People disappear. Secrets remain . . .
1940: In south-west Ireland, the young and beautiful Lady Charlotte Rathmore is pronounced dead after she mysteriously disappears by the lake of Blackwater Hall.
In London, on the brink of the Blitz, Nancy Rathmore is grieving Charlotte's death when a letter arrives containing a secret that she is sworn to keep - one that will change her life for ever.
2019: Disgraced young journalist Ellie Fitzgerald flees Dublin for the safety of rural Kerry. When she discovers a faded letter, tucked inside the pages of an old book from Blackwater Hall, she finds herself drawn in by the mystery of Lady Charlotte's disappearance, and uncovers a long-buried secret...
I loved this story - it captivated me both in the past and present timelines, which I felt were evenly balanced in terms of interesting characters and action, and the story kept me reading until the very end.
The writing was brilliant - it was descriptive and lyrical at just the right pitch, keeping up the pace whilst bringing to life the Irish landscape and the inner feelings of Nancy, Charlotte and Ellie. The close third person perspective in both timelines, meant that I felt invested in the emotions and thoughts of the main characters. This added depth to the links between the women in the novel, and gave a refreshing angle, in that the 'romance' elements of the novel played second-fiddle to the friendships.
The plot unfolded beautifully with subtle dovetailing between the timelines and action. I enjoyed reading about life at the 'big house' and the upstairs/downstairs element of it too. In the modern strand, I liked how Ellie wasn't simply uncovering a mystery, but also reflecting on and finding healing through the story of Charlotte and Nancy. It gave the book an emotional depth that was very satisfying.
I really enjoyed this book and can't wait to read more by this author!