• Hardcover: 416 pages
• Publisher: Harper (February 17, 2015)
Time separates two women linked through similar challenges. Dark secrets revealed, a journal discovered. Richly atmospheric, enough of a mild gothic edge to add a chillingly eerie feel as the mystery is unraveled.
Riordan does an outstanding job providing details of the manor both inside and outside. The lush grounds, the vast interior of the manor all captured in the reader’s mind. As you travel alternately through the past and present you are aware of social propriety, the oppression women faced during these sexist times.
I found Alice and Elizabeth equally compelling, leaning towards Elizabeth more. Alice was so niaeve, easily impressionable, I felt for her predicament. Elizabeth’s story was heartbreaking, so tragic especially when it is fully disclosed. A few twists caught me off guard which I enjoyed.
The slow pace was welcoming, allowing for characters to become personable and intimate with the peruser, igniting your curiosity as to what happened to Elizabeth and what will become of Alice. Riordan presents a stark glimpse into the poor treatment of women, pregnancy, mental health, women under the controlling thumb of men, secrets, marriage, love.
Entertaining read, I only wish it possessed a stronger gothic presence. On the fence with the ending.
About Fiercombe Manor
A house as old as Fiercombe Manor holds many secrets within its walls. But which dark chapter of its history is haunting Alice, a young woman staying there during the course of a fateful summer?
In 1933, naive twenty-two-year-old Alice is pregnant, unmarried, and disgraced. She can no longer share her parents’ London home, so her desperate mother concocts a cover story and begs her old friend, Mrs. Jelphs, for help. The housekeeper at rural Fiercombe Manor, Mrs. Jelphs is moved by Alice’s “plight” as a new widow and agrees to watch over her in the secluded English countryside until the baby is born and given up for adoption. Because the manor house’s owners, Lord and Lady Stanton, no longer live there, Alice’s only company will be Mrs. Jelphs and her skeleton staff.
At first, Fiercombe Manor offers Alice a welcome relief from her mother’s disapproving gaze. But she begins to sense that all is not well in the picturesque Gloucestershire valley. After a chance encounter with Tom, the young scion of the Stanton family, Alice discovers that Fiercombe’s beauty is haunted by the clan’s tragic past. She is determined to exorcise the ghosts of the idyllic, isolated house.
Nothing can prepare Alice for what she uncovers. Can she escape the tragic fate of the other women who have lived in the Fiercombe valley?
Kate Riordan is a British writer and journalist who worked for the Guardian and Time Out London. She is also the author of Birdcage Walk and is already at work on her third novel. Born in London, she now lives in the Gloucestershire countryside.
To enter to win a copy of Fiercombe Manor please complete the giveaway form below. Open to US residents only. Ends 3/14/15
Thrilled to be participating in the tour for Kate Riordan’s Fiercombe Manor, be sure to check out the entire tour schedule here, it runs through 9 April. Thank you TLC!