on 22 July 2014
Love Frances Fyfield books, the characters, the language, the suspense. Just one thing puzzles me about this one: the verses from "She Moved through the Fair" that are quoted are attributed to "the Bard of Avalon" by the policeman Donald, but I've never heard Padraic Colum called this before, and it was not corrected or the poet acknowledged by the author.
Tellingly, Ivy, Rachel Doe's new friend, doesn't seem to have any other friends. What she does have is a wonderful family into which Rachel is welcomed with such open-hearted warmth that Ivy's admission of going off the rails in her past produces only sympathy. Rachel needs friendship after a failed relationship and her weekends at Ivy's family's farm seem to promise much. Rachel feels only sympathy for Ivy's past drug addiction and the death of her small daughter, who drowned in the lake near the farm. But there are gaps in Ivy's stories, there is a worrying incident when Rachel's self-effacing and difficult father is put at risk, and Rachel is about to discover that there is hidden conflict at the not so cosy heart of Ivy's life.
This novel proceeds with caution initially but builds up an unmistakable aura of threat hanging over Rachel as she is trapped as much by her own naïve hopes as anything else. Rachel's needy personality is her downfall, and I did wonder how someone so supposedly intelligent could be quite so easily manipulated. This is a dark story of past mistakes, some going back to WWII, of twisted hatred and violence at the heart of an outwardly ideally happy family. It's an excellent and very creepy thriller, building to a terrifying finale. Not everything is fine and dandy down on the farm...