Saturday, June 04, 2016

Black Rabbit Hall An Atmospheric Family Saga Perfect for Kate Morton Fans

(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.

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of Kate Morton's books, especially The Lake House)

Grade:


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 fine find

4 comments:

  1. I love mysterious old houses, tantalizing secrets, and family drama as well. I actually haven't read Kate Morton yet though she is on my TBR so I am not sure if I like her stuff. I will have to keep an eye out for this one too. Great review!

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  2. Oh my heck, Susan. Quite reading and recommending awesome sounding books! My TBR mountain can't take it! I want this book, like, right now. I need something like this.

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  3. I really liked the 1960's piece of the book better than the present day, but I especially loved the way everything came together. I never thought of The Lake House when I read it, but I can see that now that you mention it. I really thought of Flowers in the Attic for some reason.

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  4. I'm a fan of Kate Morton, and love a good Gothicky read with family secrets and all that jazz. Have added this one to my Goodreads TBR, thanks! :)

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