In this haunting and richly imagined dual-narrative tale that echoes the eerie mystery of Rebecca and The Little Stranger, two women of very different eras are united by the secrets hidden within the walls of an English manor house.
In 1933, naive twenty-two year-old Alice—pregnant and unmarried—is in disgrace. Her mother banishes her from London to secluded Fiercombe Manor in rural Gloucestershire, where she can hide under the watchful eye of her mother’s old friend, the housekeeper Mrs. Jelphs. The manor’s owners, the Stantons, live abroad, and with her cover story of a recently-deceased husband Alice can have her baby there before giving it up for adoption and returning home. But as Alice endures the long, hot summer at Fiercombe awaiting the baby’s birth, she senses that something is amiss with the house and its absentee owners.
Thirty years earlier, pregnant Lady Elizabeth Stanton desperately hopes for the heir her husband desires. Tormented by the memory of what happened after the birth of her first child, a daughter, she grows increasingly terrified that history will repeat itself, with devastating consequences.
After meeting Tom, the young scion of the Stanton family, Alice becomes determined to uncover the clan’s tragic past and exorcise the ghosts of this idyllic, isolated house. But nothing can prepare Alice for what she uncovers. Soon it is her turn to fear: can she escape the tragic fate of the other women who have lived in the Fiercombe valley . . .
Praise For Fiercombe Manor…
— Publishers Weekly
“Mrs. Jelphs has a touch of Mrs. Danvers about her, and the old driver, Ruck, is truly creepy. This is a good match with fans of…Diane Setterfield and Kate Morton.”
“A prickly story full of tension.”
— Sunday Express (London)
“A well executed, brooding, creepy atmosphere.”
— Sunday Mirror (London)
“Full of slow-burning tension.”
“Borrowing from gothic literature staples Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca and Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, Riordan creates a visceral and lively narrative that seizes the reader’s attention. Readers...will applaud and welcome this addition.”
— Library Journal (starred review)
“A sweeping saga of secrets and ghosts.”
— Good Housekeeping, UK
Harper, 9780062332943, 416pp.
Publication Date: February 17, 2015
About the Author
Kate Riordan is a British writer and journalist who worked for the Guardian and Time Out London. She is also the author of Birdcage Walk and is already at work on her third novel. Born in London, she now lives in the Gloucestershire countryside.