Thursday, 5 March 2015

The Girl in the Photograph by Kate Riordan

The Girl in the Photograph
By Kate Riordan
Published by Penguin Books UK (15 January 2015)
ISBN: 978-1405917421

Publisher's description
In the summer of 1933, Alice Eveleigh has arrived at Fiercombe Manor in disgrace. The beautiful house becomes her sanctuary, a place to hide her shame from society in the care of the housekeeper, Mrs Jelphs. But the manor also becomes a place of suspicion, one of secrecy.

Something isn't right.

Someone is watching.

There are secrets that the manor house seems determined to keep. Tragedy haunts the empty rooms and foreboding hangs heavy in the stifling heat. Traces of the previous occupant, Elizabeth Stanton, are everywhere and soon Alice discovers Elizabeth's life eerily mirrors the path she herself is on.

The past is set to repeat its sorrows, with devastating consequences.

My verdict
The Girl in the Photograph is the tale of two women, both pregnant, in different time periods. Both women feel very isolated with no friends around to support them. Alice, who is pregnant out of wedlock, has been sent to the country by her mother. Elizabeth is desperate for a second child, but has experienced pregnancy and post-natal complications in the past.

Unusually for a time lapse book, this is based in the 1930s and 1898, rather than having one of the women living in the present day. This definitely makes the story particularly fascinating and a bonus, as it is like reading two historical fiction novels in one! Even though Alice and Elizabeth are living over 30 years apart, they share many similarities - they both feel stifled by others and unable to decide their own future.

The Girl in the Photograph was a lovely easy read, with beautiful descriptions of the Gloucestershire countryside that stimulate all the senses. Not only could I see the surroundings in my mind, but I could hear them and smell them too.

I enjoyed the mystery surrounding Fiercombe Manor and Stanton House, and what happened to Elizabeth and her family, and it kept me guessing until the end. I couldn't put the book down for the final 20 percent, as everything tied together with a few surprise revelations.

I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

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