Three women. Three eras. One extraordinary mystery… #TheBleeding #Review @JoGustawsson @OrendaBooks

1899, Belle Époque Paris. Lucienne’s two daughters are believed dead when her mansion burns to the ground, but she is certain that her girls are still alive and embarks on a journey into the depths of the spiritualist community to find them.

1949, Post-War Québec. Teenager Lina’s father has died in the French Resistance, and as she struggles to fit in at school, her mother introduces her to an elderly woman at the asylum where she works, changing Lina’s life in the darkest way imaginable.

2002, Quebec. A former schoolteacher is accused of brutally stabbing her husband – a famous university professor – to death. Detective Maxine Grant, who has recently lost her own husband and is parenting a teenager and a new baby single-handedly, takes on the investigation.

Under enormous personal pressure, Maxine makes a series of macabre discoveries that link directly to historical cases involving black magic and murder, secret societies and spiritism … and women at breaking point, who will stop at nothing to protect the ones they love…

This PHENOMENAL novel is set between Paris and Quebec and told over three timelines: 1899, 1949 and 2002. The novel covers loss, family/relationships, good vs evil, secrets/lies, religion, spiritualism, witchcraft, grief, revenge, black magic, manipulation, devastation, betrayal and a search for the truth.

OMFG what a read. I have to say that if you could only read one book this year — make sure it is THIS book. Told from multiple POV’s and timelines, The Bleeding embedded itself under my skin and I can’t stop recommending it to anyone who will listen. Atmospheric with beautiful descriptions, the writing is unreal. I could visualise images, locations and characters as I read this book.  The people and timelines intertwine seamlessly and laid the foundation to what was to come… and holy shitballs… it was EPIC and absolutely unexpected! As the author brought in the different timelines, we are introduced  to the main characters:  Detective Maxine Grant, Lucienne and Lina — and I was questioning the connections. There is a great build up of tension and suspense throughout and the pace was on point. I wish I could express in words how this book made me feel — as I type, I can feel the excitement and pure entertainment of The Bleeding bubble beneath the surface. I  want to shout:  BUY THIS BOOK from the rooftops because rarely has a book made me feel as much as this one did.

I can’t believe, and feel pure and utter shame in fact, that this is the first book by Johana that I’ve read. I won’t make that mistake again. What a writer!

The novel is filled with strong women, intent on protecting themselves and those they love.  Incredible characterisations, the people we are introduced to have a place in the story and as much as some off them repulsed me, I was also mesmerised — desperate to know what made them tick, why they chose the paths they did and where they ended up. It is haunting, graphic and I was amazed at how the author pulled everything together without confusing me (I am easily confused these days) When the three strands eventually weave together, it was FLAWLESS. How did the author do that?!

I  could go on and on in what you can see is a manic flow of adjectives to describe how utterly compelling this novel is but you really do need to read it for yourself to grasp exactly what I mean. Would I recommended this book? Mon dieu! With every last breath in my body I would. Twisty, compelling, dark, harrowing, vivid, and shocking, The Bleeding has an almost ethereal edge and beautiful prose that will make you forget you are reading about murder. Out of all the books I’ve read in 2022  (and I’ve read a lot) this has been my FAVOURITE! Do yourself a favour and add it to your TBR today.