Review: 'That Dark Remembered Day' by Tom Vowler

by - July 18, 2014

Published 13th March 2014
Headline Publishing


A son returns to the small town where he grew up, where his mother still lives and where a terrible event in his childhood changed the lives of almost every person living there. As the story unfolds through the eyes of the son, the mother and finally, the father, the reader experiences the taut build up to one day's tragic unravelling, and the shock waves that echoed through a once happy family and close-knit community. Will they ever be able to exorcise the damage of that day or do some wounds run too deep?


Firstly, thanks to bookbridgr and Headline Publishing for giving me the opportunity to read Tom Vowler’s second novel. When it arrived I found the cover captivating and I couldn’t wait to delve into the story.

That Dark Remembered Day delves into a dark world of pain and resentment; a community, and individuals, left devastated by the aftermath of one man’s war with himself. I don’t want to give too much away about the story, as I believe a great deal of its appeal comes from the mystery behind the events of that day. It is a story that requires the reader to really immerse themselves in the lives of its characters, and encourages the reader to understand the emotional turmoil that led to the horrible events that changed the town forever. Vowler’s ability to set the scene is also incredible – you really feel like you’ve been to Highfield, into the woods and in the town pub.

When Stephen Briggs returns to the town where he grew up, he is forced to face the horrors of the past – to address the questions that were never answered, the situations never understood. That Dark Remembered Day explores the reality that in order to deal with and overcome an awful experience, you must face it head on. Stephen Briggs is a clear example that if you run from your past, hide from it, it will one day catch up with you unexpectedly.

Vowler’s ability to portray the psychological turmoil of his characters is impressive - very real and honest. As you learn about the events of the past Vowler writes the story from the point of view of Stephen’s mother, Mary, and his father, Richard. Vowler’s characters are extremely well developed, so what could be a risky approach, Vowler has successfully used to open the entire story up to the reader. I love Vowler's portrayal of how these events have torn a family apart, making each character questions themselves, and each other, and losing sight of what is truly important and right in front of them.

I will have to confess that there was a moment when the story was following Stephen’s mother that I found it difficult to stay focused – there wasn’t a great deal of activity in the story and I eagerly wanted to move on to find out more about what actually happened. Eventually Vowler reveals that truth about that day to the reader, and as you begin to piece the events together you realise the true horror. As I have a keen interest in Psychology, I was extremely intrigued by the nature/nurture debate explored within the story.

That Dark Remembered Day is a sad story that will shock you and break your heart, but will make you evaluate and appreciate what’s important in your life.

You May Also Like


Contact Me


Email *

Message *