ABOUT THE BOOK:
When fifteen-year-old Margot and her three sisters arrive at Applecote Manor in June 1959, they expect a quiet English country summer. Instead, they find their aunt and uncle still reeling from the disappearance of their daughter, Audrey, five years before. As the sisters become divided by new tensions when two handsome neighbors drop by, Margot finds herself drawn into the life Audrey left behind. When the summer takes a deadly turn, the girls must unite behind an unthinkable choice or find themselves torn apart forever.
Fifty years later, Jesse is desperate to move her family out of their London home, where signs of her widower husband’s previous wife are around every corner. Gorgeous Applecote Manor, nestled in the English countryside, seems the perfect solution. But Jesse finds herself increasingly isolated in their new sprawling home, at odds with her fifteen-year-old stepdaughter, and haunted by the strange rumors that surround the manor.
The Wildling Sisters by Eve Chase
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Wildling Sisters by Eve Chase is a 2017 G.P. Putnam’s Sons publication.
The Wilde Sisters arrive at the Applecote manor in 1959 to spend the summer with their aunt. The girls, Dot, Flora, Pam, and Margot are close and protective of each other. But, their visit to the lovely country estate is dampened by their aunt’s struggle to overcome her daughter, Audrey’s disappearance, five years earlier. The mystery consumes the girls, but the closer they get to the truth, the closer they come to possible danger, and tensions begin to arise between them over two handsome boys.
Fifty years later, with the memory of her widower husband’s wife constantly surrounding her, Jesse is ready to escape the city. Not only that, her stepdaughter was involved in an ugly incident, which figured into her desire to move. Applecote Manor felt like the perfect place in the perfect setting at the perfect time.
However, trouble starts almost immediately. Her stepdaughter becomes increasingly difficult to handle, her husband is always away at work, and disturbing rumors about the house finally reach her ears. As her stepdaughter becomes nearly obsessed with the strange disappearance of a former resident, Jesse feels her life is slowly unraveling.
This is one of those books I was dying to read, but it just kept slipping down the TBR pile until I gradually lost track of it. Thankfully, while searching for another book in my voluminous Kindle folder, I happened across it and made a point to get started on it. I do recall hearing a lot of buzz about his book when it was first released. I have read other books by Eve Chase and was very impressed with her work. But, what drew me to this one was the constant effusive gushing about the novel’s strong Gothic tones. As a huge fan of Gothic novels, I’m going to have to cry foul on that one, just a little. Yes, there are a few Gothic elements, but I didn’t feel they were as strong or pure as many others have. I was slightly let down on that front, however, the story was very compelling, with dual timelines, and a very atmospheric and absorbing mystery to uncover.
As is usually the case for me, I was drawn more towards the historical elements of the story, but the present -day scenario, while not really adding a lot to the mystery, suggests a possible air of pending doom, which was quite effective, and may have been a slightly underrated element in the story.
The author wound the story around until the two timelines merged in a poignant way, slowly releasing the pent -up tensions, and bringing closure to all in a satisfying way.
I am glad this one didn’t drop completely off my radar. The story has a lot of familial touches, bringing the characters to life in a vivid and emotional way, drawing the reader into their world with lush writing, dialogue, and descriptions. Eve Chase once again impresses.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Eve Chase always wanted to write about families - ones that go wrong but somehow survive - and big old houses, where family secrets and untold stories seed in the crumbling stone walls.
Black Rabbit Hall is such a story.
She lives in Oxford, England with her husband and three children.