source: free review copy courtesy of FSB Associates
title: Dark Blossom
author: Neel Mullick
published: Rupa Publications (December 21, 2018)
first line: When Sam had called to schedule a session for the first time, his anger had been palpable.
rated: 3 1/2 out of 5
What happens when doctor and patient find themselves in the same sinking boat, yet rowing in opposite directions—one clinging to the past, and the other unable to move beyond it?
Sam returns home from a business trip a day before his son’s thirteenth birthday to find his world cruelly shattered in one fell swoop. Initially thinking he can cope on his own, Sam finally seeks the help of Cynthia, an experienced therapist. What he doesn’t know is that Cynthia herself is trying to recover from a debilitating divorce and the sinister shadow of her ex-husband. In the midst of it all is Lily, Cynthia’s daughter, who harbors a secret that has the power to explode the lives around her.
Taut with tension and intensity, Dark Blossom explores what lies beneath the surface of the lives of apparently “normal” people.
Dark Blossom is a story that is full of secrets and centers on a therapist named Cynthia, her daughter Lily and her newest patient Sam. Sam has recently suffered a tremendous loss. His wife and teenage son were killed in a car crash and Sam is still seeking the truth about the cause of the accident.
The story is told through Cynthia’s eyes and we see that she struggles with her own personal issues just like everyone else. She is a single mom struggling to connect with her daughter Lily. As the story unfolds Cynthia finds out the truth about the accident that took Sam’s family from him and she also finds out some truths about her daughter Lily. It all culminates to plot twist at the end that I did not see coming.
Although Dark Blossom was just 214 pages long it took me a few weeks to finish it. I can’t put my finger on why it took me so long, maybe it was because this was a quiet, slow moving type of read. I am not saying that I didn’t enjoy this one, it was interesting and I liked the plot twist but I did not connect with any of the characters. I did not like Cynthia, I found her to be weak and unprofessional throughout the story. She crossed lines with Sam who was unprofessional himself as well. I also thought Cynthia could not handle stress well and it seemed like she would just unravel at any time in regards to her personal life. I thought she could do with some therapy herself. I also found Lily and Sam’s relationship a little hard to believe. They become instant friends and that did not feel realistic, especially given how withdrawn Lily had been and how she struggled with her relationship with her mom.
Although I did not find myself connecting to the characters, what I enjoyed about Dark Blossom is that I never really knew where the author was taking the story. I was kept guessing throughout and I was curious as to what would happen next. The ending shocked me. Dark Blossom was a quiet, plot driven story full of secrets.
I will close with a few interesting snippets from the story.
“Grief is not passive, Sam. It is what you do to heal yourself.”-p.80, Dark Blossom by Neel Mullick
“All I had to be was quiet-what came naturally with my patients was not so easy with my own daughter.” – p. 141, Dark Blossom
“I took Sam and his revelation to bed with me that night. I know the more our patients touch on our own unresolved issues, the more insecure and incompetent we feel about ourselves, but it was a strange, new sensation.
-p. 149, Dark Blossom
About the author:
Neel Mullick is the author of Dark Blossom. The Head of Product and Information Security at a Belgian family-office technology company, Mullick is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University and INSEAD. He mentors female entrepreneurs through the Cherie Blaire Foundation for Women, is involved in raising a generation of digital and socially aware leaders with Nigeria’s Steering for Greatness Foundation, supports improvement in the quality of life of domestic workers through Peru’s Emprendedoras del Hogar, and works with IIMPACT in India to help break the cycle of illiteracy plaguing young girls from socially and economically impoverished communities. Dark Blossom is his first novel.
Disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. I am under no obligation to write a positive review. My free review copy of Dark Blossom by Neel Mullick was courtesy FSB Associates. Some of these links are affiliate links. The book picture used here is my own.