Themes: twinness, nostalgia, history, family, secrets, loss
I picked up Black Rabbit Hall while on a daytrip to St Ives on a really sunny day this summer, simply because it was advertised as being set in Cornwall and I thought it would be a nice way to immortalise my holiday. In the same way as I feel a sense of connection to Scotland because of my Dad's family history, at times I also get a bit sentimental about Cornwall because of my Mum's.
Anyway, onto the book:
"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 blurb made the story sound quite mystical, as though supernatural things were going to happen, and so I think I pictured something quite Woman In Black-esque. It turned out to be pleasantly different. I'm not usually a lover of contemporaries - I'm more of a fantasy girl - but, surprisingly, I did actually get attached to the family who first lived in 'Black Rabbit Hall'.
I particularly enjoyed the first chapter, which for me encapsulated everything that is best about Cornwall. The descriptions reminded me especially of my favourite place in Tintagel, on the cliffs looking out to the sea. This chapter is told through Amber's perspective, and although throughout her next few designated chapters I found myself getting annoyed at the writing style, as I so often do with contemporaries, I did like her and cared what happened to her. That goes for all the characters, so props to Eve Chase for that. I always had to read on to see what happened to them.
I'm not sure if you could compare this book to Downton Abbey because I've never seen it, but there is a big ol' house and lots of secrets surrounding the people who lived there. However, I liked the way that Black Rabbit Hall was described in the modern-day chapters: run down and no longer so grand. I liked the way it didn't seem high-end, pretentious or for snobby people. It felt exactly like an abandoned family home, as it should have done. I liked the closeness of the family and was glad for the reconciliations that took place.
Rating 3.5 stars. I would recommend this book but not in a OMG YOU HAVE TO READ IT NOW way.
Black Rabbit Hall is the 16th book I've finished reading this year. To see if I hit my goal of 25 books, become my friend on Goodreads, or, alternatively, view my Reading List/Book Reviews page.
~All images used in this post are my own.~