The Girl in the Photograph

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Thank you very much to Netgalley and Penguin for my Advanced Reading Copy of this book!

The Blurb

The Girl in the Photograph is a haunting and atmospheric novel that tells the tales of women in two different eras – the 1890’s and 1930’s – and how their lives seem to be entwined by fate. Kate Riordan’s novel is a beautifully dark and beguiling tale which will sweep you away.

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.

I cannot tell you how good this book is. I literally read it in 4 days, two of those I was also working so that shows how unputdownable it was. I’ll be honest and tell you that I didn’t know any of Kate Riordan’s writing until I received this book so I didn’t know what to expect.  I was not disappointed I can tell you that.  I could not leave it down and when I wasn’t reading it I was thinking about it.

The book is narrated through the two main characters Alice and Elizabeth, both of whom seem to be living very similar lives despite not knowing each other or having met, and not to mention the time difference. Although only 40 years apart some of the characters are part of both their lives which keeps the story intriguing.

Alice has come to Fiercombe Manor after being disgraced by her family. When she arrives all is not what it seems and this big old house has tales to be told and secrets that have been confined and consumed for years.  Parts of this book are so eerie that I felt it may have been a horror and it certainly had thrilling twists and turns.  It was creepy and made the hairs stand on the back of my neck.  It is so well written that I could nearly imagine the descriptive scenes from the book.  From the grounds and lakes surrounding the manor to the smells of the flowers in the ancient tutor gardens.

I loved the referencing back to Elizabeth’s day and the passages from her journal and I was literally kept on the edge of my seat throughout the whole book. As this is not a book I would usually read and from another era I’m so pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed it so much.

The Girl in the Photograph is dark to the core but beautifully written. It’s full of passion, tragedy, sorrow and addresses mental health in a way that we no longer tolerate but accept happened years ago before more was known about post natal depression and the treatment for it.  This was an unexpected but compulsive read and gets a definite 5 stars.

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