Cover Image: The First Day of Spring

The First Day of Spring

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The First Day of Spring by Nancy Tucker
Pub Date 17th February 2022
'So that was all it took,' I thought. 'That was all it took for me to feel like I had all the power in the world. One morning, one moment, one yellow-haired boy. It wasn't so much after all.'
Chrissie knows how to steal sweets from the shop without getting caught, the best hiding place for hide-and-seek, the perfect wall for handstands.
Now she has a new secret. It gives her a fizzing, sherbet feeling in her belly. She doesn't get to feel powerful like this at home, where food is scarce and attention scarcer.
Fifteen years later, Julia tries to mother her five-year-old daughter, Molly. She is always worried - about affording food and school shoes, about what the other mothers think of her. Most of all, she worries that the social services are about to take Molly away.
That's when the phone calls begin, which Julia is too afraid to answer because it's clear the caller knows the truth about what happened all those years ago.
And it's time to face the truth: are forgiveness and redemption even possible for someone who has killed?
Wow-what a remarkable debut. The First Day of Spring is a gripping, thought-provoking, complex, haunting story of abuse, neglect, poverty, vulnerability, murder and reprieve. 
A compelling read with perfect characters that feel genuine and realistic. The story is told on two parallel timelines Chrissie and Julia, Chrissie, a cruel, cold killer and Julia with a daughter of her own.
I enjoyed it (if that's the right word), but it is quite a long, challenging read. 
I'm happy to recommend it. It is a book that I will re-read and indeed mention to others.
I want to thank NetGalley, Random House UK, Cornerstone Penguin and Nancy Tucker for a pre-publication copy to review.
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Wow! That's what I thought when I first started reading this brilliant book! From the first page it had me hooked. As darkly disturbing as it is - it made me want to read and read and read. I got so immersed in the life of Chrissy. I felt sorry for her, was angry at her, laughed at her and wanted to save her and give her the love she so desperately needed. 

Loved this book and look forward to reading many more from Nancy Tucker. 

Thank you for letting me preview.
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It may seem over the top to rate a book one of your top reads of the year as early as February, but there is no way to read this novel without agreeing - it is perfect in every way. Haunting and emotive, full of characters you really care about - one of the first novels I have read in a long time where I desperately wanted it to continue and felt a sense of loss at the end.

Not an easy read by any means, but so well crafted that, despite the heavy topic, you will skip through the pages breathlessly.
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'So that was all it took,' I thought. 'That was all it took for me to feel like I had all the power in the world. One morning, one moment, one yellow-haired boy. It wasn't so much after all.'
Chrissie knows how to steal sweets from the shop without getting caught, the best hiding place for hide-and-seek, the perfect wall for handstands.
Now she has a new secret. It gives her a fizzing, sherbet feeling in her belly. She doesn't get to feel power like this at home, where food is scarce and attention scarcer.
Fifteen years later, Julia is trying to mother her five-year-old daughter, Molly. She is always worried - about affording food and school shoes, about what the other mothers think of her. Most of all she worries that the social services are about to take Molly away.
That's when the phone calls begin, which Julia is too afraid to answer, because it's clear the caller knows the truth about what happened all those years ago.
And it's time to face the truth: is forgiveness and redemption ever possible for someone who has killed?

This is a stunning debut read.
Wonderful well written plot and story line that had me engaged from the start.
Love the well fleshed out characters and found them believable.
Great suspense and found myself second guessing every thought I had continuously.
Can't wait to read what the author brings out next.
Recommend reading.

I was provided an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher.  This is my own hone\st voluntary review
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A deeply disturbing and heartbreaking book, but  written with  a lightness of touch that keeps you turning the pages and thinking about the deep questions of life, particularly forgiveness and redemption
Ms Tucker is a very talented writer and I look forward to reading more from her.
Thank you to netgalley and Random House UK for an advance copy of this book.
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It is so difficult to talk about this book without descending into rapture. Occasionally, a novel comes along and takes a piece of my heart; this is one. 

Chrissie is eight years old when she kills a boy. You discover that on the first page. What follows is a narrative told by Chrissie as a child and an adult. This is a hard hitting read, it is dark and heart rending. The characters and their stories seep into your soul. I felt an almost unbearable sadness for Chrissie despite her crime. Adult Chrissie, now Julie, struggles with her past and fears for the future for her own daughter. 

Whilst this is a disturbing book it is so well written that I could not put it down. There is some humour in young Chrissie's naive musings about life. I won't forget her for a long time. 

This is a superb debut. 

Many thanks to NetGalley and Random House for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Seldom have I encountered a protagonist quite as pitiable as Chrissie Banks. She was not an easy little girl. She could be vindictive, nasty, and bullying. While sometimes I found myself disliking her, at other times my heart broke for her. So young, so alone, so deprived, so hungry… People called Chrissie a ‘bad seed’, and she knew this was true.

The writing in this very dark, very disturbing, very chilling novel, was spectacular. The reader becomes immersed in Chrissie’s head, and that is not a comfortable place to reside. Both as a child, and as an adult, Chrissie has felt unworthy. When she has a daughter of her own, she feels that she does not deserve a child, because she has taken away another Mammy’s child. She tries very hard to be a good mother – though she has no experience of how motherhood is supposed to work. She is afraid that her daughter will turn out like she did.

The advice to writers is sometimes ‘write what you know’. “The First Day Of Spring“, is written with profound understanding and empathy that I can only hope that this novel is not a case where the author writes what ‘she knows’. Her portrayal of an unwanted, neglected, desperately unloved child is one which will haunt me forever.

A profoundly chilling and disturbing character study, this novel is deserving of all the stars…
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This was not my fave out it’s style of book. I could not get into it as it was quite disturbing and dark. Out of my comfort zone, but others may enjoy it!
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Based loosely on May Bell this was a good premis and food for thought. Just didn’t think it was well written.
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Read and reviewed in exchange for a free copy from NetGalley.  This was a powerful read.  Tucker captured the distinct voices of Chrissie and Julia well and handled very difficult themes sensitively and skillfully.  My only critique would be of the early regular descriptions of characters' weight, which to me stuck out and felt superfluous.  However, overall, a very engaging read.
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This book unsettled me and I found it uncomfortable reading. A good book brings out your emotions and this book certainly did. I felt sorry and repulsed by the main characters in equal measure.
Not my usual genre but very well written.
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From the very first line I was immediately hooked on this book. A little girl has killed a little boy and the most frightening part is...she liked it.

There's been a few books recently with the trope of a young child gone bad, and while these have been gripping reads, The First Day Of Spring stands miles ahead in so many ways. For me, it's one of the few of these types of books where it's possible to empathise and with the child who has done such terrifying acts. Nancy Tucker writes so well and draws you in so much that you flip from being revolted one minute to then wanting to scoop up Chrissie and rescue her the next.

The book switched back and forth in timelines and perspectives and it flowed brilliantly. It gave such a good insight into the Chrissie before and after her crimes and indeed what may have caused such unthinkable actions. 

There is no doubt this is a harrowing read, from the descriptions of the murder to the repetitive neglect of Chrissie by her mother but it is one of the best books I've read in quite a while and poor Chrissie will stay with me for a long time to come.
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would like to thank netgalley and the publisher for letting me read this book

sorry to say this one wasnt for me...i dreaded opening the book to read it sorry gonna pass on this one
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Sorry. This book just wasn't for me.  The plot sounded interesting but I struggled with the characters. It was poor choice my me to choose this book as it was not one of my usual genres..
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The First Day of Spring is a really harrowing, haunting book which at first I felt too cowardly to read as the first chapter left me reeling. After three attempts at starting it again I finally found the strength to continue and from then on I was gripped. This is such a thought provoking story that has challenged a lot of my previously held beliefs and it will stay with me for a long time.

My thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for my copy.
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To what extent can a childhood of neglect justify murder? Well, if this book is aimed at making the reader sympathetic to the perpetrator it has failed. Forgetting the fact that Chrissie, the protagonist, mercilessly murders a baby at the start of the novel, not only is she completely unremorseful but she goes on to behave abominably towards other people, including her best friend. The portrayal of Chrissie as an adult is more sympathetic but it's difficult to believe it's the same person. Some interesting insights into the mind of a killer but overall not a book I enjoyed.
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I absolutely loved this. A really unique novel with a wonderful central character.. I would highly recommend this if you're looking for an intelligent novel that explores the long-term effect of a damaged childhood. Thank you so much to the publisher for the opportunity to read this.
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Fifteen years after 8-year-old Chrissie killed a young boy, she is now a mother herself, struggling with the unfamiliarity of freedom, the pressures of motherhood, and being forced to reckon with her past.

4.5⭐️

This book wasn't exactly what I was expecting (I'm not sure would I class it as a thriller, personally), but honestly I enjoyed it all the more for what it turned out to be.
Because what it turned out to be was unlike anything I've ever read before. It was haunting and captivating and I read it entirely in one sitting.
The narrative voices of "Chrissie" and "Julia" were so distinct and yet recognisable as the same person, the writing of it was really well done. I am a sucker for character-driven narratives and this book epitomised this. The way Tucker is able to make you pivot between horror and profound sympathy for Chrissie was honestly impressive. Added to the fact she didn't make Julia (adult Chrissie) try to make excuses for her actions, but still acknowledge the awful circumstances that surrounded them-made for an entirely compelling main character and narrator. 
I thoroughly enjoyed the examination of Chrissie's complicated relationship to freedom throughout her life. To see how the Home felt like a form of freedom to her, and the 'keepers'  the closest thing she had felt to parental love. Then to see how this shaped her view of life after Haverleigh. Watching her grow away from this and confront her insecurities as a mother was so satisfying, I hadn't even realised how invested I'd gotten in her journey until we got that payoff-and it was so beautifully done. 

If you're looking for a story that will really stay with you and make you examine so many aspects of childhood and parenthood, that masterfully weaves the grim and dark with the sincere and emotional, I highly recommend picking up this book.

Thank you NetGalley and Random House UK for my advanced review copy of this title, recieved in exchange for an honest review.
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This is a heart wrenching story for many reasons. 
The book begins with eight year old Chrissie strangling a little boy and enjoying the feeling. 
She takes pleasure in watching his mother scream when she finds him dead and is desparate to tell everyone she did it. 
She keeps it to herself for a while but it eventually comes out and Chrissie is sent away. 
We then meet Chrissie who is now a Mum and is called Julia for her own protection. 
Julia is so damaged by her childhood that she is scared of being a Mum but it’s clear she loves Molly very much. 
A good read but it includes some very dark moments. 
Thanks to Random House UK and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book.
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Really enjoyed this one, it was very dark and thought-provoking and an unsual subject matter very reminicent of Mary Bell.
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