A garden maze and a labyrinth beneath a church are obvious metaphors for long buried secrets that have plagued the members of the Easton household for many years and are now slowly coming to light. It is through the eyes of traumatized ex-military officer and amateur sleuth Laurence Bartram that author Elizabeth Speller explores the tumultuous terrain of the village of Easton Deadall where the shadows of the past continue to torment and threaten the residents of Easton Hall. It is through Bartram's distinctive perspective that readers view the war, the inhabitants and landscape of this small English village and the ultimate resolution to the mystery that has overshadowed the lives of so many for so long.
THE STRANGE FATE OF KITTY EASTON begins 1924, thirteen years after 5 year old Kitty Easton disappeared. WWI is over leaving in its wake the shattered reminents of men and women who are now attempting to bring some semblance of order back into their lives. Kitty's disappearance and fate are almost ancillary to the plight of the other characters depicted in this novel, from the ailing and distraught Lydia to archeologist Patrick to David the trusty chauffeur, all have skeletons in their respective closets The book is divided into Parts 1 and 2 with part one plodding along rather slowly as it lays down the foundation of the tale with in-depth attention to even the most finite details. Part 2 is where the real action begins and it is here that the reader is truly drawn into this tense and atmospheric, yet satisfyingly convoluted, tale.
Part historical fiction, part manor house mystery and part "journey you enter and move along to its end". . . THE STRANGE FATE OF KITTY EASTON provides a reflective lesson in how individual choices become the means by which life crystallizes loss. Overall rating: 2 ½ for part one, 4 ½ for part two = 3 ½ stars