Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase
To be published: February 9, 2016
The book starts off with a teenaged girl named Amber talking about the end of her summer vacation in Cornwall at her family’s house, nicknamed Black Rabbit Hall. The next chapter fasts forward to more modern day times with a young bride named Lorna and her fiancee Jon who are searching for the perfect spot to get married, and come across Pencraw Hall (aka Black Rabbit Hall). She cannot explain why but is somehow drawn to the old crumbling house, deciding that it is the perfect place (despite her fiancee’s misgivings) and is invited by the house’s owner to spend a few days there. From here the story jumps back and forth between the 1960s and modern times to tell Amber and Lorna’s story.
The Alton family, made up of Amber and her twin brother Toby are the eldest, followed by a younger sister named Kitty and a brother named Barney. Their parents are happily married and everything is as it should be when they head from Cornwall to London to their ancestral home of Black Rabbit Hall, where they always spend their entire summers. That is until tragedy strikes and their world is turned upside down. Lorna is fascinated with the house and its history, remembering that this was the house that her own recently-deceased mother used to take her to when she was little. However, as she becomes obsessed with learning about the house and the Alton family’s past, she is estranged from her own family. 3-1/2 stars.
It’s hard to believe this is the author’s first book. I thought it was rather good for a first attempt and thankfully the chapters are clearly labeled so you’re not confused when it jumps back and forth in time. I personally liked the gothic feel to the book, which reminded me of Emily Bronte and Daphne Du Maurier. The story keeps you in suspense for most of the book and makes the house almost another character in the book. I think my biggest gripe was that the story went on for way too long, and I nearly gave up on reading it because it was so slow in the beginning. Lorna’s character was a bit whiny and predictable, but at the same time you felt sorry for her. I liked the 1960s story the best, especially Amber’s mother and Peggy.