Cover Image: The First Day of Spring

The First Day of Spring

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Member Reviews

Wow, this was a strong thought provoking read, we follow Chrissie as a child, neglected and has clear behavioral issues, from the start Chrissie commits a terrible act and it shapes her adulthood. The other time line is Julia (grown up Chrissie) who struggles with life. mother hood and her own childhood trauma. I don't think this book will appeal to everyone because of the strong content, I had so many different emotions through out and for me that shows a great book.
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Thanks netgalley for allowing me to read this horrific sad story. At the end of this book I was crying, which is something no book has ever done to me.
Chrissie was born into a family that had no idea how to look after a little girl, her mother hardly fed her and ignored her most of the time, her father liked his drink at the pub rather than seeing his daughter was fed and looked after.
Chrissie grew up with hate in her heart because no one loved her, and she thought if she was not loved why should other children be loved and looked after by her family.
She was forever screaming and being naughty as that made people give her attention, until she did something that can never be forgiven.
If you get upset reading a sad book don’t read this one, but it was very well written and gave you an insight into other peoples lives.
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I believe that this is one of the most harrowing books I have read as it explores the impact of childhood on adult life. Each happening, big or small, in her early life has a huge impact on the child growing up.The main character is a badly behaved child and her first and one of her worst acts happens on page one, so the reader is aware of this from the start.
The rest of the book tells her various stories explaining her problems.
I found her hard to like but easier to understand as the story progresses, until friendship helps her into adulthood.
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An interesting premise, looking at the life of a childhood killer from her perspective both then and now, as a mother struggling post-incarceration to try and bring up her daughter well.  Descriptions of the poverty and hunger she grew up with were full and empathic.  Mother and daughter relationships are not always beautiful, best-friend situations.  Kept me turning the page.
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I am sorry but I found this book too distressing to continue reading. I was a Childrens' nurse and reading about a child doing this was too horrific for me to tolerate
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A very strong and powerful book which certainly grabbed my attention even if I hesitate to say I enjoyed it given it's disturbing subject matter.  I felt completely steamrollered once I'd finished this harrowing tale but also horrified whilst it was incredibly thought provoking.  Told in two timeframes by the same person, by Chrissie as an incredibly deprived despairing child and Julia as an adult trying her best but haunted by the past.  This book would certainly not be for everyone which is why I have given it 4 not 5 stars, it'll certainly stay with me and I won't forget it.
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An excellent read. Nancy Tucker created a truly interesting crime story where there are no smart sleuths or detectives. There is a heart-breaking story from the past though, one woman's quest for love and forgiveness and 2 unique voices telling 2 sides of the same story, separated by time rather than anything else.

I am not even sure this book can be called a crime story. Surely, there is violence, there is death, there is some investigation and somebody goes to prison for the unthinkable crimes committed. But. There is also a story of friendship, a story of righting wrongs, a story of motherly love and how the absence of it can shape our lives infinitely.

It is such a beautiful story. Its unique voices ring in my head even after finishing, which I actually did in 1 day or so. Tucker's prose is powerful and efficient. Unputdownable.
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It's not often I read a book like this, and never before have I read one on the subject matter.
Told alternately by Chrissie, who is an eight year old child, and Julia who is an adult with a young child, we learn of the had life Crissie leads, which results in a terrible crime. Very thought provoking.
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I wasn't sure how I felt about this book initially, the first line is obviously intriguing but I wasn't sure if I could cope with the subject matter. So glad I persevered, my heart broke for Chrissie/Julia so many times. An excellent debut.
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As a child Chrissie was responsible for the death of a toddler and was taken into some sort of institution until she was eighteen. The punishment was not deemed fit for the crime and she has had to change identity several times. This book flips between her as a child and now as an adult and parent herself. I was completely hooked and loved it, read it in one sitting!
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A heartbreaking story. Chrissie is a very neglected child which makes her behave very strange as she doesn't know what it means to be happy and loved.It is a very well written book and I really felt her pain as she tries to live a life that is far from normal. It was a gripping read but did find it a bit disturbing at times and also very emotional but was a really poignant and interesting read
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I'm afraid that this book is in the "not for me" category. I found it upsetting and struggled to finish it. That said, the writing is excellent, and the plot is good.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for an ARC. All opinions my own.
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As I started reading, I thought this is not for me- too dark. As I carried on reading and got involved with the nature versus nurture theme I realised this is so much more than a crime novel. Beautifully written with touches of humour (Christie is a feisty little girl). I really felt for her, always hungry, dirty and unloved. We also get to know her as an adult and how her early life has affected her. A hard book to ‘enjoy’ but a worthwhile and chilling read.
Thanks to Penguin Random House and NetGalley for an arc in return for an honest review.
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I've read Nancy Tucker's non fiction books so was keen to read her debut fiction title as she's such. a good writer and it didn't disappoint me. The first chapter is incredible - chilling, the narrator eight year old Chrissie has such a distinctive voice and i was instantly hooked. The first chapter establishes events that happened on the first day of spring when Chrissie is eight and then switches to Julia, in the present, who is struggling with her daughter Molly and is contacted by someone who knows the truth about her.  The chapters alternate between the two narrators and time zones and the neglect of Chrissie's childhood is harrowing. This book is outstanding, Nancy's writing is excellent and I read compulsively, unable to put the book down. Despite the darkness, love proves to be a force for good. I can't wait to read more thrillers by this author.
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This book ... I'm not sure what I was expecting when I started reading, but it wasn't this. The blurb may give you an overview of what the book is about, a hint of what may be to come, but it belies the solemnity and tragedy of the story. The melancholic, powerful and almost visceral nature of parts of the narrative and the truly emotional rollercoaster of a ride that you are about to embark upon. 

This is also a book that is going to be very hard to review. Partly because, for very good reason, the blurb still manages to hide the very darkest secrets that this story holds. And I don't want to give too much away about the story itself. It is a tale that is told through a dual timeline and two perspectives -  that of Chrissie, an eight year old girl who suffers the most tragic and neglectful of upbringings, and of Jayne, mother to five year old Molly who is just trying her hardest to give her daughter everything she never had. There are no surprises to be found here, the truths linking the two timelines spelt out to readers very early in the book - that is not what this book is about. We are not expected to unpick the mystery of Jayne's past, the reason she fears losing Molly so much. Nor are we supposed to puzzle long over the dark secret that keeps Chrissie's tummy fizzing with excitement and a sense of power. That is very much spelled out in an unassuming, almost matter of fact manner in the first few pages. It makes the impact all the more powerful, the emotions heightened.

The book involves the murder of a young child. The emotional aftermath is heart wrenching in its authenticity. Seeing young Steven's parents, his mother especially, struggling so hard to come to terms with what has happened, the way in which his death slowly chips away at the very essence of his older sister, Susan, can be very hard to read. But those scenes are almost secondary to the story of Chrissie, the young girl who is at the heart of the story. The real reason we are all here. As tragic as Steven's death is, and it really is, it is Chrissie who demands our attention. 

I thought I would find it hard to feel any sympathy for her, given what we witness in the first few pages, but Nancy Tucker has created in Chrissie a wonderfully tragic dichotomy. A character who does something so loathsome that she should have our hatred, and whose circumstances are so utterly horrid that in truth, she only garners our sympathy. A feeling of how she has been let down by all those around her. That what comes to pass is horrific, tragic, unforgivable and yet almost inevitable. It would take a hard heart not to be moved by the neglect we witness. To not feel an almost visceral reaction to the way in which she is treated. For no matter what we know about Chrissie, she is just an eight year old child. Nancy Tucker has written her perfectly, the ferocity and bravado she shows to the world masking the scared and lost child who lives within. Her character, her life, feel uncomfortably authentic. Her troublemaking and anger are a cry for help in a world full of adults who simply fail to notice. She is as much a victim as anyone in this story. 

Then there is Jayne. She is a character who it is hard not to feel sympathy for, even though we know her darkest secrets. She loves her daughter, Molly, so much that she would do anything for her. But she is clearly a broken woman, someone who is worn down by a life and a past that is slowly revealed to us as we read on. Her situation certainly made me think long and hard, about redemption and second chances. Watching her with Molly you can feel the love emanate from the page, but also the sense of her almost drowning in her fear. And as we journey with her to a place from her past, the melancholic undertones of her story grow ever stronger. The battle of her conscience, of her need to do right by Molly, was acutely observed, portrayed in such a way that you cannot help but forgive what seems to be the most reckless of decisions.

The story left me emotionally wrung out, the final chapters bringing a tear to my eye. It is a story that is set to move the hardest of hearts, a tale of murder and neglect. Of toxic families and enduring friendships. Of unforgivable actions and the need for redemption. It is a story of love and it is a story of hope beyond all the odds. It has made me think long and hard about how I have reacted to certain events from the past, made me question whether there is such a true division between the black and the white. It is a story that will stay with me for quite some time, and that comes highly recommended.
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A harrowing read , especially not what you would expect from the first day of spring.  This book though was aptly titled. I wasn't sure I could finish reading this book but I was so wrapped up in Chrissie's story I just had to know what became of her and those around her. I'm so pleased I did finish the book  as it became a compelling read which I couldn't put down .
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Wow - just finished this book couldn’t put it down - I loved the way it was written in the past and present alternate chapters taking you back to Chrissie’s childhood and the events that lead to the life she is now leading . A very dark subject but told with great characters so well written you almost understand the actions of young Chrissie given the hardships she faced growing up - an absolute gripping read
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This disturbing yet utterly compelling story takes us into the mind of a troubled little girl who commits an unspeakable crime and now, as a young woman, is living with the consqeuences. Eight-year-old Chrissie killed a little boy of two, and spent years in a secure unit before being released at 18 with a new identity. Now a mother herself, will her past impact on her future? Will she lose her little girl as she feels she deserves, having taken away another mother's reason for living?
Told in a dual timeline toggling between past and present, and in the first person, the story gives us a unique insight into the mind of a child who regards herself as a "bad seed". Chrissie's desperate need for attention makes our heart ache for a hungry, unloved, dirty, despised little girl, failed by all the adults around her. 
Her own mother tried to get her adopted, while the homogeneous group of "mammies" who are her peers' mothers treat her with scant kindness. Her teacher thinks she's too clever for her own good, which may be true - but sadly at eight, Chrissie does not have the understanding to realise that dead means dead forever.
Themes of poverty, vulnerability and abandonment, shame, guilt and fear pervade the pages, but underlying it there is always hope that Chrissie, now Julia, can transcend her tragic past if only she can finally forgive herself.
This is so much more than a story of a tragic crime and its consequences. The examination of the mother-daughter relationship between Julie and her daughter Molly, between Chrissie and her mother Eleanor, and between the "mammies" and their children is a fascinating aspect of the book, as is the friendship between Chrissie and her best friend, the somewhat dim Linda - a relationship in which it seems much brighter, cheeky, defiant Chrissie has all the power.
Despicable as Chrissie's crime was, I don't think anyone will be able to read this with crying for a lost girl whose jealousy of other's children security in their family's love leads her down the wrong path; and gaining some understanding of why a child who kills is not necessarily a monster.
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My first book by this author who is a clinical psychologist. It’s a psychological novel looking at the life of Chrissie, who killed aged 8.

It’s told in chapters from the POV of Chrissie and Julia. It really tugged on my heartstrings. We see her life as a child, and later as a mother. In amongst her deeds I felt there was a naivety and innocence. The writing style embraced that really well. She was neglected, lonely, and desperately needed to feel loved which was a big emotional tug. But she is also mean and manipulative and uncaring. 
I couldn’t help but think how her life could have, should have been so different. It feels from her behaviour and speech patterns as though she is on the spectrum, even as an adult she comes across as child like, and has regimented behaviours. 
I felt it started to lag and feel stagnated about half way. I didn’t feel that the reader is got any more in-depth knowledge or understanding of Chrissie. 
I liked the ending. 
Initially I thought this had potential to be a real WOW book, but it missed that mark for me. I really enjoyed it.
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Chrissie Banks is a feisty little girl.  Living on her wits and looking after herself, she comes across as brash and trouble.  Chrissie’s mammy leaves a lot to be desired, hardly a role model for her daughter.  The story follows Chrissie through all the trials and tribulations of a neglected, uncared for 8 year old, with all the sadness her life brings.

This was a deeply emotional story,  dark and tragic.  Told from the viewpoint of 8 years old Chrissie and 25 years old Julia.  The effects of neglect and poor parenting can be blamed for the events that ruined Chrissie’s life.  Or is it nature over nurture, would she have done exactly the same if she had had loving, caring parents?  It’s an age old dilemma of who or what to blame and this book gives the reader the perspective insight of who knows?

A book to reflect upon and consider at length.

Thank you NetGalley.
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