disclosure: we were sent the item mentioned for the purpose of review
I have such a good book to share with you today, if you’re looking for something to pack in your suitcase and read on holiday, then look no further. The Midnight House by Amanda Geard was published through Headline Review in May, and it’s a cracking read.
The Midnight House is set in three different times; 1939-40, 1958 and 2019 between London and Ireland and centres on the Rathmore family, their secrets and a missing person, presumed dead.
In 2019 we meet Ellie Fitzgerald, a young journalist who has been forced out of her job in Dublin, in disgrace. Her fiancee looks to have called their wedding off and she’s returned to rural County Kerry and her family home to take time out and reassess her choices. When a friend of her mother gives Ellie a box of secondhand books donated by the owner of Blackwater Hall, to read, a long forgotten letter is found and a mystery needs to be investigated.
The letter is dated 3rd August 1940 and is written by Charlotte to someone known as T. Who is T and what does the letter from Charlotte mean?
In late 1930s Ireland, there was much resentment toward the English landowners and the significantly poorer Irish communities who serve them. The Rathmore family live at Blackwater Hall on the outskirts of Ballinn in County Kerry, in a typical house of the aristocracy where there isn’t much love from Lord and Lady Rathmore but there are high expectations for their three children Hugo (the heir), Edward and Charlotte. Edward has already disappointed the family by marrying Nancy, someone they regard as beneath their family standing. The effervescent Charlotte is being stifled by the constraints of her class and she longs for a different life. She’s close to Edward, known within the family as Teddy, and her sister-in-law and she’s devasted when her parents start talking of an arranged married with Lord Hawley who is considerably older than her.
In London in 1940, the country is at war, Teddy is somewhere fighting and Nancy receives a devasting telegram from Hugo, telling her that Charlotte is missing presumed dead, having drowned in the lake on the grounds of Blackwater House.
In 1957 Teddy and Nancy are living in the Lake District with their children when they receive news from Ireland that Hugo has died. He’s also drowned in the lake which claimed his sister over a decade before. Teddy is now heir to the title and estate and has been told that he and his family must return to Blackwater Hall for the first time in many years. Their children, Albert and Harriet (Hattie) will meet their grandparents for the first time.
I became very quickly enthralled by The Midnight House and the various characters within its pages. The novel is beautifully written and the storyline skips between the different eras seamlessly. There are times when The Midnight House leaves you feeling quite emotional as you discover more about the characters and their backstories as the mystery behind the letter unravels and the plot twists and turns. I was hooked to the very last page. I quite simply just loved this book.