Saturday, January 23, 2021

The Crying Child - Gothic Mystery Review

Goodreads:  The Crying Child by Barbara Michaels

Rating: Loved It! 
Source: Purchased 

Description:  Trapped between madness and imagination...

From the moment she arrived on King's Island, Joanne McMullen knew that her sister's grief over losing her child had driven her dangerously close to madness. Jo grew anxious when Mary confided that she heard a thin, insistent wail that rose up beyond the dark Maine woods. And Mary’s desperate midnight searches for the anguished voice aroused a chilling terror within Jo. Maybe Mary was losing her mind. But then it came again—the mystifying cry in the night. And this time Jo heard it, too...

Genre:  Mystery - Gothic

Why I Picked This Book:  I adore Barbara Michaels and this is one of my favorites.  I wanted to make sure it deserved its place on my Keeper Shelf.

My Impression:  I love this book so much and this reread didn't change that at all.  There's bits of history, a mystery, a touch of romance, fantastic enormous cats, and a ghost.  Jo makes for a likable heroine.  She loves her sister who has been pretty much like a mother to her and would do anything to help her but she also has her own secrets.  She loves and appreciates history and architecture even if she doesn't like antiques.  Since this book was published in the early 1970s I'll forgive her.  She's also intelligent enough to question what's happening but not so hard headed that she refuses to believe the obvious.  I loved her evolving relationship with Will, the local doctor as well as her appreciation for the island that is suddenly her new home.  Mary and Ran aren't quite as well developed.  Mary is at a breaking point for the majority of the book and Ran is more then a bit worried and desperate to fix the problems.  

I devoured this book in two sittings and if I had a bit more time could probably have finished it in one.  If you enjoy not so scary ghost stories this is a great read.  Barbara Michaels is astonishingly readable and this is one of her best efforts.  I will say that if miscarriages or infertility are a sensitive spot for you you might want to give this a miss.  The book does handle these issues sympathetically but the attitude about miscarriages in general was so different in the early 1970s that it could be stressful.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  Michaels is a favorite and I'm hoping to read through more books on my Keeper Shelf to see if they can still live there.

Would I Recommend this Book? This is a curl up with a cozy blanket and a nice cup of tea kind of read.  If you want a good ghost story that's easy to read and fast paced this is a great choice.


  1. I've never heard about this author before but hey, that books is appealing ! Madness, gothic, fantastic cats, what's not to love ? I'm adding it to my TBR, thanks for sharing :)

  2. I think I read this author under her other pen name. Elizabeth Peters. I've read 3 series by Peters and loved them.

    Anne - Books of My Heart

  3. This sounds like this could have a fantastic setting!

  4. Sounds really good, I definitely need to check this author

  5. I don't think I ever read this author, but heard so many great things about her. I have to add this to my list.

  6. I did read a few books by Barbara Michaels years ago but haven't picked up anything for a long time. This one does sound good and when it stands the test of a reread that is great.

  7. I love it when a beloved book doesn't disappoint upon re-reading. I haven't read anything by Barbara Michaels, but you've got me interested in this one. I love Gothic novels.

  8. I don't think that I have read this author before. I am glad that you enjoyed this one as much on your reread.

  9. It has been years since I read this author and i don't remember much but this one sounds really good. I may see if my library has it. Glad you enjoyed it!