Published by Bonnier Zaffre Ltd. on June 7, 2021
Genres: Fiction / Family Life / General, Fiction / Gothic, Fiction / Historical / General, Fiction / Literary, Fiction / Mystery & Detective / Historical, Fiction / Mystery & Detective / Women Sleuths, Fiction / Romance / Historical / 20th Century, Fiction / Small Town & Rural
West Yorkshire, 1904. When newly graduated nurse Ruby May takes a position looking after the children of Charles and Lilian England, a wealthy couple from a powerful dynasty of mill owners, she hopes it will be the fresh start she needs. But as she adapts to life at the isolated Hardcastle House, it becomes clear there's something not quite right about the beautiful, mysterious Mrs England.
Distant and withdrawn, Lilian shows little interest in her children or charming husband, and is far from the 'angel of the house' Ruby was expecting. As the warm, vivacious Charles welcomes Ruby into the family, a series of strange events forces her to question everything she thought she knew. Ostracised by the servants and feeling increasingly uneasy, Ruby must face her demons in order to prevent history from repeating itself.
This Edwardian thriller is a slow-burn, easy read. Set in 1904, the location of a dark mansion on the brooding Yorkshire moors begged the inevitable comparisons to Bronte particularly Jane Eyre and it initially gave me some “mad woman in the attic” vibes. The author is masterful at evoking location and character but, at times, the plot suffers from a lack of momentum. However, it all came together neatly for a satisfactory ending.