Book Review: Sundial – Catriona Ward

Book Review: Sundial – Catriona Ward

Release Date:
March 10th 2022
Publisher: Viper Books
Pages: 352
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.25/5 stars


You can’t escape the desert. You can’t escape Sundial.

Rob fears for her daughters. For Callie, who collects tiny bones and whispers to imaginary friends. For Annie, because she fears what Callie might do to her. Rob sees a darkness in Callie, one that reminds her of the family she left behind. She decides to take Callie back to her childhood home, to Sundial, deep in the Mojave Desert. And there she will have to make a terrible choice.

Callie is afraid of her mother. Rob has begun to look at her strangely. To tell her secrets about her past that both disturb and excite her. And Callie is beginning to wonder if only one of them will leave Sundial alive…

From the bestselling author of The Last House on Needless Street comes a stunning thriller exploring the toxicity of the mother-daughter bond, and the power of the past to twist the present.


Sundial is the newest twisty thriller from Catriona Ward, author of The Last House on Needless Street. I read Needless Street last year and found it incredibly gripping so I was really intrigued to see what Ward would do next. The story follows Rob, a teacher trapped in a bitter marriage. She worries about her daughters, namely Callie who collects bones and talks to herself. When Rob feels she has no choice left she embarks on a mission to Sundial, the place where she grew up. Callie knows her mother is acting strangely and is worried about what might happen when they reach Sundial. As Rob starts to reveal the truths about her upbringing, Callie beings to suspect they might not leave Sundial alive.

Sundial hooked me right from the very beginning. It’s a rollercoaster of a book, with plenty of surprise twists and turns that I could not begin to guess. The story was engaging and well-paced – I read the last third of the book in one sitting because I just had to know how it was going to end. Ward is excellent at creating atmosphere and that really shines through in Sundial. The dark, uneasy feeling continued to build as the story raced to its conclusion.

Sundial is an incredibly addictive read and thriller fans will absolutely adore this one. I really liked the way the story was written – we get both Rob and Callie’s point of view as well as Rob in the past and chapters set in Rob’s fictional world of Arrowood. Ward has crafted some really complex and fascinating characters and I was so fascinated by the exploration of childhood and that mother-daughter relationship. I actually think I might have enjoyed Sundial even more than The Last House on Needless Street so if you’re looking for a compulsively readable thriller to sink your teeth into, Sundial is absolutely it.

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