ABOUT THE BOOK
My real name, no one remembers. The truth about that summer, no one else knows.
In the summer of 1862, a group of young artists led by the passionate and talented Edward Radcliffe descends upon Birchwood Manor on the banks of the Upper Thames. Their plan: to spend a secluded summer month in a haze of inspiration and creativity. But by the time their stay is over, one woman has been shot dead while another has disappeared; a priceless heirloom is missing; and Edward Radcliffe’s life is in ruins.
Over one hundred and fifty years later, Elodie Winslow, a young archivist in London, uncovers a leather satchel containing two seemingly unrelated items: a sepia photograph of an arresting-looking woman in Victorian clothing, and an artist’s sketchbook containing the drawing of a twin-gabled house on the bend of a river.
Why does Birchwood Manor feel so familiar to Elodie? And who is the beautiful woman in the photograph? Will she ever give up her secrets?
This is one of those books that is hard to review. It’s so layered with love, and suspense, and intrigue, that I’m having a hard time finding the words to describe how I felt reading it. You often hear about the perfect beach read–well, this book is the perfect fireside read! So, grab a warm beverage and hunker down.
Kate Morton’s books are always engaging and she is excellent at multi-period storytelling. I will admit to being confused often while reading this book, and I had to pay close attention at all times. This is not a quick, easy read. It is meant to be savoured and enjoyed.
The story is excellent and very complex. The layers may leave you feeling confused as it did with me, and it does start out slow, but when it takes off, it really takes off! And, it all comes together so beautifully at the end, that I forgot all about the misgivings I had at the beginning of the book. There is a reason why her name is larger than the title on the cover. She knows how to write a mysterious story with well rounded characters in different time periods and keep readers engaged and wanting more. I am already salivating thinking of her next book.
*Thanks to NetGalley and Pan McMillan for an e-book copy of this book in exchange for my honest review*