John Venton's drunken fall from a cliff leaves his family with an embarrassing ghost. His twin children, Morwenna and Corwin, flee in separate directions as their mother, enraged by years of unhappy marriage, embraces merry widowhood. Only their grandfather finds solace in the crumbling house, endlessly painting their story onto a large canvas map.
As the twins are drawn back to the house, they discover that their father's absence is part of the map's mysterious pull.
©2015 Julia Rochester (P)2014 W F Howes Ltd
"Wonderfully crisp and funny and it's so full of vivid, surprising images that the reader almost doesn't notice the moment that deep secrets begin to be revealed." (Emma Healey, author of Elizabeth is Missing)
"Devilishly Clever. Twists and Turns Galore!"
I so hope that Julia Rochester writes many more books, for this was a glorious novel that was an absolute pleasure to listen to. Its plot had more twists and turns than a spiral staircase and a cast of characters that were all at different points engaging and utterly repellent.Morwenna and Corwin are twins that grow up in an ancestral home with mismatched parents and a paternal grandfather. The twins are fircely loyal to one another and inhabit their own little world; Morwenna tends to snobbery and selfish, judgemental behaviour whilst Corwin is the idealistic golden boy to all who know him. But their personal relationhip is overly close and intense and appears odd to all who know them, even their parents. Matthew their grandfather sits at the heart of the family, loathed by the twins' mother and at odds with his son over the sale of family land. Matthew paints, over a period of years, a map of family history relating to Thornton, the family seat. It is this map that helps the twins to unlock a devastating mystery after their father falls off a cliff one evening, just as they are about to leave school and make their way in the world. But is it all as clear cut as things initially appear?Beautifully plotted and written. Narrated very skillfully. Utterly believable. A tour de force. Blissful.
"Different & enthralling"
Essentially the tale of a twin brother and sister, almost a ghost story, but not quite. Diana Athill noted in her review in the Guardian that as an experienced reader and reviewer of fiction she can nearly always guess the outcome, but here, she said, she failed. I think the likely outcome does begin to show about two thirds of the way through, but this does not diminish the excitement right up until closure, which rounds out the tale very satisfactorily.
Avita Jay reads with great skill, a marvelous performance.
And some reviewers didn't like this book!? Perhaps a little patience to allow the writer to put the characters and the plot in the right places so that it builds to such effect.
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