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A book of mystery set in a house which had a gothic feel to it, author Laura Elliot wrote a story seeped in dark a atmosphere where the masks were warped over everyone’s faces, giving each a disfigured look.
After her husband Luke was found to have squandered the family savings in gambling, Sophy had to take a life-changing decision. Having found a job to take care of a recuperating recluse, Jack, at Hyland Hall, the mother and her two daughters Isobel and Julie moved out. But Jack and the descript house brought their own brand of creepiness. When the nephew Victor threw a saving line, Sophy took it. But then things started to happen where everyone’s lives were at risk.
The cover was shrouded in shadows, and told me the story in Sophy and child Isobel’s POV. There was both a childish and adult interpretation to Jack and his condition. It was quite enchanting to read how a child could make a situation larger than life. There were elements of mystery to Jack’s aura; I couldn’t guess his secret. The antagonist was obvious from the beginning. All that remained to be seen was how Sophy would manage to find a way out.
The story began with a news headline of a 911 call and a hostage situation which was deciphered only at the end. Some parts of the book were slower than the rest. Characters were all unlikable, especially Sophy, who as the nurse-carer, was ready to betray her employer at the first chance of flirting. I lost all respect for her midway.
I wouldn’t call this a heart pounding thriller, but there was a sinking feeling in the stomach that things were going to turn for the worse. And it did. This was not the author’s finest but still had the potential to keep me stuck to my kindle, though I skim read parts of it.
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In the small hours of a cold winter morning, charcoal grey clouds gather in the sky over Hyland Hall where a young teenage girl is about to make an emergency call to say her life is in danger …
With her marriage in pieces and desperate to find work and a new home for her and daughters, Isobel and Julie, Sophy accepts a job as a live-in nurse for Jack Hyland.
Once a magnificent house, Hyland Hall has fallen into disrepair and its owner, Jack, disfigured in a terrible fire that broke out on the property years ago, is now a recluse.
As Sophy’s daughters struggle to adjust to their new surroundings, exploring every forbidden corner of the house, Sophy does her best to care for Jack and her broken family.
But Jack has secrets of his own and Sophy’s arrival is about to set in motion a chain of events that will uncover the devastating truth of Hyland Hall’s past. A truth that will put her daughters in harm’s way.
Publication Date: December 2020
I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher, and this is my journey down its pages, straight from the heart. STRICTLY HONEST and UNBIASED.
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