The book starts with Sara having another one of her recurring dreams;the same dream she has been plagued with sine childhood: standing perilously clos...moreThe book starts with Sara having another one of her recurring dreams;the same dream she has been plagued with sine childhood: standing perilously close to a rivers edge is a little girl wearing a little white dress and little red shoes. Just as it looks like she will fall into the water, the dream ends.
Sara and Tom live in London and met ten years ago when the both discovered that they had something huge and binding in common – they were both orphaned as babies (survivors of accidents in which both sets of parents died).
During a weekend break in the south west of England, the couple come across an advert in an estate agent window for a house in its own nine acre valley in Cornwall. They drive to see the house as Tom (who only a few weeks ago got caught up in the London bombings) is desperate to leave London and live in Cornwall and grow vegetables. While visiting the propery, Sara looks out of the bedroom window and sees a little girl standing at the edge of the river that runs through the valley. She is wearing a little white dress and little red shoes.
I don’t want to say too much more about the plot as it’s always nice to find things out for yourself when reading a book rather than knowing what’s coming.
For the first half of this book I was enraptured; I loved the pace, the style the delivery, everything. I was all set for giving it full marks but I have to confess that from about the half-way point I began to lose interest. I can’t put my finger on at what point or why necessarily but I did find myself racing to get to the end rather than just enjoying going with the flow. This is my first Evans book and while I did really enjoy it as a good summer read (I read it on holiday) I’m not sure I could rave about it. (less)
I'm finding this review quite difficult to write. On the one hand I really enjoyed it, but ultimately a little part of me has come away feeling "what'...moreI'm finding this review quite difficult to write. On the one hand I really enjoyed it, but ultimately a little part of me has come away feeling "what's the point?".
The story is narrated by Dr Faraday, the local village Doctor, in 1940's rural England. He is called to Hundreds Hall, a huge mansion with acres of land where his Mother was a nursery nurse when he was a boy and he remembers, fondly, the extravagent tea parties and fetes that the Ayres family used to throw for the village. When Dr Farady arrives at the house after not having seen it for decades he is shocked at the crumbling and delapidated state that it's in. The owners of the property are now Mrs Ayres and her two children, Caroline and Roderick (both in their twenties); her eldest child, Susan, died 30 years ago aged nine. Faraday has been called to see the maid, Betty, who is complaining of stomach problems and saying that she wants to go home, but when Farady delves deeper he finds out that it is because she is hearing strange things in the house and she is scared. Farady is invited to have tea with the family and this is the start of a friendship with the family just at a time when things start going bump in the night......
Despite casulaties of the spooky goings on a-plenty, Faraday managed to find an explanation for everything: the fires, the writing on the walls, the tapping etc. What frustrated me was that while this was going on I was expecting things to start falling into place and make sense, but it never did. I am no more clued up now that I was when I started it. What I think Waters has done is left readers to make up their own minds about what was going on in the house. Where there really ghosts or was the family in melt-down as well as the house? The book is set in post WWII England, on the eve of the NHS, when class is becoming less important and the upstanding members of the community aren't necessarily only those with wealth anymore: Mrs Ayres still likes Betty the maid to dress in full black and white and courtsey etc which is even starting to be amusing to members of her own circle. With the going's on in the house, we are left to wonder whether their really is the pitter-patter of little ghosty feet or whether the demise of the house is mirroring the demise of its occupants?
I would definitely recommend this book as a really good read. I was reading late one night and put the book down just after an episode of tapping on the walls and was drifting to sleep when I swear I was woken up by tapping on my bedroom window! It could have been a dream, but hey........you never know!
Throw a huge cemetery, a cold & wintery London, bizzare mirror twins, a ferrel kitten and a recntly dead Aunt into a pot together and the result i...moreThrow a huge cemetery, a cold & wintery London, bizzare mirror twins, a ferrel kitten and a recntly dead Aunt into a pot together and the result is a wonderfully quirky, melancholoy, spooky book.
The story is set around Highgate Cemetery in London where a recently dead Elspeth has left her appartment to her twenty year old American nieces, Julia and Valentina, who are mirror twins. When the twins arrive in their new home they soon learn that they are not alone as it appears their Aunt Elspeth has never left. While it's sometimes difficult to know who to root for in this book, there is a wonderful cast of both primary and secondary characters that kept me glued to the story and there is a sense of such powerful emotions that they almost feel tangible: The twins new neighbour, Robert, was their Aunt's lover and his feelings of loss for Elspeth are painful to read at times. I felt completely absorbed in this book and I have to admit that I never saw what happened in the last 50 pages coming at all!
It is ultimately a book about love, loss and betrayal with a gothic backdrop of ghosts, cemetaries and enough twists and turns that you never feel completley comfortable.
It's so strange when a book that you fully expect to be right up your street turns out to be such a let down. When I first bought this book several ye...moreIt's so strange when a book that you fully expect to be right up your street turns out to be such a let down. When I first bought this book several years ago I even got it in hardback (not something I would normally do unless I am a huge fan of the author) as the blub on the back had me in no doubt that this was just my cup of tea. After a fantastic first few chapters I began to wonder if I was still reading the same book.
Several years later, I picked it up and found the old book mark still in there at just under 100 pages and decided that maybe I didn't give it a chance, afterall I couldn't remember exactly what it was that I didn't like. Fifty pages in, it all came flooding back. I was so bored. I couldn't care less about any of the characters, the plot just didn't get a move on and I was, quite frankly, bored to tears!
The reason for 2 stars is that on both occasions I loved the beginning. Reading the other reviews I still can't understand what I have missed that nobody else seems to have. Can someone enlighten me? Please?(less)