The reason I grabbed this book was that the author has been compared to Daphne DuMaurier and Ruth Rendell writing as Barbara Vine. Both are favorite of mine so I had to read “Black Rabbit Hall”, which turned out to be a very good debut novel of forbidden love and family secrets.
The novel fluctuates between the late 1960’s to more than three decades later. There’s all the ingredients of an old-fashioned Gothic romance – an old mansion with past tragedies, a love that shouldn’t be, even an evil stepmother. Teenaged Amber Alton is the main character from the 60’s. She has such a happy life at Black Rabbit Hall with her twin brother, younger siblings and parents until tragedy strikes. Lorna Dunaway is the present-day heroine. She and her fiancé Jon are looking for a wedding venue. Lorna is inexplicably drawn to Black Rabbit Hall although it’s so run down. She becomes entangled in the mansion’s family’s past and must find the answers to just what happened all those years ago.
As I write that summary, I feel that it sounds so stereotype, like so many books before it. But this author excels in making her characters live and breathe on her pages. She truly pulls her reader into the story and has written a very readable, enchanting story. I had at one point thought I had figured out the family secret but it didn’t stop me from wanting to read more. But I had only figured out part of what was to come as there were many other surprises ahead. I cared about these characters and didn’t want to stop reading about them.
Escapism at its best. Recommended.
This book was given to me by First to Read in return for an honest review.