Book review: When I was Ten by Fiona Cummins

Book review: When I was Ten by Fiona Cummins

When I was Ten is another creepy read from Fiona Cummins…and it’s fantastic.

Fiona Cummins hooked me with the first line of chapter 1 in When I was Ten:

“In eleven minutes and fourteen seconds, Catherine Allen, who only wants to be ordinary, will be dead.”

I had so many questions already. The book throws back to 3 days prior to this, and we gain some insight into Catherine’s life and to what might lead to her death. But to really understand what’s been threatening to disrupt her life since she was a child, we need to understand her childhood. We are transported 21-years back to when Catherine was 10 and learn about the events that shaped her and her sister’s life.

From the outside it seemed like Catherine and Shannon’s lives were perfect. Daughters of the village doctor and his wife who were pillars of the community, always involved in charity and incredibly generous. The family also lived in the biggest house in the village. No-one suspected that they were monsters to their daughters. Catherine and Shannon endured constant physical, emotional, and verbal abuse from their parents. They were often starved, locked up in the backyard shed overnight with spiders and other bugs and told they were never wanted. It’s not surprising that these two sisters stuck together and were best friends. Shannon once tried to tell her teacher but wasn’t believed. The only other person who knew about the abuse was their best friend and neighbour, Brinley Booth. One fateful night a series of events led to even further abuse and it ended in life-changing tragedy.

It’s 21-years since the events and journalists are hounding Catherine, opening old wounds and bringing back memories and emotions she buried years ago with the hopes of living a normal, ordinary life.

I loved reading When I was Ten and in true Fiona Cummins’ style it’s full of twists and turns that have you doubt every theory you have until the very end. If you love a good thriller, I highly recommend this book.

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Anne Doli
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