Fantastic Speculative Fiction - This is Worth Reading: Our Beautiful Child by Annalisa Crawford
Annalisa Crawford is known for writing dark, character-driven stories that often include a touch of the paranormal. Our Beautiful Child is her latest and I think it is also her best.
“The Boathouse collects misfits. Strange solitary creatures that yearn for contact with the outside world, but not too much. They sit, glass in hand, either staring at the table in front of them, or at some distant point on the horizon.”
… so says the narrator of Our Beautiful Child. And he’s been around long enough to know.
People end up in this town almost by accident. Ella is running away from her nightmares, Sally is running away from the memories of previous boyfriends and Rona is running away from university. Each of them seek sanctuary in the 18th century pub, The Boathouse; but in fact, that’s where their troubles begin.
Ella finds love, a moment too late; Rona discovers a beautiful ability which needs refining before she gets hurt; and Sally meets the captivating Murray, who threatens to ruin everything.
Three women. Three stories. One pub.
Each of the three stories in Our Beautiful Child is creepy, eerie, and totally engaging. As I read through the book (in one sitting - I couldn't put it down!) I couldn't figure out how the stories were all going to come together and I also couldn't understand the significance of the title. When it all became clear in the end I felt a chill go up my spine at the same time the light bulb went off in my head. These are very dark stories that manage to also be both touching and heartbreaking. Crawford is a brilliantly talented writer and I look forward to reading whatever she comes up with next.