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The Last Days of Leda Grey Paperback – 12 Oct 2017
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A richly evocative story, brimming with intrigue and suspense (M. L. Stedman, author of THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS)
Leda Grey's world is utterly beguiling (Antonia Senior THE TIMES)
Dark, haunting, compelling... equal to DuMaurier's novels - this book held me in its grip. Loved it. (Liz Fenwick, author of The Cornish House)
Macabre, transporting, thick with atmosphere and allusion (Morgan McCarthy, author of The Other Half Of Me)
Darkly sparkling. Very much enjoyed my days in Leda's twilight world. Doubt I'll sleep all that well tonight... (Anna Mazzola, author of The Unseeing)
Shades of Sunset Boulevard in this atmospheric chiller (WOMAN&HOME)
A wonderfully creepy tale. Leda is a triumph (Vanessa Lafaye, author of Summertime)
An obvious comparison is with early Sarah Waters. The glee with which Fox approaches her material is infectious. All Victorian life is here. Intriguing (THE GUARDIAN)
A deliciously eerie affair... A story of obsession, jealousy, mysterious deaths and theatrically supernatural goings-on as very strange truths are tantalisingly revealed (SUNDAY EXPRESS)
Fox's tale of obsessive love is memorable and unusual (THE SUNDAY TIMES)
A bewitching novel about an enigmatic silent film actress, and the volatile love affair that left her a recluse for over half a century - for fans of Sarah Waters and Tracy ChevalierSee all Product description
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Essie Fox has done her research impeccably, but she wears it with the lightest of touches. The characters are so real you want to Google them to find out more about them, and the plot is compelling: Fox drip feeds you information bit by tantalising bit, which keeps you turning pages. She excels at creating richly atmospheric settings: the flickering images and shadowy figures of the lost era of silent film make a satisfying contrast with Brighton in the summer of 1976, where Fox conjures up a heat wave so tangible and oppressive, it’s hypnotic.
Essie Fox has a unique voice, and reading Leda Grey has made me want to buy her earlier novels. I look forward also to seeing what she comes up with next!
But Leda Grey has been forgotten until young journalist, Ed Peters, enters Theo’s shop more than 60 years later. Captivated by photographs of Leda and intrigued when Theo tells him that, “she hides herself away like a doomed princess in a fairy tale,” in a cliff top home with no electricity, he resolves to interview her and write her story.
At first this slow-moving tale failed to capture my interest but as Ed came under Leda’s spell, the atmospheric account of the sordid decay of the house and Leda’s haunting description of her time as muse and lover of Charles lead me to turn the pages rapidly to uncover the mystery of these tragic characters.
Readers of Essie’s earlier novels will recognise her rich, suggestive writing but this book has an added dimension in the psychology of Ed Peters and his struggles to resist a woman at the end of her life who enters his fantasies and dreams.
Essie Fox is a wonderful writer, and her novel is beautifully written, with layers of sensuous imagery. The book draws you in at the start and takes you on a journey into the intriguing world of silent films, through the bewitching character of Leda Grey. Moving between Leda’s recollections and Ed’s observations, the narrative changes constantly, with subtle shifts in the story, which is gripping throughout and leads to a dramatic and unexpected climax. ‘The Last Days of Leda Grey’ is a magical and beguiling read and I would highly recommend it.
Not sure why but for some reason I found my attention wandering once or twice.
This is a book I would happily recommend and I intend to read the earlier works of this author.
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