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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

Overall rating

4.1 out of 5
5 Stars
6 reviews have 5 stars
4 Stars
14 reviews have 4 stars
3 Stars
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All Book Reviews

  • A Complex Mystery

    There is a lot of reading in this one and it kept me interested to the very last. In the early 20th century, two young girls with nothing in common are thrown together when one is appointed the companion of the other. Iris Caldwell heir to the local estate whilst Nell Ryland is the local rebel. This unlikely pair disappeared on May Day 1912, with evidence being found of Iris's murder. I thought that something was familiar about this novel; only now that I'm preparing my blog post do I twig that I've previously read The Secret by this author which is also set in the village of Missensham, albeit it at a different point in time. The characters in this one are complicated and intricate; beautifully drawn and each one is a puzzle in themselves. I found myself invested before I knew it but, even so, I couldn't have seen where this was heading. As the story begins to unravel, things get into even more of a twist! An endearing tale, one I enjoyed and which I'm happy to give four stars.

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  • Realistic and still surreal, in all the good ways

    I loved this story. It is a very complex story, despite being quite forward in the unfolding of the events. There’s a mystery at its heart, and yet it isn’t a mystery in the true sense of the narrative genre. And even if it isn’t a ghost story, it still has that surreal atmosphere to it. It’s a story with many souls, I could say. It is set in 1937, but also in 1912 when a terrible event happened that nobody could ever truly explain. Two girls disappeared the same day, though only the disappearance of beautiful Iris, Lord Howard’s daughter, is remembered. Nobody ever remembers plain-looking Nell, Iris’s maiden. But this is her story as she tells it and as her mother, Agnes, understands it. It’s a story of discovery, and not just of mystery solving. There are many epiphanies here. Characters who slowly understand each others and themselves. There are bravery and sorrow and painful truths. There’s also a great historical setting, or should I say two, since the 25 years that separate one plotline from the other separate two different worlds and realities. I especially love the way the experience of women – their struggle for equality and the way that equality was often denied – are woven into the plot seamlessly, so that we absorb it as part of the events rather than as information we are given. All the characters are so real. They all have something special, something unique to their personality. They all have a quirk that is part of that surreal atmosphere and partly creates it. And still, they are undoubtedly real. They are characters who might be people I meet every day. It is truly a great story. Read it!

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  • An intriguing read

    A thought-provoking story and well paced. Kept me guessing all the way. An important period of history that needs recognition, yet still relevant today in many ways.

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