Author: Eve Chase
Narrator: Nathalie Buscombe, Katie Scarfe, Cassandra Campbell
Published: February 2016, Penguin Audio
Length: 12 hours 6 minutes
For fans of Kate Morton and Sarah Waters, here’s a magnetic debut novel of wrenching family secrets, forbidden love, and heartbreaking loss housed within the grand gothic manor of Black Rabbit Hall.
Ghosts are everywhere, not just the ghost of Momma in the woods, but ghosts of us too, what we used to be like in those long summers . . .
Amber Alton knows that the hours pass differently at Black Rabbit Hall, her London family’s country estate, where no two clocks read the same. Summers there are perfect, timeless. Not much ever happens. Until, of course, it does.
More than three decades later, Lorna is determined to be married within the grand, ivy-covered walls of Pencraw Hall, known as Black Rabbit Hall among the locals. But as she’s drawn deeper into the overgrown grounds, half-buried memories of her mother begin to surface and Lorna soon finds herself ensnared within the manor’s labyrinthine history, overcome with an insatiable need for answers about her own past and that of the once-happy family whose memory still haunts the estate.
Stunning and atmospheric, this debut novel is a thrilling spiral into the hearts of two women separated by decades but inescapably linked by the dark and tangled secrets of Black Rabbit Hall.
My thoughts: As soon as I saw that this was being compared to Kate Morton's books - an author I adore, I knew I had to give it a chance...and I'm so glad I did. It's an atmospheric and engaging story that had me hooked from the beginning.
This is a story about family secrets and loss. It's told in both the past and the present - and both stories are equally engaging, which isn't always the case. I loved how in the present storyline, Lorna finds herself drawn to Black Rabbit Hall. She realizes there is more to it than meets the eye. In the past storyline, we find out about the tragedy that befell Black Rabbit Hall so long ago from Amber Alton's perspective.
All along there is a sense of foreboding - a sense that tragedy is just about to happen. And when it does, the tension still runs high. This book keeps you on your toes, begging you to keep reading and even when you finish it, it begs a reread, just to see if you can piece together any clues Eve Chase might have left. I still haven't stopped thinking about this book - it's haunting tale, it's atmospheric setting and memorable characters.
I will definitely be keeping an eye out for what comes next from Eve Chase as this debut novel was one I didn't want to end!
Audio thoughts: I thought the audio production of this book was done very well. I was only familiar with one of the three narrators - Cassandra Campbell - but enjoyed all the narrators. Each one did a great job with their section and I look forward to seeing what else they do in the future.