The Hawthorne School by Sylvie Perry

Suspense. Cult. Murder. School.

Claudia is a single mom of her young son Henry. Henry is a bit unique and has been getting bad reports from his teachers at school. Desperate to build a life for her and Henry, Claudia moves to a new town and tries to find where they fit in.

The Hawthorne School is a beautiful campus outside of town that has created some curious rumors. But it might be the perfect place to offer Henry the personalized education and care he requires. Claudia falls in love with the campus and the ideals presented by director Zelma Huxley. Claudia won’t dare question the financial aid package that allows free tuition in exchange for some volunteer hours. Free-range learning with organic meals provided and a holistic/artistic approach.

Is Hawthorne too good to be true?

Of course not. It’s a miracle and a blessing that might save Claudia and Henry who are in love with the school and growing closer to the family they’ve created there. The closer they get to the school, the farther they get from their independence.

Sylvie Perry (pseudonym) is a psychotherapist and author who is ready to bring the suspense. The Hawthorne School is her first psychological thriller.

Perry’s suspense and tension building are spot on. She creates a perfect balance of stress and relief that sucks the reader into a spot of safety before dropping massive blows. The reader definitely sees more of what is happening and realizes the consequences before Claudia, but you can’t help but be sucked in waiting for the hammer to drop.

Claudia takes the lead role as she explores the new school and the people within it. She’s likable and gullible. You want her to have everything they promise her. She has her power taken away and then fights to get it back.

My favorite parts are the subtle reveals, mostly by Zelma. I won’t post any spoilers here, but keep an eye out for Zelma’s dialogue because you won’t want to miss it.

The pace is pretty quick with appropriately spaced reveals to alleviate the tension. I read this book in a day, staying up later than I should have to finish reading. I simply could not put this down for long and quickly returned to it after dealing with everyday life tasks in between.

I’d recommend this book to any thriller or psychological or suspense fans. This is really well done with the added spooky factor of creepy children. Why are creepy little kids so unnerving?

Great job Sylvie Perry, keep the psychological thrillers coming because I can’t wait for more!

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