August 2017

The summer of our discontent

By Eve Chase
Review by

Eve Chase’s atmospheric gothic mystery is set in the Cotswolds in England and spans 50 years.

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Eve Chase’s atmospheric gothic mystery is set in the Cotswolds in England and spans 50 years.

In the summer of 1959, while their mother vacations in Marra­kech, the four Wilde sisters spend the summer with their Aunt Sybil and Uncle Perry—who calls them the “Wildlings”—at Applecote Manor, their deceased father’s secluded family home.

The events of that fateful summer are seen through the eyes of Margot, the third oldest at 15 and the most intellectual. Flora, 17, is the beauty, heading off to finishing school in the fall. Pam, 16, tries her best to follow in Flora’s footsteps, and Dot, 12, born shortly after their father died, mostly feels left out.

When the four arrive at Applecote Manor, they find their aunt and uncle mired in depression after the disappearance of their only child, Audrey, five years earlier. The mystery seems to haunt the manor, and the girls begin to look for ways to amuse themselves outside its confining walls. Fortunately, they meet two young men: Harry Gore, whose family owns the grandest of the local manors, and his cousin, Tom.

The three older Wilde girls vie for the attentions of these handsome neighbors, threatening to weaken their ties of sisterhood. At the same time, Margot immerses herself in the mystery of Audrey’s disappearance, forging a strange relationship with her aunt, who sees Margot as a sort of reincarnation of her child.

Fifty years later, Chase’s second cast of characters makes its appearance at Applecote Manor. Jessie and Will Tucker leave London and buy the aging house in hopes of finding a better environment for Will’s 16-year-old daughter, Bella, who still struggles with her mother’s sudden death several years earlier. They know nothing of Audrey’s disappearance all those years ago—but they feel an eerie presence inhabiting their new home.

Chase moves back and forth in time between these two families and the secret that ties them together. Her second novel will appeal to fans of similar English-house mysteries, like those by Daphne du Maurier.


This article was originally published in the August 2017 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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