A Child to Cry Over by Vanessa C. Hawkins

Vanessa Hawkins’ latest novel will grip you from the first two sentences. She is best known for her intriguing horror and fantasy stories. This is her first venture into realistic fiction, and what makes it special is not only the clever plot but Hawkins’ unique voice. 

Eight year old Maddy Bell, has been sent away for the murder of a two year old boy living in the small community of St. George, New Brunswick. The opening chapter sets the pace and you can’t wait to learn more. Ten years later, she leaves juvenile detention with a new identity, new clothes and a new chance at life. She also leaves with the shoes she was wearing when she was eight, “…black shiny Mary Janes.” 

“As it was, those shoes were a portrait into her childhood, the only reminder of what she had been, of what she had done. They were supposed to be bad, but when she looked at them, all Maddy could see was something beautiful. 

The story takes us back to when Maddy was eight. The following chapters give us the setting for young Maddy Bell, the separation of her parents and why she’s an outcast, where she lives, her life-hardened and mordant mother and her relationships, the cruel boys that taunt Maddy and her shoes. The story moves back and forth from Maddy Bell to the woman released from detention with a new identity and home. In the ensuing chapters, we learn more about young Maddy Bell from the woman she’s become and how difficult it is to escape the past. When another body is found murdered, in St. George, the community jumps to conclusions. 

“Police have yet to release any details on the suspects involved in the slaying of Susan Doyle, but residents have been quick to point the finger. ‘All this and the cops are still clammed up! What I want to know is: where is Madeline Bell?” 

Maryjane looked up, feeling like a snake was making a meal of her insides. 

I won’t reveal more but I can tell you it’s a terrific read from a young, talented New Brunswick author. As you near the end of the story you will discover the real adult Maddy Bell and the ending will leave you astonished. Her story received Honourable Mention in the WFNB’s writing competition. It has everything a good tale needs.  

A life-long lover of horror, Vanessa wrote her first story in the genre when she was only in grade five. It was titled Mutilated, and it warranted a trip to the school guidance counsellor. A lifetime later, she continues to write about anything scary and paranormal though she has since found herself enthralled in the world of fantasy steampunk and romance. A Child to Cry Over is her first attempt at realistic fiction. She’s had works published locally and abroad and has conducted numerous workshops throughout Atlantic Canada. Currently, she is partying it up in New Brunswick with her husband and daughter and a dog she really wants but hasn’t gotten yet.

  • Publisher : World Castle Publishing, LLC (April 13 2021)
  • Language : English
  • Paperback : 259 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 1953271979
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1953271976

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Growing up in South Branch, Allan Hudson was encouraged to read from an early age by his mother who was a schoolteacher. He lives in Dieppe, NB, with his wife Gloria. He has enjoyed a lifetime of adventure, and travel and uses the many experiences as ideas for his writing. He is an author of action/adventure novels, historical fiction and a short story collection. His short stories – The Ship Breakers & In the Abyss – received Honourable Mention in the New Brunswick Writer’s Federation competition. He has stories published oncommuterlit.com, The Golden Ratio and his blog - South Branch Scribbler.