Very Victorian Gothic tale, reminiscent of the Brontes. Fabulous read...extremely well researched and the writing is pure music. Great tale that grabs you and the writing is a delight to read. I loved this book!
Grange House was once the family home of a prosperous quarry owner, but a spinster daughter, reclusive one-time "authoress" Miss Nell Grange, is the only Grange left on the premises; a formidable lady cook and a managing hostess run the hotel. Accompanied by her parents, 17-year-old Maisie Thomas has been a guest at Grange House every summer of her life. She's enthralled with Miss Grange and dreams of being a writer herself. This summer's visit augurs ill, however. A pair of lovers are discovered drowned on a foggy morning, there is a mysterious grave in the woods, and Miss Grange drops strange hints about babies and deaths, drawing Maisie into an examination of the past and conjuring up ghosts. Meanwhile, Maisie's parents are pushing her toward a marriage to Jonathan Lanman, her father's young associate. Maisie's father asserts that marriage "puts solid ground beneath one's feet...a place. You can not have a history without a place." But Maisie is drawn to another guest, imaginative, bantering travel writer Bart Hunnowell. The format is a story within a story: as Miss Grange recounts the often improbable events of her life, Maisie is lost in a blur of fantasy and reality until she begins to doubt even her own identity. The fog, the dense woods and the sea itself are virtual characters in poet Blake's (Full Turn) gothic debut, reflecting the gloom of long-kept secrets. A nighttime assignation in a rowboat finally threatens tragedy, and the narrative plunges to a two-hankie finale.
Very intriguing story - a family secret and a romance at the same time. Keeps you guessing about the outcome until the very end.
A very entertaining, turn of the century tale. Its nice to get lost in that time period once in awhile.
Vivid characters, suspensful plot, and elegent period details.
A lovely book that provides an intriguing read.
Great book. Very intriguing, surprise ending, awesome historical fiction.
This is a first effort for the author and in it she uses every romantic cliche, purple adjective, and stilted phrase in the Victorian writing handbook. An interesting and inventive plot is buried under ponderous overwriting, and no melodramatic device is left unexploited, from jilted lovers, unrequited love and unwanted babies to hints of ugly incest and horrendous hauntings. Evidently, and thankfully, Sarah Blake is the better for this authorial exorcism, as her next book was the bestselling The Postmistress which was a tightly-written delight.
I rarely ever give up on a book, but I did on this one. I had read the good reviews on her second book and prefer starting with an author's beginning work.
It had brief periods of interest and good writing, but it lagged terribly.
This book was too wordy for no reason, meaning I didn't find the writing style lyrical, just overblown. It would have been nice to know why the opening scene of the couple in the water happened. I enjoyed Postmistress, but this one didn't seem to be the same author.
Very discussable book for our book group.
Way too slow for my tastes, although as others say, prose is interesting. Never finished it, so I can't say is the plot turns out to be interesting or not.