Jo Furniss’ debut novel will leave readers shattered, thinking long and hard after its emotional ending. All the Little Children brings them a strong female protagonist who faces horrific circumstances and choices.

It’s supposed to be a wonderful camping trip in the Shropshire woods when Marlene sets off with her sister-in-law Joni and their assorted children. With her husband moving out that same weekend, this is designed to upset her children less, instead of watching their father pack his bags.

Things rapidly deteriorate when it appears something has killed the local villagers. And the resourceful Marlene soon finds it’s not restricted to that area.

There will be a band of Wild Children, accidents, and deaths as this little troupe try to reach safety. There will be threats from within and without the woods, and those whom readers would think would be helpful turn out to be some of this group’s worst enemies for their own reasons.

It would be difficult to describe the action more without spoiling the plot, but suffice it to say that there are moments of high tension that are relieved with tender moments. Marlene and the rest of the characters spring off the page as literally drawn, very human with foibles and warts and hearts.

The ending allows for a sequel readers will assume is on the horizon as Marlene must decide if she will save her own children or save them all.

Advertisements