Eve Chase Black Rabbit Hall

ISBN 13: 9780718182977

Black Rabbit Hall

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( 5,305 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780718182977: Black Rabbit Hall

One golden family. One fateful summer. Four lives changed forever. Amber Alton knows that the hours pass differently at Black Rabbit Hall, her London family's country estate where no two clocks read the same. Summers there are perfect, timeless. Not much ever happens. Until, one stormy evening in 1968, it does. The idyllic world of the four Alton children is shattered. Fiercely bonded by the tragic events, they grow up fast. But when a glamorous stranger arrives, these loyalties are tested. Forbidden passions simmer. And another catastrophe looms... Decades later, Lorna and her fiancé wind their way through the countryside searching for a wedding venue. Lorna is drawn to a beautiful crumbling old house she hazily remembers from her childhood, feels a bond she does not understand. When she finds a disturbing message carved into an old oak tree by one of the Alton children, she begins to realise that Black Rabbit Hall's secret history is as dark and tangled as its woods, and that, much like her own past, it must be brought into the light. A thrilling spiral into the hearts of two women separated by decades but inescapably linked by Black Rabbit Hall. A story of forgotten childhood and broken dreams, secrets and heartache, and the strength of a family's love. Praise for Black Rabbit Hall 'Apart from the occasional classic, I have rarely felt the urge to read a book twice . . . Black Rabbit Hall's beautifully crafted mystery is a delight I want to experience again and again . . . make Chase's debut the one to pack in your suitcase *****' Stylist 'There's something about tales of mysterious old buildings that have the ability to set hairs on end. In this one, two intertwining stories explore the magnificence of Black Rabbit Hall and the dark secrets behind its walls. Perfect' Red 'Atmospheric, with echoes of Du Maurier, this haunting novel enchanted me' Fanny Blake, Woman & Home 'Beautifully, poetically written and reminiscent of everything from I Capture The Castle to Hansel And Gretel. Eve Chase is a name to watch' Wendy Holden, Daily Mail 'A cracking pool-side saga' Good Housekeeping 'Black Rabbit Hall pulls you like a sleepwalker into a beautiful, hazy story about a grand Cornish home full of character and thunderclap memories, we found ourselves breathless with anticipation. Eve Chase's debut novel is like a prolonged and beautiful daydream, celebrating the enduring power of place in our lives' iBooks Books of the Month 'Black Rabbit Hall is a seductive wonder of a novel; with echoes of Daphne Du Maurier and Dodie Smith, it pulls you irresistibly into its world where nothing is quite as it first appears' Elizabeth Fremantle 'Expertly crafted, dark, beautiful and utterly enthralling' Rowan Coleman 'Family secrets, forbidden lust, and a family of four extraordinary children who'll stick with you long after they've scattered off the page. Eve Chase kept me up with her gorgeous descriptions of a crumbling Cornwall estate and the unruly brood who meets tragedy within its walls' Miranda Beverly-Whittemore, New York Times bestselling author of Bittersweet 'A stunning new writer has arrived - gripping and heart rending, this novel is full of original characters which don't let you forget them' Katie Fforde 'A deliciously intriguing novel whose rich sense of time and place bear more than a few echoes of du Maurier's best' Alex Marwood, Edgar Award-winning author of The Wicked Girls 'A sheer delight. It has everything: a glorious setting, characters to fall in love with, secrets galore and enough twists and turns to keep you guessing until the very last page. Wonderful' Veronica Henry 'A plot so absorbing that Black Rabbit time will creep up out of the pages and envelop you completely . . . To say I loved this book would be an understatement' The Book Bag It's a fast-paced story of secrets, betrayal and consequence . . . we promise you'll be gripped' Essentials Magazine 'The perfect piece of summer escapism, gently edged with glamorous fairy dust. We loved it' Psychologies Magazine, September Book Club choice 'A fabulous story. Masterfully realised by Chase, this is one of those books that demands complete attention and lingers in your mind for days after finishing the last page' Thebookbag.co.uk 'Brilliant' The Lady 'Debut novelist Chase weaves together Lorna's investigations with Amber's tribulations, a tapestry embroidered with madness, a horrifying accident, and malicious lies. Compellingly readable and riddled with twists and turns worthy of Daphne du Maurier, Chase's tale will delight' Kirkus Reviews 'A hugely intriguing read and, combined with the twists and turns that cleverly connect past and present, the gripping narrative left us gasping for more. Poignant and suspenseful, Black Rabbit Hall is the perfect alternative summer read.' Heat

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

Eve Chase always wanted to write about families - ones that go wrong but somehow survive - and big old houses, where family secrets and untold stories seed in the crumbling stone walls. Black Rabbit Hall is such a story. Eve is married with three children and lives in Oxfordshire.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

AMBER
Last day of the summer holidays, 1969, Cornwall
 
I feel safe on the cliff ledge, safer than in the  house, anyway. Afew feet  from  the  coast  path, it's a twenty-minute scramble  from  the edge of the estate, far enough  from  Black Rabbit Hall's watching win­ dows, a secret  place. I hover on the cliff above it for a moment or two, wind snapping my dress against my legs, soles of my feet tingling, then lower myself carefully,  gripping the clumps of grass, sea roaring in my ears.   (Best  not  to  look  down.) One small  heart-stop drop and  I'm perching right  on the edge of sky. Jump too wide, it's all over. I wouldn't do it. But it occurs to me that I like the fact I could. That I have some control over my destiny today. 

Pressed  against  the  cliff wall,  I finally catch  my breath. So much frantic searching: woods,  rooms, endless  stairs.  Heels  rubbed raw in too-small tennis shoes.  And   I  still  haven't  found them. Where are they? Shading my eyes from  the sky dazzle  with  my hand, I scan the bottle-green cliff  tops  on the  other side of the  cove. Deserted. Only cattle in the fields. I inch  down then, spine  against the  rock, and  hitch  up  my dress, brazenly,  so that  air tunnels through my bare bent legs. 

Still  at last,  I can't  outrun the  events  of the  day any longer.  Even the  sound  of the  waves on  the  rocks  makes  my slapped cheek  sting afresh.  I blink and  there  is the house, silhouetted on the inside  of my eyelids. So I try to keep my eyes open and let my mind loose in the vast pink sky, where the sun  and moon  hang like a question and an answer.  Iforget  that  Iam  meant  to  be searching. That minutes move faster  than clouds at dusk. I think only of my own escape. I don't know  how long I sit there, my thoughts pierced  by a huge black bird diving  over the  cliff, so close its talons might  catch  in  my hair. Iinstinctively duck  in its wing draft, nose meeting the cool skin of my knees.  And  when  I look up my gaze is no longer  on the sky but on flotsam bob bing on the high tide swell below.

No, not flotsam. Something more alive. A dolphin? Or those  jelly­ fish that  have been washing up in our cove all week, like a lost cargo of gray glass bowls? Maybe. I lean forward, dipping my face over the edge to get a better view, hair  blowing  wildly, heart  beating a little  faster, starting to sense something terrible shifting just below the shimmer­ ing blue surface, not quite seeing it. Not yet.
 
 
Lorna
More than three decades later
 
 
   It is one  of those  journeys.  The  closer  they get to their destination, the  harder it is to imagine that  they'll ever actually arrive. There is always another bend  in  the  road,  a judder  to  the  dead  end of a farm track.  And  it is getting late, too late. Warm summer rain is drumming on the roof of the car.

"I say we cut our losses and  head back to the  Band B." Jon cranes over  the  steering wheel  to get  a better view  of the  road  liquefying behind the  windscreen. "Grab a pint  and  plan a wedding somewhere within the M25.  What do you reckon?"

Lorna draws a house with  her fingertip in the condensation on the window.  Roof. Chimney Squiggle of smoke. "Don't think so, darling."

"Somewhere with a sunny microclimate, perhaps?"

"Ha. Funny."  Despite the disappointments of the day so far-none of the  wedding venues  has  lived  up  to  expectation, too  much  over­ priced  chintz-Lorna is quite  happy. There is something exhilarating about  driving through this wild weather with  the man she is to marry, just the two of them  cocooned in their wheezing little  red Fiat. When they're old and  gray they'll remember this  journey,  she thinks. Being young and in love and in a car in the  rain.

"Great." Jon  frowns  at a looming dark  shape  in the mirror. "All  I need  now is a massive bloody tractor up  my backside."  He  stops  at a crossroads, where various signs, bent  by the  wind,  point  in directions that  bear little relation to the angle of the corresponding roads. "Now where?"

"Are we lost?" she teases, enjoying  the idea.

 "The satnav  is lost. We  seem  to have gone off grid.  Only in your beloved Cornwall."
Lorna smiles.  Jon's  is a  boyish,  uncomplicated grumpiness, one that  will evaporate with  the first  sign of the  house, or a cold beer.  He doesn't internalize things, like she does, or make obstacles symbolic  of other stuff.

"Right." He nods at the map on Lorna's lap, which is scattered with biscuit  crumbs and  folded  haphazardly. "How are your  map-reading skills coming along, sweetheart?"

"Well  ..." She scrabbles the  map open, bouncing the crumbs off to join the empty water bottles rolling on the sandy car floor. "According to my rough  cartological calculations, we're currently driving through the Atlantic."

Jon  huffs  back in  his seat,  stretches out  his legs, too  long for  the small car. "Brilliant."
Lorna leans  over, strokes his thigh  where muscle fades the denim. She knows  he's  tired  of driving down  unfamiliar roads  in  the  rain, touring wedding venues, this one, farthest away, hardest to find,  saved for last. They would  be on the Amalfi Coast  if she hadn't insisted that they come  to Cornwall instead. If Jon's  patience  is wearing thin, she can hardly blame him.
Jon proposed back at Christmas, months ago, pine needles crunch­ ing beneath his bended knee.  For a long time,  that  was enough. She loved being engaged,  that state of blissful suspension: they belonged  to each  other, but  they  still  woke  up  every  morning and  chose  to  be
together. She  worried about   jinxing  that   easy  happiness.  Anyway, there  was no mad rush.  They had all the time in the world.

Then they  didn't. When  Lorna's   mother died  unexpectedly in May, grief punched her  back to earth and  the  wedding suddenly felt inescapably, brutally urgent. Her mother's death  was a reminder not to wait. Not  to put things on hold or forget  that  a black date is circled  on everyone's calendar, flipping ever closer.  Disorienting but also oddly life-affirming, it made her want to grab life in her fists, totter through the litter of Bethnal Green Road  on a drizzly Sunday morning in her lucky  red  heels.  This morning she  wiggled  herself  into  a sunshine­ yellow vintage sixties sundress. If she can't  wear it now, when? 

Jon changes gears, yawns. "What's the  place called again, Lorna?" "Pencraw," she says brightly,  trying to keep his spirits up, mindful that  if it were up to Jon  they'd simply stuff his large, sprawling family into a marquee in his parents' Essex garden and  be done with it. Then they'd move down  the road,  near  his adoring sisters-swapping their tiny  city  flat   for  a suburban house   with  a  lawn  sprinkler-so  his mother, Lorraine, could  help with  all  the  babies  that  would  swiftly follow. Thankfully, it is not up to Jon. "Pencraw Hall."

He runs a hand through his corn-colored hair, sun-bleached almost white at the tips. "One more shot?"

She beams back. She loves this man. 

"To hell with it, let's go this way. We've got a one-in-four chance of getting it right.  Hopefully we'll shake the tractor." He  presses his foot hard on the gas.

They don't shake  it. 

The  rain  continues to fall. The windscreen is mashed  with  cow­ parsley petals,  pushed  into snowy drifts by the squeaking wipers.  Lor­ na's heart  beats a little  faster  beneath the crisp cotton of her dress.

Even  though  she  can't   see  much   beyond   the   rivulets  of  rain running down the  window,  she  knows  that  the  wooded  valleys, river creeks,  and deserted little  coves of the Roseland Peninsula lie beyond the  glass,  and  she  can  sense  them  already,  hulking out  there  in  the mist. She remembers being on these roads as a kid-they visited Corn­ wall  most  summers-and how  the  sea  air  would  rush  through the wound-down window,   blowing  away the  last  trapped bits  of grimy Greater London, and  the stitch  of tension on her mother's face.

An  anxious woman, her  mother suffered from  insomnia all  her life:  the  seaside  seemed  to  be the  only  place she could  sleep.  When Lorna was little, she wondered if the Cornish air swirled  with strange sleepy  fumes,  like  the  poppy  field  in  The Wizard of Oz.  Now  a small
voice in her head cannot help wondering if it swirls with family secrets. But she decides to keep this thought to herself.

"Are you sure  this  old pile actually exists,  Lorna?"  Jon's arms  are straight and stiff at the wheel, eyes reddening with strain. 

"It exists." She pulls up  her long, dark  hair, twisting it into  a top­ knot.  A few strands escape, fringing her pale neck. She feels the heat of his glance:  he loves her neck, the soft baby skin  just below her ears.

"Remind me again." His eyes return to the road. "Some old manor house you visited with  your m urn while on holiday down here?" "That's right." She nods  enthusiastically.

"Your  mum  enjoyed  a stately, I know that."  He  frowns up at the mirror. The  rain  is falling in undulating silver sheets  now. "But  how can you be sure it's this one?"

"Pencraw Hall popped up  on some  online wedding directory. I recognized it straightaway."
Already so many  things have faded-the hyacinth notes of her mother's favorite  perfume, the exact click of her tongue as she  searched for  her  reading glasses-but  in  the  last  few weeks other memories, long forgotten, seemingly random, have come into unexpected bright  focus. And this is one of them.  "Mum pointing up at this  big old house.  The  look of awe in her eyes. It sort  of stuck with  me." She  swivels  the  diamond engagement ring  on  her finger, remembering other things too.  A  pink-striped paper   bag  of fudge heavy  in  her  hand. A  river.  "Yes,  I'm  almost   certain it's  the  same house."

"Almost?" Jon shakes his head, laughs, one ofhis big belly laughs that rumble against  his ribs. "God, I must love you."

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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Chase, Eve
Published by Michael Joseph (2015)
ISBN 10: 0718182979 ISBN 13: 9780718182977
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