Fifteen year old Niamh finds herself locked in a cell with guards who don’t speak English. Her only memory is a grisly scene of blood spraying onto snow. She has daily sessions with a psychiatrist, who won’t tell Niamh anything about herself because her uncovered memories are vital to solving the mystery of what happened. Niamh guesses that she’s in the middle of a murder investigation, but what she wants to know is who has been murdered, and why was she there?
The psychiatrist uses hypnosis to take Niamh to a stairway with doors leading to different memories – the further down the stairway, the earlier in her life the memory comes from. Gradually Niamh is able to open doors, and build up a picture of who she is and why she was at the scene of a murder.
She remembers growing up in Belfast, with her mum, Bronagh, who is anxious and prone to panic attacks, and her dad, Patrick, who works as a bank manager in one of Belfast’s major banks. She remembers her little brother, Finn, who due to a difficult birth will never catch up mentally with other children.
One door leads to a very traumatic memory which ends with Niamh and Finn being sent away to live with Bronagh’s parents who they have never met and who live in Iceland.
Niamh and Finn’s Granny, Bernadette, is kind but meek and submissive in the face of their cruel and abusive grandfather, Cathal. Niamh begins to understand why her mother is such a nervous person.
When Niamh starts going out with a local boy, Björn, Cathal forbids the relationship. They continue to see each other behind his back, and it is his discovery of Niamh and Björn together in a cabin that begins the stream of events ending with someone being killed in a passionate attack with a pick-axe, and reveals to Niamh the origins of the blood in the snow.
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Huge Thank You to the very talented and patient Sandra Giles who designed the cover for Blood and Snow