On my blog today, I’m taking part in the blog tour for the brilliant new novel by Johana Gustawsson, The Bleeding. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.
1899, Belle Époque Paris. Lucienne’s two daughters are believed dead when her mansion burns to the ground, but she is certain that her girls are still alive and embarks on a journey into the depths of the spiritualist community to find them.
1949, Post-War Québec. Teenager Lina’s father has died in the French Resistance, and as she struggles to fit in at school, her mother introduces her to an elderly woman at the asylum where she works, changing Lina’s life in the darkest way imaginable.
2002, Quebec. A former schoolteacher is accused of brutally stabbing her husband – a famous university professor – to death. Detective Maxine Grant, who has recently lost her own husband and is parenting a teenager and a new baby single-handedly, takes on the investigation.
Under enormous personal pressure, Maxine makes a series of macabre discoveries that link directly to historical cases involving black magic and murder, secret societies and spiritism … and women at breaking point, who will stop at nothing to protect the ones they love…
I was told I would need to set an afternoon aside to read The Bleeding, and I definitely needed to. I flew through Johana Gustawsson’s latest novel in less than a single day. It feels like it’s been a long while since I read one of her books, which meant I was so exciting to read this one. I always find her ideas so interesting, and her books are so cleverly plotted, especially as they cover several time periods, sometimes spanning decades and hundreds of years. The Bleeding is a dark book; it does cover some heavy themes which may make some readers feel uncomfortable, but it is so compelling. It has all the makings of a classic.
Johana begins her novel in 2002 in Quebec, Canada, where a former schoolteacher has been accused of brutally murdering her husband. We meet Detective Maxine Grant, and from the outset, this is a very strange case, but just how is it connected to the disappearance of two young girls in 1899, and the life of a young girl, Lina in 1949?
I’m always left in awe at just how clever Johana’s novels are. I can only imagine that she must spend many weeks and months plotting her books. Her ideas are always so original, and there isn’t a writer, I can think of, that I can quite compare her work to. The murder in 2002 is very intriguing, particularly with the macabre discoveries Maxine makes at the home of the man who is murdered.
As I mentioned, Johana does cover some dark themes in this book, including black magic, and I have to admit these scenes did send a shiver up my spine as I was reading. I think this book is geared more towards fans of the horror genre, but the crime and mystery element was still there and so well done.
Maxine was a fascinating character, and her connection to the only suspect, who was once her teacher, was especially interesting as the investigation begins. It made me wonder how this would affect Maxine’s judgement of the woman.
The Bleeding is so well written and it instantly grips you. You definitely want to start this when you have a couple of hours to spare as you will not want to put it down. I really enjoyed it.
Publisher: Orenda Books
Publication date: 15th September 2022
Print length: 300 pages
The Bleeding is available to buy:
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