(Image from Barnes & Noble)
"But here, of course, it's a different story. It's always a different story at Black Rabbit Hall. It unspools everything" (104).
Time moves differently at Black Rabbit Hall, the Alton family's country estate in Cornwall. None of the clocks in the home tell the same time and no one cares. It's what makes the summers there so timeless, so ideal. Amber, a 14-year-old bookworm, adores the place. She loves roaming its grounds with her twin brother, Toby, and their two younger siblings. Languishing in the salty air makes London feel a million miles away, which is just how Amber likes it.
Then, on a stormy night in 1968, the idyllic peace of Black Rabbit Hall is shattered forever. The events of that night change everything, ripping apart the seams that bind the Alton family together. Never will they return to their country home. Never will things be the same for Amber and her kin.
Thirty-odd years later, Lorna Dunaway and her fiancé are scouring the Cornwall countryside for a half-remembered estate Lorna visited as a child. The house has always spoken to her soul; she can't imagine a better setting for her upcoming wedding. Even when Lorna sees what a crumbling ruin the place has become, she won't back down. Black Rabbit Hall is the only place she wants to be married. When the home's caretaker invites Lorna for an extended stay, she can't resist. As she breathes in the estate's musty, enchanted air, she becomes more and more obsessed with the history of Black Rabbit Hall and the happy family that once made it their summer home. What happened to the Altons? Why did they abandon their beloved estate? And why does Lorna feel so connected to a home she never lived in and family she never knew? Black Rabbit Hall hides secrets—secrets Lorna is determined to discover ...
You probably know by now that I'm a sucker for novels which feature mysterious old houses, tantalizing secrets, and family drama. Black Rabbit Hall, a debut novel by Eve Chase, fits the bill on all three accounts. It's a compelling saga that oscillates between the past and the present, offering a suspenseful tale that has enough twists to keep readers guessing. At least a little. While I saw some of the "surprises" coming, that didn't damper my enjoyment of the story. I found myself absorbed in the mystery, intrigued by the characters, and entranced by Black Rabbit Hall's peculiar magic. If you enjoy a good, atmospheric family saga, definitely give this one a go.
If this were a movie, it would be rated:
for language (1 F-bomb plus milder expletives), violence, and mild sexual content
To the FTC, with love: Another library