The dark, gothic prologue sets the scene for a story that is both compelling and chilling, but I never imagined just how dark the journey was going to be.
It reminded me of the Philip Larkin poem This be the Verse with its oft quoted line – “They f**k you up, your mum and dad”. Well the central characters in this book have all been right royally messed up by weak fathers, cold, controlling mothers and abusive stepfathers. Little wonder they turned out as they did.
By turn we are introduced to Georgie, Ivy and Kenneth. Georgie proves to be a bit of a handful and when her manipulative and promiscuous ways are discovered she’s shipped off to London out of harms way. Ivy is subservient and timid until events spiral beyond her control and see her leave home with hatred in her heart and a desire for retribution Kenneth is the second son of a mother who having lost her beloved first son and heir, finds Kenneth weak and wanting.
With the swinging sixties in full flow, Georgie and Kenneth find themselves unexpectedly drawn together in London and decide to live at Tenley House, Kenneth’s sinister, childhood home. Unfortunately while he is now the master, his mother has other idea’s. In fact his mother has poisonous views on most things, including his relationship with Georgie and his young adopted daughter Vanessa. Enter Sadie, who is the answer to Georgie’s prayers as she oversees the household, tangles with Kenneth’s toxic mother and looks after Vanessa when Georgie and Kenneth are not at home. But then people start dying…
I was drawn in from the very beginning, but I will admit that I did worry it might be too dark for me – it wasn’t. It introduced me to a side I didn’t know I had and I enjoyed it. It had a mix of light and shade, that kept the story line from being too bleak and I loved Georgie’s London life. From the first meeting I hadn’t expected to like Georgie, but she grew on me quite quickly. Like the other main protagonists she was definitely a product of her upbringing and lived on her wiles – not always legally. However, she had an empathy and compassion that redeemed her. She was a bright spirit in the gloomy house and just wanted people to be happy.
Unfortunately being happy, meant different things to different people and that is where the story took a darker turn. As the air of menace grew, I thought I knew how it would play out, but I was so wrong. My mind clearly isn’t as twisted as the author’s as I totally misread the signs and certainly never imagined how things would end.
Probably not the book to buy your mum for Mother’s Day (unless she likes dark, devilish reads) but certainly recommended for anyone who like sinister, twisted and murderous psychological thrillers.
I’d like to thank the author and publisher for providing an advanced reading copy, however that no way influenced my review.