Sarah Morton returns to the Anglesey village of Moelfre to attend her father's funeral, and as she goes back to the brooding house on the edge of the cliffs, she begins to realise that long buried secrets threaten, not just the present, but also the past. Beautifully written, this story literally bounds along at top speed, there is never a lull in the narrative as with expert skill the author combines historical legend, with a modern day murder mystery. The Charter works so well on all levels, the historic legend of the Royal Charter forms the basis of the story, but the present day murder mystery is equally compelling, and just as absorbing. The rapport with the characters is instantaneous, they are so finely drawn you can almost imagine them as people you know, and as the gradual layering of the present and the past combine, the stark truth begins to emerge of lives ruined by grief and despair.
With the author's fine attention to detail, the stark coastal beauty of Anglesey comes gloriously alive. The legacy of the shipwreck lives on, and as the story unfolds, you can easily imagine that you are standing on the edge of the cliff path looking out over Dulas Bay, with the tang of salt and seaweed in the air, and the beleaguered ship, The Royal Charter, being tossed like a puppet in the churning waters of the Irish Sea.
It's not often that a book comes along which covers all your favourite genres in one fell swoop, but, for me, The Charter is definitely one such book. Gillian Hamer writes with the passion of one who knows Anglesey well, and with great skill and imagination has turned this passion into a cracking good story.