they ought to read is an important responsibility and one we take really seriously.
Books like this are such a positive move as they will appeal to a broader set of readers than we are usually attracting. Dealing with modern issues in a clear and captivating way with a strong narrative voice and characters that the students can relate to is critical as we move forwards. This book is both an intelligent and compelling read that will hold even the most reluctant reader's attention and keep them turning the pages long into the night. It keeps the reader on their toes and ensures that you give it your full attention too. I found myself thinking about its characters and events even when I wasn't reading it and looking forward to snatching kore time with it and I hope that my students feel the same. An accessible, gripping and engrossing read that I can't recommend highly enough. Will absolutely be buying a copy for the library and heartily recommending it to both staff and students.
Was this review helpful?
3.5 stars. This is a dark uncomfortable read following the story of 8 year old Chrissie who begins the book by declaring to the reader that she has just murdered a 2 year old boy. The timeline then splits following Chrissie in the aftermath revealing a dysfunctional young girl who is clearly a product of her upbringing which is one of abject neglect and devoid of parental love. This alternates with following the same character in her mid 20s after her release and now a mother herself. It explores the theme of nature vs nurture and offers an interesting perspective into how a child-killer might try to rebuild their life after serving their sentence, how they might live with horrors they inflicted and how someone can still be serving a life sentence despite having their freedom. The book is well written and Nancy Tucker’s superb turn of phrase ensures Chrissie’s 8 year old voice is authentic and despite the subject matter and the neglect that she endures there are moments of humour but I found large parts of this book very repetitive (same thing different day) and I admit I got a little bored during the last third of the book. It’s a slow burning page-turner and overall I enjoyed it.. well as much as one can enjoy reading a book about a child-killer!! Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Wow. What a dark and intense read. It took a while to get used to Nancy Tucker’s writing style but boy did she blow me away. Ultimately, you feel intense sympathy for Chrissy. Failed by her parents and society. 
Anyone who has taken part of safeguarding training will have come across ACE’s (adverse childhood experiences) This book documents this so well in my opinion. Although fiction it would be a great learning tool.
I had to sit and process this book after the final pages. It’s a powerful read. 
Many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to see an arc
Was this review helpful?
Not for me at all I’m sorry to say. I couldn’t finish it, maybe just the way I am feeling but it was too dark and depressing for me and I didn’t like the writing style. Thank you to Netgalley for this proof.
Was this review helpful?
The First Day of Spring blew me away – what an intense, dark but gripping read! This book takes the reader on a real rollercoaster and made me really think about how we judge people without knowing what elements in their past might make them behave a certain way, all whilst remaining very readable and unique. The story starts with Chrissie, an eight-year-old girl who has some real problems. She is mean, twisted and violent – and as we start the book, Chrissie has just killed a young toddler. We then find out more about her background and family life, meaning I felt a bit of sympathy for her – but not a lot, I have to admit, because she just seems like such a horrible, unlikeable child! But, as we soon discover, her upbringing has been pretty horrible too, so she hasn’t had the luxury of a solid and loving family.

Fast forward twenty years and we reconnect with Chrissie, now living as Julia with a new identity. She’s got a child of her own, which immediately rang alarm bells for me – a) should she be allowed to be looking after a child with her history? and b) will her daughter end up just like her? This no doubt reflects the judgemental thoughts the general public would have about her if they knew she was actually Chrissie. Julia feels those worries too, and we see inside her head as an adult and realise her childhood has truly messed her up (no surprises there) but she’s trying to be better.

This book is such a skillfully written book as it really makes you confront your assumptions and possible prejudices about people. Obviously, what Chrissie did as a child was horrendous – she ruined another family’s life forever in the worst possible way – but as this novel continues we see more and more that she was a product of her horrible upbringing. It’s a difficult and emotional read at times – and very, very dark.

I wouldn’t recommend reading this if you’re wanting an uplifting book, as it definitely doesn’t fit into that category, but if you’re in the market for something bold, thought-provoking and intense then this is a really intriguing novel. I found it hard to put down and will certainly be reading future novels from Nancy Tucker.
Was this review helpful?
A hard topic to read about but executed amazingly. I was hooked within reading the first page. Some parts were harder to read than normal. But I will be recommending this book to friends and family!
Was this review helpful?
"I killed a little boy today"

Chrissie is eight years old, she doesn't have a very good homelife, neglected by her Mammy and Da, starved not just of food, but also love and affection, she does the one thing that will get her noticed, she kills a child and this is how her story begins. Seventeen years later she is Julia, mum to five year old Molly and desperately trying to be a better mum than hers was, still convinced that she will be punished further for what she did in her past life.

This story is dual narrated across two timelines, by Chrissie and Julia, it's a harrowing tale of child neglect, cruelty and murder. Even though that first sentence draws in the readers attention, it's a slow burner with the author drip-feeding details of the events from the perspectives of the two main characters, I sympathised with Chrissie and was so desperate for her to feel loved, that I just wanted to hug her! As a parent myself, I find it very hard to comprehend how someone can behave like this towards their own flesh and blood. The First Day of Spring is this authors debut novel, which was very well written and she's definitely one to look out for in the future.

I'd like to thank Random House UK Cornerstone and Netgalley for the approval, I will post my review on Amazon and Goodreads.
Was this review helpful?
I had a knot in my stomach throughout so much of this. It was tense, emotional and disturbing. I felt the Chrissie chapters were so well written and really took you into the mind of the young character. I would have liked to know more about Chrissie's time in Haverleigh and the transition between then and now but overall the book was still very good. Thank you for the opportunity to read this! I shall definitely keep an eye out for more Nancy Tucker novels in the future.
Was this review helpful?
DNF @ 20%

I didn't find myself enjoying this unfortunately. It's quite a disturbing, difficult read. I didn't like the characters and couldn't engage with the story.

Thank you for the opportunity to read this book.
Was this review helpful?
I found this to be a compulsive and difficult read, with a very dark story at its heart. Chrissie is neglected by a useless, uncaring mother, which leads her to behave in some very disturbing ways...

There are quite a few gaps between Chrissie's childhood and adulthood that you have to fill in yourself, but I didn't mind this - I found the story readable enough without having to have everything spelt out. The book is dark and disturbing, but well written and thought-provoking.

I think some of the events that took place later in the story weren't quite convincing, but overall this was a good and quite unique novel.
Was this review helpful?
A powerful, heartbreaking story of serious crime committed in young childhood, the dominoes that led to it and its aftermath and wider impacts on everyone affected. 

Nancy Tucker writes in a way that evokes such a strong flavour of tragedy-strewn nostalgia, even if you yourself experienced nothing remotely similar in your own early days and even if the time period the childhood years are set is not the one you grew up in. 

There are so many important topics presented in this novel which are not discussed enough. It is a difficult but brilliant read. 

Many thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for a review copy.
Was this review helpful?
I went into this expecting to be blown away given the hype its had across social media. Maybe I should’ve let the hype die down first, maybe then I may have enjoyed it more. 

To me, this wasn’t a crime/thriller, it was more a gripping drama. Much like how I felt about The Family Upstairs. But I am glad I’ve read it and it is one I would recommend but not if you wanted a gripping, on the edge of your seat thriller. I’d more aim it at fans of Big Little Lies.

This book is told from two perspectives, 8 year old Chrissie and future Chrissie/Julia. What I did like was how they intertwine between past and present. 8 year old Chrissie, what a little snob, but what’s interesting is while you’re sat thinking what a little bitch she is, you also can’t help but feel for her. She’s had a terrible time during her 8 years and that has led her down a despicable path. However, Julia is trying to get on with her life as a mother to 5 year old Molly but is constantly looking over her shoulder, worried about every little thing. Which isn’t at all surprising but I felt it all came together by the end. 

I’m awarding 3.5 stars because although it had me turning the pages wanting to know more, I felt the pace was far too slow and I think we needed more of an outlook to Chrissie’s mother in order to learn more about Chrissie.
Was this review helpful?
’m going to start off making quite a bold statement. This will undoubtably be my best book of the month.

The First Day of Spring is a powerful and emotive read from the first few words of the book.

‘I killed a little boy today.’ Meet Chrissie, a little girl herself.

I don’t want to say too much about this book as I really urge you to go and read it yourself and I don’t feel I could do it justice.

The story is told through the eyes of Chrissie and Julia, who we soon discover are connected and in fact the same person. A terrible and horrendous crime is committed and we explore the backstory behind the killer.

This book really made me stop and think and question what I thought, or how I felt about some of the themes that surrounded the plot as well as the characters. Days later, I am still reflecting and thinking about it, re reading the last chapter. #heartburst

I read this as part of a  readalong and it was the perfect book to read and discuss with others. Our DM group was, and still is, so active as we have all needed to discuss and talk about what we have read.

If you have read this I would love to hear your thoughts. If you haven’t, please add it to your wish list or TBR pile.
Was this review helpful?
An astoundingly moving novel which will stay with me for a very long time.  At eight years old Chrissie murders a younger child.  It seems unlikely that such a character can be drawn sympathetically, with compassion and with love, and yet, despite her abhorrent actions, Nancy Tucker managers to give Chrissie a voice and to portray a complex character - intelligent, stubborn and desperate for love and attention, vulnerable and shocking in equal measure. Nancy Tucker writes Chrissie through the lens of an eight year old, her similes and metaphors evoke the joy, simplicity and misunderstandings of a child. The language Chrissie uses is childlike and unguarded so we can watch her and experience her as she thinks and acts rather than analysing her from a distance. Chrissie's life of neglect and poverty collides with the community around her and the fall out is unflinchingly observed. The First Day of Spring is an extraordinary work. It makes for uncomfortable reading but it is also tender and loving about grief, about sorrow and about the absence of love.
Was this review helpful?
This unforgettable and incredibly powerful novel considers what factors prompt a child to commit the most horrendous crime. 

I am still reeling from finishing this book and I know the story will stay with me for a very long time.  

Told in a dual timeline, we first meet 8 year old Chrissie, then 15 years later, as the adult Julia.  The narrative flows seamlessly between the two.

It’s difficult to review this book without giving too much away. I think to get the most from this utterly compelling book, readers should just immerse themselves in Chrissie’s story.

The author has created a totally authentic and remarkable voice for Chrissie.  I loved the touches of humour in Chrissie’s bluntness, she definitely has no filters!

At times this book is so harrowing and tense you can hardly bear to imagine what will happen next.  It is, however, so well written you are swept along with the narrative and I was completely emotionally caught within this story.

The pages about the adult Julia’s friendship with Linda are so moving and wonderfully written I shed a few tears…

This is a truly unforgettable book, I am so grateful I was given the chance to read it.

I would like to thank the publishers Random House UK, Cornerstone and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
The First Day of Spring is not an easy read. It covers subject matter that is upsetting and may be potentially triggering for some. But, it is clearly well researched and authentically voiced.

The opening chapter really captures the imagination immediately and I certainly felt compelled to read through to the end once I'd begun. I think it's a book that deserves to have its plot kept private so I won't be talking about the specifics of the story. But I will say that to be able to give a character who has committed heinous acts of violence, such depth that the reader feels an immense amount of compassion for her, is a testament to the author's skill.

Certainly not a fluffy or uplifting read, there is however a glimpse of hope and I was certainly engrossed in the story from start to finish.
Was this review helpful?
The First Day of Spring is a powerful and compelling thriller, and beautifully written.   It tells the story of Chrissie, a child who kills a child, and then the adult Chrissie who lives under a new identity (Julia).  I loved everything about this book. Nancy Tucker is a brilliantly talented writer and I enjoyed her use of description of places and the thoughts of feelings of characters.  The plot is gripping and I was hooked from the first line.  The story content is controversial and difficult - children killing children.  But in Chrissie I found a character who evoked sympathy for her own damaged childhood, yet the writer does not ask for the reader's forgiveness.  Chrissie in many ways could be an extremely unlikeable character, but I cared about this character a great deal despite her horrific crimes and spiteful and awful behaviour.  The theme of motherhood features strongly in this book, and the parallels and differences between Chrissie's mother and the relationship she has with Molly are a strong theme throughout.   What Chrissie lacks in her childhood is all the more stark with the comparisons to the 'mammies' who feature in the book.

I highly recommend this book.  It's difficult reading in places, but it's so well written and Chrissie owns the narrative in such a way that I was compelled to read and with a deep sense of empathy.  It also evokes important questions about the way that society is or is not able to forgive children for committing awful crimes, and the extent this will continue to impact their lives forever more.
Was this review helpful?
A quite dark read
Sad in places
It is very well written
But can be quite difficult to read at times.
Good Book
Thanks NetGalley
Was this review helpful?
I read quickly. I have done all my life, until now. This book.
The writing is brilliant, the story is intriguing but I cannot read more than a chapter at a time. I read ten pages and the darkness of the story just cloaks me and I have to put it down.

I do want to finish this. I want to find out how it ends however at the rate I’m reading this it will take me a while to get there.

I’ll edit my review with my thoughts when I do but I would say approach with caution. Very few books have made me feel like this when reading, maybe it’s testament to the writing that it has but then again, I can’t read it in one go, so maybe not?
Was this review helpful?