The Sulphur Springs Cure

By Jeffrey Round 

As I delved into Jeffrey Round’s latest work, I initially planned a measured approach, intending to savour one chapter each day. Yet, the magnetic pull of The Sulphur Springs Cure proved irresistible. Its enthralling narrative, centered around the captivating character of Violet, swiftly drew me in, prompting me to abandon my cautious pace and eagerly devour multiple chapters in each sitting.

Round skillfully constructs a world that is both familiar and mysterious, weaving a tale that transcends mere storytelling. At the heart of it lies Violet McAdams, a woman teetering on the brink of a new phase in life, her spirited demeanor a stark contrast to her physical frailty. Through fading memories and nostalgic artifacts, Violet harbors a secret—one that traces back to her childhood at the Sulphur Springs Resort, where innocence collided with darkness in the form of a mysterious murder.

A tale that transcends mere storytelling.

As Violet confronts the prospect of leaving her cherished home for a seniors’ residence, Round deftly portrays her reluctance, infusing the narrative with a touch of humor and defiance. Determined to postpone her fate, Violet embarks on a journey fueled by a long-held secret, enlisting her niece Claire as her steadfast companion. Together, they return to the scene of the crime, igniting a chain of events that unravel with vivid clarity, enveloping readers in a tapestry of nostalgia and intrigue.

Through Round’s meticulous attention to detail, Violet emerges as a multi-dimensional character, grappling not only with physical ailments but also with the weight of the past. Her interactions with Claire illuminate the complexity of her emotions, laying bare her internal struggles and the ghosts that haunt her. It is within these nuanced moments that Round’s prose shines brightest, inviting readers to share in Violet’s journey of self-discovery and reconciliation.

One has to choose one’s memories as much as the right moment to let them in.

-Violet McAdams

A sublimely addictive tome, The Sulphur Springs Cure is ultimately about Violet McAdams, a woman on the verge of being relegated to a seniors’ home, yet still possessing a spirited demeanour despite her arthritic step. Amidst fading memories, old photographs, and a home in need of repair, Violet has been harbouring a lifelong secret, one that she is determined to put to rest.

A sublimely addictive tome.

As a child, Violet visits to the Sulphur Springs Resort and befriends a girl named Julia. Together they embark on a quest to solve a crucial mystery: who was pilfering brownies from the resort’s kitchen? Their innocent adventure takes a dark turn when Violet inadvertently becomes a witness to a murder, an event that will ultimately haunt her into her twilight years.

Unable to maintain her home any longer, Violet reluctantly faces the prospect of moving to the McPickell Residence for Seniors, a prospect Violet counters with a blend of resistance and resignation. Violet’s disdain for the name sets up her character with a touch of humour and defiance.

Strange, she [Violet] thinks, how you just pack up your life in boxes and closets and wait for things that might never happen. 

-Violet McAdams

In a bid to stave off her fate, Violet succumbs to the pull of her secret and decides to delay the sale of her beloved home, determined to revisit the Sulphur Springs Resort to unravel the mystery of the murder. Accompanied by her niece Claire, Violet boards a plane to back to the scene of the crime. With vivid and poignant detail, the tale unfolds, creating a cozy narrative stitched from afghans, feathered hats, and gin and tonics.

Round thoughtfully portrays Violet’s physical struggles with rheumatism, rendering her a more tangible and sympathetic character. The interactions with her niece, Claire, are depicted with authenticity, revealing the complexity of Violet’s emotions and her internal conflict with the ghosts of the past.

The storyline is enriched by Round’s meticulous attention to detail, including Violet’s reflections on aging, her family history, and her resilient exterior. Through Violet’s internal dialogue, readers gain insight into her thoughts and emotions, fostering empathy for this multi-dimensional character.

An evocative reading journey.

Round’s immersive writing style captures the nuances of Violet’s experiences, seamlessly blending past and present to create an evocative reading journey. Beyond merely solving a murder, The Sulphur Springs Cure explores themes of youth, aging, and the quest for reconciliation.

The Sulphur Springs Cure is available through Cormorant Books, Amazon and the all the usual suspects. You can find out more about Jeffrey Round by visiting his website.

Review by Raymond Helkio for The Reading Salon.

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