For Liberty Fuller the haunted loch house contains a secret buried in her distant past. Recently pregnant, she sets off on a long-delayed trip to face the truth about what happened one summer at the house and put her ghosts to rest. The narrative cleverly switches between 1/ the adult Liberty's present journey to the remote Scottish holiday home and 2/ the young Liberty's stay at the loch house with her step-mother Marie all those years ago. Liberty's obvious hatred and resentment of Marie are intensified by the spooky and isolated landscape, which is described beautifully by Taylor. And it quickly becomes clear that instead of recuperating from the recent death of her parents, Liberty is allowing her own ghosts to drag her inexorably into another, more sinister psychological landscape where tragedy lurks.
While other reviewers have described Taylor's writing as lyrical - and she is brilliant at atmosphere - the story unfolds at a good pace and becomes genuinely gripping. By the time the denouement comes, you are so engrossed in the characters' lives that it hits with real impact. Taylor doesn't hold back and doesn't disappoint. If you want comparisons with other authors, perhaps the gothic atmosphere of Shirley Jackson, and the emotional depth of Stephen King, spring most readily to my mind - but Taylor's writing is fresh and original. This is a powerful story, powerfully told.