I always look out for the book giveaways on Mumsnet, and I was thrilled to win a copy of Black Rabbit Hall recently. The debut novel from Eve chase was published through Penguin in June, and has kept me up late on many a night recently.
I always love books that are set in more than one time period, with this book we meet the Alton family in the 1960’s and in the present day Lorna is searching for the perfect venue for her forthcoming wedding.
The centre piece of the story is Pencraw House in Cornwall, nicknamed Black Rabbit Hall by the Alton family, who have owned it for generations. The house is their summer base every year and the four Alton children love it there. It’s a little less glamorous than their London home, the plumbing often provides brown water, and the roof leaks. But the house is much loved. Their story is told through Amber, the eldest daughter and twin to Toby. Barney is their younger brother, with little Kitty completing the foursome. It’s Easter 1968 and the family have travelled down to Black Rabbit Hall from London. Little do they know that their happy existence is about to change forever.
In the present day Lorna is scouting wedding locations with her fiance Jon. She loves Cornwall and is searching for a house she remembers visiting with her mother, as a child. They finally find Pencraw House, well off the beaten tracks, and Lorna is instantly drawn to the rundown house. Could this be the house she remembers from her childhood? She can’t ask her adopted mother has she has recently passed away.
Back with the Alton family, tragedy strikes as the children’s mother is killed in a riding accident, trying to find Barney on a stormy afternoon. The incident obviously effects the children deeply, their father loses money with bad investments and all of a sudden Caroline Shawcross enters their lives with her son Lucian. It’s clear that she has designs on their father, and that also, she’s not so keen on them or their beloved Cornish home.
Eve Chase weaves the past and present together and as you finish each chapter you are left asking questions of the various characters. Wanting to read on, wanting to find the answers.
In the modern-day Lorna meets Caroline Alton, the elderly custodian of Pencraw, and her housekeeper Dill. The house isn’t really fit for a wedding event but still Lorna is drawn to it. She agrees to stay at the house to get a feel for the various rooms that would be used for her wedding, against Jon’s better judgement. The house has a hold over her, and she is determined to discover the secrets held within its walls.
I don’t want to give away any more of the plot, but I’ve really enjoyed reading Black Rabbit Hall. It’s a real page turner, you get drawn into the characters and the various tragedies and you want to know what happens to them all. I defy anyone to have any sympathy with Caroline, I certainly wouldn’t want her as my stepmother.
I wasn’t asked to review this book, but I loved reading it, so wanted to share it with you. I’ve also included my Amazon Affiliate link below in case you’d like to read it yourself.