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A Place of Secrets [Paperback]

Rachel Hore
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (92 customer reviews)
RRP: 6.99
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Book Description

2 Sep 2010
The night before it all begins, Jude has the dream again ...Can dreams be passed down through families? As a child Jude suffered a recurrent nightmare: running through a dark forest, crying for her mother. Now her six-year-old niece, Summer, is having the same dream, and Jude is frightened for her. A successful auctioneer, Jude is struggling to come to terms with the death of her husband. When she's asked to value a collection of scientific instruments and manuscripts belonging to Anthony Wickham, a lonely 18th century astronomer, she leaps at the chance to escape London for the untamed beauty of Norfolk, where she grew up. As Jude untangles Wickham's tragic story, she discovers threatening links to the present. What have Summer's nightmares to do with Starbrough folly, the eerie crumbling tower in the forest from which Wickham and his adopted daughter Esther once viewed the night sky? With the help of Euan, a local naturalist, Jude searches for answers in the wild, haunting splendour of the Norfolk woods. Dare she leave behind the sadness in her own life, and learn to love again?

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A Place of Secrets + The Glass Painter's Daughter + The Memory Garden
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Product details

  • Paperback: 456 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books (2 Sep 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847391427
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847391421
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (92 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 42,576 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


`Rachel Hore's intriguing Richard and Judy recommended read, which is layered with a series of mysteries, some more supernatural than others' --Independent

`Hore once again shows her gift for bringing the past to life: her understanding of memory, stories and craft is as strong here as in The Memory Garden' --Waterstone's Books Quarterly

`Sumptuous prose, deft plotting, lush settings, troubling personal histories, tragedy, heady romance and even a smattering of 18th century scientific wonderment mark Hore's fourth novel as her most accomplished and enthralling yet' --Daily Mirror

'Anyone who likes well written fiction will love this...I will with absolute certainty be getting myself the rest of Rachel's books, and I can't wait to get stuck into them all. Hopefully they'll all be as fantastic as A Place of Secrets' --ChickLitReviews.com

`Jude is an appealing heroine and Hore's writing draws the reader beguilingly into her world. An atmospheric, beautifully written romance, with an intriguing historical mystery woven through its pages'
--Living North

About the Author

Rachel Hore worked in London publishing for many years before moving with her family to Norwich, where she teaches publishing at UEA. She is married to writer D. J. Taylor and they have three sons.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
65 of 71 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Can the past affect the present? 19 Sep 2010
By Suzie
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a fascinatingly complex story of how the past can affect the present. Jude, the main character, still trying to come to terms with the death of her young husband four years earlier, is a specialist in 18th century books and manuscripts. When she takes a call one lunchtime, intended for another employee of the small auctioneers business where she works, she feels a frisson of interest - as a child, her grandmother lived in the gamekeeper's cottage on the estate of Starbrough Hall, home of the caller Robert Wickham. Her Gran still lives nearby, as does her pretty but prickly sister Claire, whose daughter, Summer, has started suffering the same nightmares that plagued Jude as a child - running through a forest unable to find her mother.

Both Jude's Gran, and her mother, Valerie, seem to have some past, but unacknowledged, connection to a crumbling folly built in the 18th century by astronomer Anthony Wickham, the then owner of the estate, to enable him to study the stars. As Jude searches through the old manuscripts, she unearths the journals of the young Esther Wickham, whose story unfolds alongside the modern day tale and proves even more compelling. Who was she, and where did she come from? And what happened to her after Anthony Wickham died?

There is a large cast of characters, but they're clearly defined and there's never any problem knowing who they are. There's also the astronomical history, the romantic interest surrounding Euan, a naturalist and present occupant of Gran's old home, and the tense rivalry yet edgy closeness between the sisters, Jude and Claire.

It's a novel of many facets, and I had to admire the intricate plotting which enabled the author to piece together all aspects of the story and the secrets it contains.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 'A Place of Secrets' Review 13 July 2012
This is the first of Rachel Hore's books we've read. A detailed & complex plot with many diverse characters, but we all felt it was extremely well written keeping the reader engaged to the end of the story. There were many synchronisities but despite these we agreed the story-line was strong and came together well. Our group gave it 8 out of 10.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars super read 12 Dec 2011
I just finished this book and was delighted with it. Loved the story and couldnt put it down. Why is there so many negative comments about this book!!!!!!!!!! Never read this author before but will definitely seek her out!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring 5 Jan 2011
The book follows Jude, an auctioneer, as she visits Starbrough Hall to evaluate a collection for auction. What then follows are pages and pages devoted to a diary she finds hidden away, detailing mainly star gazing trips, which I found completely boring. The plot involves coincidence after coincidence which in my opinion never bind together as anything coherent. As other reviewers have said it is a poor imitation of a Kate Morton book. I almost gave up numerous times while reading this but was determined to reach the end - it wasn't worth it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really enjoyable 4 May 2012
By Emma E
This is the first Rachel Hore book I have ever read and I loved it. Thought it was such a great blend of old and new, love and heartache, family and friends. I am not much of a reader normally but my husband noticed that I was reading this book whenever I had a free moment. Because of this he bought me another one of her books, Memory Garden.

The story is based around a recurring dream that seems to be passed down from Aunt to niece, but is actually a memory from a child from the far distant past. As the story unfolds you realised quite where the story is taking you and what the characters & dream/memory means.

So lovely to read a story that takes you away from normal life and is a engrossing & gentle read that has no unwanted babies, abusive people or swearing that many authors seem to need in their stories.

I will work my way through Rachel's books and I am glad to see I've got quite a few to read.

Have recommended this book to my mum and sister who are waiting for me to take it round to their houses.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars undemanding but enjoyable 12 Dec 2011
By Viv
Other reviewers seem to be very hard on this book. It's just escapist fiction after all. I enjoyed it and thought the author wove in the two time frames rather skillfully. Yes, at the end it turns out everything is interconnected but wasn't that what the story was all about? It does proceed at a fairly gentle pace but it has a certain charm. A good, soothing book to read when you can't get to sleep or are poorly.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Place Of Secrets, Rachel Hoare 11 Oct 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
After reading seriously conflicting reviews of this book, which I have to admit had me shaking with laughter,( the reviews, not the book!) I thought I would add my humble opinion. I suppose it all depends on what the reader wants from a book but I personally found it rather charming. The storyline was complex but the detail, especially the life of Esther I found intriguing. If you are after a light read on a summer afternoon, this ones for you.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing 30 April 2011
By Lori
The main character Jude works for an Auctioneers and is asked to look through the library and manuscripts of an 18th-century amateur astronomer, Anthony Wickham. While doing so she finds entries from his adopted daughter, Esther who the current members of the Wickham family have never heard of. Jude sets out to discover just who was Esther, where did she come from and what happened to her. At the same time Jude's niece has dreams and nightmares that seem to be connected to the events of the past.

Esther's story and Jude's investigation were enjoyable to read about and Jude's attempts to rebuild her life after the death of her husband four years previously helped keep the focus on the present as well as the past. Although, I felt some of the topics surrounding Jude: her grief, a possible revelation about her late husband and the rivalry between her and her sister were skimmed over and that exploring them further would have made a more satisfying read.

For me the mystery of the dreams was not needed and distracted from the more interesting story of Esther. I was also disappointed with the latter part of the book where not only coincidences and connections abounded but seemed to come too easily to light.

This book would have been better if it had just been about Jude, her relationships with her family and her investigation. The author's attempt to tie everything together and add some sort of supernatural mystery spoiled the story somewhat.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Rachel Hore is a very good writer, she conveys past times perfectly...
Rachel Hore is a very good writer, she conveys past times perfectly and intermingles them with present day, always full of mysterious twists and turns while not losing sight of the... Read more
Published 8 days ago by Miu miu Lin
3.0 out of 5 stars A PLACE OF SECRETS - reader review
A really enjoyable holiday read. Loved it.
Published 1 month ago by anne pask
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 month ago by Julie Frost
5.0 out of 5 stars Place of secrets
I really like this author I have one more of her books to read. She is a joy to read and I would recommend her .
Published 1 month ago by Mrs. G. Bevan
4.0 out of 5 stars A place of secrets fascinating
A place of secrets by Rachel Hore, I found this book like all her others I have read a joy. I don't understand why she has negative reviews. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Lady from Aberdeen
5.0 out of 5 stars Another of my books by Rachel Hore
Excellent as ever. I really enjoy her books, they are well written and thought provoking. Well done Rachel, I will be buying more of your books.
Published 2 months ago by Dorothy Allen
4.0 out of 5 stars Gentle and easy
Nice gentle easy to read book. The relationships were a bit predictable but overall a pleasant book. Lacking a bit of umph!!. Liked the descriptions of the gardens
Published 4 months ago by Christine oberg
5.0 out of 5 stars A Place of Secrets
I have only recently discovered Rachel Hore's books and really enjoy them. In The Place of Secrets there is a bit of everything that makes a good book. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Mrs. Hopefull
5.0 out of 5 stars A Place of Secrets - Rachel Hore
This book I really enjoyed. Theplot was intricate and I could follow it without too much going backwards and forwards. Read more
Published 9 months ago by bookworm
5.0 out of 5 stars What a story
THIS IS AN EXCELLENT STORY WITH SO MANY TWISTS. I Couldn't put it down. If you like intrigue this is the book for you.
Published 9 months ago by Pam
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