Catherine, a successful barrister, vanishes from a train station on the eve of her anniversary. Is it because she saw a figure – someone she believed long dead? Or was it a shadow cast by her troubled, fractured mind?
The answer lies buried in the past. It lies in the events of the hot, seismic summer of 1989, at Vanesa mysterious West Country manor house – where a young girl, Jane Lestrange, arrives to stay with the gilded, grand Hunter family, and where a devastating tragedy will unfold.
Over the summer, as an ancient family ritual looms closer, Janey falls for each member of the family in turn. She and Kitty, the eldest daughter of the house, will forge a bond that decades later, is still shaping the present . . .
The Beloved Girls follows the story of Catherine. She is a successful woman who is currently working as a barrister in London where she also lives with her husband Davide and their two teenage son’s. From the outside looking in Catherine’s life looks pretty perfect, but behind closed doors there is certainly undercurrents running throughout Catherine’s life that are playing a huge role in altering her state of mind.
It is clear that Catherine is still troubled by the events that occurred in the family home during the summer of 1989, and it is all of these secrets that play a pivotal role in her sudden disappearance from the train station, something her family struggle to understand. There are strong levels of suspicion and tension as we slowly begin to uncover the well buried story of what happened all those years ago in Vanes – A West Country manor house where the rather eccentric Hunter family reside. This is where Catherine spent her childhood, and it is also the place where Janey Lestrange walked into her life as a troubled teenager who was certainly facing her own mental health battles at the time too.
The story is told from the alternating timelines of the 1950’s, 1989 and the present day, told from Catherine’s perspective – who admittedly at times is a rather unreliable witness to events, something I think is brilliantly linked to the events that have scarred her so deeply throughout the years. The story is written in such a captivating way, something I have come to know and expect from the wonderful Harriet Evans. The way in which she tells the story really allows you to feel as though you are living the events alongside the characters, providing you with a much deeper emotional connection to this delightful story.
Full of drama and mystery, this is a truly atmospheric tale that captivates you wholly from the moment you begin reading. Another page turner from the marvellous Harriet Evans.
About the Author
Harriet Evans is the author of several top ten bestsellers including the Sunday Times bestselling The Garden of Lost and Found and Richard and Judy bookclub selection The Wildflowers. She used to work in publishing and now writes full time, when she is not being distracted by her children, other books, sewing
projects, puzzles, gardening, and her much-loved collection of jumpsuits. Last year, she and her family moved from London to Bath
*Thank you to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours, Headline Books and Harriet Evans for providing me with a gifted copy of this book in return for my honest review. All thoughts are entirely my own and not influenced in any way.*