A Child from the Wishing Well

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Haunted Books, Nov 26, 2017 - Fiction - 279 pages
2 Reviews

Gerard's wish is to break out of paranoia and mental illness to re-discover daughter Rosie's love for her father.
He takes her to violin lessons and tries to trust Ruth, Rosie's tutor, to help him to know how to bond with his daughter.
Is the eerie music tutor Ruth's foul-smelling garden well a place where wishes happen or is Rosie in danger from which her ill father can still rescue her ?

Ashamed he cannot relate to his daughter, Rosie, Gerard accompanies and stays with her for violin lessons at the home of tutor, Ruth Stein.

Ruth, fascinating him for her musical sensitivity, becomes a confidante. Against his better judgement and his wife's reservations - the paranoid, Gerard, can only cling to believing the tutor can bring him closer to Rosie.

Soon, he must wrestle with his suspicions again, for Ruth mothers Rosie, almost smothers...

Reaching out to a broken doll, propped in the darkness at the bottom of Ruth's garden well, Gerard wants to believe what he touches and smells is just the decay of sacks enfolding a doll; the closest to a child that the lonely old spinster could cling. Investigating, Gerard's fears for Rosie’s safety begin to mount.

Rosie draws closer to her father, notices his new concern but, if she is in real danger, can he save her?

If he needs to save her, can Gerard triumph over the emotional void of paranoia; feel, accept, he and Rosie could share the love of which others speak?


Candace Bowen Early - author of A Knight of Silence :

" Growing up in a suburb of Chicago, the first scary movie I remember seeing was the 1965 Bette Davis movie, The Nanny. To this day, that movie has always stuck with me as one of the great psychological thrillers of all time. For me, A Child from the Wishing Well, is reminiscent of that movie. Ruth and Gerard strap you in, and take you on a psychological thrill-ride to the very end. "

Raven Clark - author of The Shadowsword Saga :

" Raymond Nickford has a writing voice that has to be one of the most unique and intriguing I have come across. The story is both enjoyable and oddly chilling, all the more so for its apparent warmth.
The pleasantness of Ruth and her liveliness should seem gentle, grandmotherly and appealing, a sweet old lady one could adore, but reading the pitch, what seems kindly suddenly turns sinister, her upbeat excitability oddly macabre.
Each time she says lines like "Our Rosie," and speaks so excitedly, rather than hearing a pleasant old lady, I think of a bird screeching. Fingers down a blackboard. "

Stephen Valentine - author of Nobody Rides for Free :

" The author gives great voice to his characters, describing well their idiosyncrasies. A good story must either go deep or wide, and with Nickford's background in psychology he goes deep within the human condition. For some adults, the ability to relate to a child does not come naturally, and requires enormous if not awkward effort. This is an often overlooked subject worth exploring. "

Tony Brady - author of Scenes from an Examined Life :

" A beautifully constructed scenario emerged.
The attic scene vividly describes the significance of the doll in the depth of the well. All the mystery and menace of the story coalesces here.
I was taken back years to the 1960s when I read a story by Saki entitled The Lumber Room. Mystery and menace are purely distilled in a distinctive writing style and I was thrilled that that there was still another 10 Chapters in a book that engrosses the reader from the opening passage. "

Burgio - author of A Grain of Salt :

" This is an intriguing story: is Gerald being overly possessive toward his daughter or is Miss Stein really a threat?
Every parent is aware today that he or she needs to supervise their child's friends. But a violin teacher?
I liked Gerald because of his predicament. This should have a wide appeal because it touches parents so personally. Good read. "

A. R. Taylor - author of Sex, Rain, and Cold Fusion :

" Full of dark shadings and menace. I like the tenderness of the father's feelings."



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The literary thriller isn't usually my cup of tea but I was surprised by A Child from the Wishing Well. Nickford obviously revels in the subtleties of the English language and from the start I feared this might distract me but the characters are so meticulously observed that you really feel you're living alongside them.
When this means being thrust into the shiveringly eerie presence of the eccentric old music tutor, Ruth Stein, and her endearing pupil, Rosie, it's hard not to be drawn in so far that you forget, like me, that your coffee has gone stone cold while you're reading.
I sometimes thought the storyline was complex but the detail and locations in German occupied Prague and the Malvern Hills were so well researched they sounded first hand and, again, I felt I was there, alongside the poor Jewish music student who had to struggle to stay alive and who then found anonymity in England where, childless in old age, her craving to have a child of her own led her to hypnotise her pupils - even though she loved them all.
An original book, challenging, but a quality read.

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About the author (2017)



Raymond Nickford has said "To me, people are stranger than fiction and in many ways more fascinating."

Perhaps this is what first led him to his degree in Philosophy and Psychology from the University College of North Wales and which has subsequently driven him to produce searching character studies in his collected stories "Twists in The Tale", novels and contributions to anthologies in the USA.

Of his novel based in Cyprus, "Aristo's Family," Barbara Erskine, best selling author of "Lady of Hay" has commented on the "beautifully observed characters," the "intriguing and atmospheric scenes," and above all the suspense which made her "want to read on".

Part Greek Cypriot, the author was raised amongst Greeks in England and has travelled extensively through Cyprus.

Though people may be stranger than fiction, still, souls - particularly troubled ones, the outsider, the lonely and any driven to extremity –have been indispensable for Raymond's paperback novels, "Aristo's Family," "Mister Kreasey's Demon" and "Twists in the Tale", Cupboard of Skeletons" and "A Child from the Wishing Well".

The last was winner of the Harper Collins gold star award in May 2010. 

This features an eerie music tutor, her young pupil Rosie and Rosie's paranoid and inept father, Gerard, who tries despite his mental illness to mean more to his daughter.

The E-book version of "A Child from the Wishing Well" is now published and available to buy.



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