A runaway best seller in Britain with over 100,000 copies sold, a riveting historical mystery in the tradition of Kate Morton.
Auction house appraiser Jude leaves London for her dream job at Starbrough Hall, an estate in the countryside, examining and pricing the manuscripts and instruments of an 18th-century astronomer. She is welcomed by Chantal Wickham, and Jude feels close to the old woman at once: they have both lost their husbands. Hard times have forced the Wickham family to sell the astronomer's work, their land, and with it, the timeworn tower that lies nearby. The tower was built as an observatory for astronomer Anthony Wickham and his daughter Esther, and it served as the setting for their most incredible discoveries.
Though Jude is far away from her life in London, her arrival at Starbrough Hall brings a host of childhood memories. She meets Euan, a famed writer and naturalist who lives in the gamekeeper's cottage at the foot of the tower, where Jude's grandfather once lived. And a nightmare begins to haunt her six-year-old niece, the same nightmare Jude herself had years ago. Is it possible that the dreams are passed down from one generation to the next? What secrets does the tower hold? And will Jude unearth them before it's too late?
©2012 Rachel Hore (P)2012 WF Howes Ltd
I received this book from Librarything Early Review Program and with so much going on in my life I’ve gotten behind on my ER’s so I picked this one up on audio and am very glad I did as Jilly Bond’s narration was really good, so this will be a review of the book and the narration.
Recently widowed antique appraiser Jude is trying to get on with her life but she can’t stop thinking of her husband so she decides to take a working vacation to look at some old astronomy texts and equipment and this is when the coincidences start. The estate where these things are is where Jude’s Great Grandfather was groundskeeper and where her Grandmother grew up, but she doesn’t like to talk too much about that time of her life except that there was a gypsy girl. It is also close to her sister and niece who seem to be having the same dreams Jude had as a child. Is that possible? And what is her grandmother hiding? Also why does this place look like the dreams Jude had as a child?
I thought the author did a great job at weaving the past and present storylines together and the mystery of the dreams and what happened to Esther in the 1700’s. I enjoyed the mystery of Esther, this 18th century foundling adopted by rich amateur astronomer they are a happy father and daughter and he seems to love sharing his love of the stars with her, but her story isn’t always a happy one and when Jude finds her journals she starts to unlock the mystery of Esther’s life. This has a magical realism feel to it with the astrology and the dreams. It also has a touch of romance but it doesn’t over power the book. I enjoyed this new to me author’s writing style and will definitely read more by her.
If you are a fan of Kate Morton or Susanna Kearsley I think you will like this book it has the same kind of feel to it with the present story mixed in with the past.
Narrator Jilly Bond brought this story to life for me, her voices were well done and her male & female characters weren’t overdone. I was impressed with her work and will seek out other books narrated by her.
This is a fun, engaging read. Revelations keep appearing until nearly the final page. If you tend to be archival in your own research and enjoy the kinds of discoveries that come from exploring old houses, books and public records you will enjoy this book. The author engages us in the science of astronomy through historical revelations and the romance of stargazing. A new favorite for me.
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. The characters were very engaging, and the mysterious plot kept me constantly listening until the very end. I was sad to hear the last words - I wanted more! It was so wonderfully woven together with a satisfied ending, that I had to get on here at rate it right away. I highly recommend this -- you won't be disappointed! Who doesn't love a mystery about libraries and astronomy and old books and gypsies?
This book began slow for me it took me over an hour to get into it. However, I did eventually become invested in the characters. The familial relationships were intriguing- especially between the sisters.
The pieces of the mysteries (plural) fit a little too neatly and intertwined together too much to be completely plausible. And a lot of the mystery is revealed through dream sequences which I thought was an interesting way to intertwine the past (1700's) with the present.
There is bonus information such as: astronomy, travelers/gypsies and a tour through the English countryside.
The story explores themes of loss, regret, love, and complex family relationships.
I would probably give this book a little less them 4 stars. But if like me you like historical fiction such as Kate Morton books, you will enjoy this story.
I would read another book by this author. The narrator was pretty good.
For the most part. The plot was extremely interesting and well done. Would have loved to give it another star. However, the relationships were all right out of a juvenile romance novel.
Esther. Was the most interesting.
Too uneven. She kept changing styles for the characters. The children's voices were cloying. I did love her grandmother voice, though.
You may be right; I may be crazy. But I just may be the lunatic you're looking for!
The "supernatural" elements in the book may draw readers who like to dabble in fantasy and sci-fi very now and then but wouldn't call themselves "fans" of the genre.
I think I might give the author another chance, but not after just "reading" several books in the genre. It's too predictable and then at times so drawn out I found myself checking to see how many minutes were left until "the end" credits.
I especially didn't like the supernatural elements in the storyline. I was expecting something more realistic and, well, explainable in terms of real world experiences.
NO - the voice drove me crazy. I thought maybe there had been a download glitch the way the cadence fell and rose then sped up unnaturally. The emotional inflections also seemed overly emphasized and at times entirely unwarranted.
I liked the gypsy angle and wish there had been more of it
I am such a fan of the books of Kate Morton, but I despaired of ever finding a book that would enthrall me as hers do. How lucky I feel to have found this one !! The main character's story is so absorbing, leading the reader into the maze with an inevitability that is magical... And the narrator is absolutely wonderful. Highly recommended, and now I want MORE books by this author.
I love how this story slowly unfolded. And it had more twists and turns that I adored. But the narrator was not my favorite by far. Even adjusting for the English accent I did not care for her voices for any of the characters except for the main one. When she did the children, it was really not attractive. But the story more than made up for it.
Loved this story. It starts out with some threads of information, leads to a very tangled web of lives, and resolves in a circular pattern. I was very engrossed in the tale.
I enjoyed the character development and the mystery. I also liked how everything comes together at the end.
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