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Interesting dual timeframe story
on 31 March 2009
Dual timeframe novels about a woman discovering secrets buried in an old house seem to be ten a penny at the moment, but this is one of the best I've read recently. The historical aspect concerns the Chartists (a group I remember vaguely from A Level History) who were campaigning for rights and education for workers. Their enigmatic envoy Robert Moore, who is based on a real Chartist leader, comes to lodge in the house of a young girl, Elizabeth, and the tension between them mounts as Robert encourages Elizabeth's love of literature and she slowly becomes obsessed with him.
In the modern thread, Rachel is suffering from post-natal depression coupled with grief over the death of her mother, so when she starts to hear voices and feel strange sensations in the house her mother has bequeathed her, she thinks it's her mind playing tricks on her.
I did enjoy this aspect of the book but if I had to make a criticism it would be that, aside from living in the same house, the link between Rachel and Elizabeth's stories is a bit tenuous and I would have liked Rachel to have delved more deeply into the history of the house and found out more about Elizabeth's time there after her marriage. Still a highly recommended read though.