The Evil Seed by Joanne Harris


When Alice Farrell is drawn to a Grantchester churchyard and reads a strange inscription on Rosemary Virginia Ashley’s gravestone, she feels oddly disturbed.

And when her former boyfriend Joe returns to Cambridge with his new girlfriend Ginny, Alice is repelled by the ethereal, lavender-eyed beauty – and certain of her evil.

Then Alice finds an old diary in Ginny’s room and reads the story of Daniel Holmes, who lived in Cambridge forty years earlier, and fell under the fatal spell of Rosemary Ashley. As the two stories intertwine, Alice’s suspicions about Ginny increase – until past meets present in a terrifying climax…

I’ve had a few long car journeys to contend with at work recently, so I thought I’d give audio books a chance.  Here’s my review of the very first audio book that I ever listened to – The Evil Seed by Joanne Harris, which consequently, is the very first book that Joanne Harris ever wrote.

The story begins a little ambiguously with several intriguing characters, sharing a town but divided by time, with their ordinary lives and ordinary dilemmas. It quickly becomes clear however that they are anything but ordinary as they each come to terms with their role in the vampire story in which they are embroiled. Some utilise keen detective skills, some attempt to run while others use the full force of denial to move through the drama.

The most interesting characters for me were Alice and Daniel. Both are the voice of reason in their respective time zones. They got the most airtime and maybe this is why they felt like the most rounded characters. Joe and Ginny on the other hand were very two dimensional, despite their pivotal roles in the story.

I’m going to go all feminist on you now ….

Ginny is a vampire. Say what you want about those bloodsuckers, but having done at least 8 hours of research into the nature of vampires (Twilight) I can confirm that vampires are strong, cunning and their lightning speed makes Usain Bolt seem positively sluggish. In other words, no one messes with Ginny. She would NOT be in my top three people to run into in a dark alley of an evening.

It says a lot about our society, does it not, that supernatural Ginny with knowledge and age that belies her iridescent appearance must act like a vulnerable, needy, pathetic excuse of a human, desperately seeking the protection of a male human in order to fit into our world. Just sayin’.

I know that Joanne Harris has mixed feelings about her debut novel. Not because we’re bezzies (except we did meet one time and I have a photo to prove it) but because I read it on her internet site on the web.  I too have mixed feelings about it. Mostly, I wish I had read it in book form rather than listened to it in broken car journeys. I’m not sure that I would have assigned the voices I heard as read by the narrators to the characters. The story itself is quite slow paced, but I did very much enjoy ‘reading’ Daniel’s diary in and among Alice’s journey.

If you love Joanne Harris, give it a go. I believe it is currently in print. Alternatively, why not give audiobooks a try? I downloaded my copy on iTunes.



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