I rate this book with 5 stars.
This is a beautifully written story and well detailed. The characters and their individual traits have been well described giving them an easily identifiable presence. The plot has been worked very well into the threads and topics that appear in the story. The disappearance of Audrey has a devastating affect on her parents, Sybil and Perry, and deals with how the parents live with the aftermath of this awful scenario. I really enjoyed the way the story came together from two different eras into a final conclusion in the present day. There were a couple of very good plot twists at the end that I didn’t expect, and have to say, really enjoyed.
The story spans two different eras, the first is set in 1959, the second is set in present day with the arrival of Jessie and Will. Will has a daughter Bella, her mother, his wife, was tragically killed, leaving the two of them to deal with her death and their lives. Jessie met Will at a party of a friend, they eventually marry and together have a daughter, Romy. So in this modern setting there is the telling of how two separate families have come together to make one. The problems that are encountered along the way, and how Jessie believes she has to be sensitive about Bella’s mother, watching what she says during conversation. Bella is a teenager who doesn’t feel that she quite fits in. Their only common ground is Will, loving father and loving husband.
So as the story develops, we are told the story of the sisters’ stay, during the summer holidays at Applecote Manor, five years after Audrey’s disappearance. The sisters are Flora, Pam, Margot and Dot Wilde. Their Aunt Sybil and Uncle Perry are dealing with life, never leaving the house or grounds, just in case Audrey should ever return. Also how Jessie, Will, Bella and Romy move from London to start afresh in Applecote, how they discover the mystery of the past, but more importantly how, as a slightly nervous and edgy family work through problems and find common ground.
I would highly recommend this book to readers of historical fiction, mystery and fiction genres. I also think there are some very good discussion points for Reading Groups and Book Clubs. I would like to express my thanks to Netgalley, Michael Joseph and the author for my eARC of this book. My opinion is my own, it is honest and unbiased.
‘An enthralling story of secrets, sisters and an unsolved mystery’ Kate Morton, Number One Sunday Times bestselling author of The Lake House
From the present day . . .
Applecote Manor captivates Jessie with it promise of hazy summers in the Cotswolds. She believes it’s the perfect escape for her troubled family. But the house has an unsettling history, and strange rumours surround the estate.
to the fifties . . .
When teenage Margot and her three sisters arrive at Applecote during the heatwave of ’59, they find their aunt and uncle still reeling from the disappearance of their daughter, Audrey, five years before.
The sisters are drawn into the mystery of Audrey’s vanishing – until the stifling summer takes a shocking, deadly turn. Will one unthinkable choice bind them together, or tear them apart?
Step back in time for a richly evocative mystery, where the beauty of a Cotswolds summer is vividly contrasted with the violence which shatters it.
Available from Micheal Joseph Books