ISBN #: 978-1848767898
Page Count: 340
Copyright: December 1, 2011
Publisher: Troubador Publishing Ltd.
(Taken from back cover)
Take a recipe for disaster ... Start with an illicit love affair in 1952, add a painful parting and three deaths in 1953.
Leave to settle until 2009. Then add a crumbling mansion (Epton Hall), which harbours a scandalous secret ... Gradually combine young librarian Katie Nicholson - an incurable romantic trying to get over a failed love affair. Sprinkle a few daydreams, hundreds of books and stir until well mixed.
Carefully blend in a friendly housekeeper, some memorabilia and many books, with Katie's weekend away, new boyfriend and a prophetic dream. Add the secret arrival of sinister nephew Harold Hapsworth-Cole, the only known heir to the estate, and throw in the evidence discovered by Katie in the attic, that another heir exists in Canada. Combine fear, violence, and theft of that evidence with Katie's imprisonment in the attic, Harold's growing mental instability and stir ... malevolently.
The resultant mixture should be an explosion of love, financial expectations, inheritance, terror, greed and attempted murder. Then ... ENJOY.
Oy ... Where to begin ... Well, let's start with the positives, shall we?
The story was told in third person, which I enjoyed because I was able to get to know all of the characters that were introduced. Even though there were quite a few characters in the novel, none of them really felt unnecessary. I've found that when there are many characters the story can feel disjointed when it goes from one scene to the next. Ms. Burton segued between characters and/or situations flawlessly. I highly commend her for that.
Unfortunately, for as many good points as this novel had there were just as many bad.
To start, let me ask a question. Why does the damsel in distress have to be emotionally wrought? It irritates me to no end to see a female character so weak-willed. There's nothing wrong with having a damsel in distress who has a little bit of gumption to her ... is there?
While the story flowed quite well, there were many instances that aggravated me. Why? Because it almost seemed like the author wrote the book and then didn't proofread for consistency or believability. Want some examples? My pleasure ...
Example 1: Katie has gone to Epton Hall to catalogue all of the books located there. While doing so, she finds a letter and birth certificate of a person who could have rightful ownership of Epton Hall. Upon finding these documents, Katie phones her employer to tell him all about it not realizing that Harold has snuck into the house and is overhearing her entire conversation. When I say "all about it" I mean she told him names, dates, all the specifics. A few pages later, as Katie is thinking to herself while feeling threatened by Harold, the book states that Katie wasn't sure how much Harold had heard or understood her conversation with her employer. Really? Katie stated, out loud, that Harold's uncle had an affair and a bastard child who was now living in Canada and she had a copy of the birth certificate with her. Not only that, but she also stated that Harold would be upset if the letter proved to be true. Harold overheard all of this and she still wonders if he understood her conversation with her employer ... *smh*
Example 2: Katie meets a guy while visiting her cousin/friend/can't remember. They converse a little bit during that one night. A few weeks later, Stuart fashions himself in love with Katie. They have one date together and then he wants her to go with him to meet his parents the next weekend. (Moving too fast, aren't we?) Then, it's either the following weekend or the one after that, Katie and Stuart go to Canada together ... where Stuart proposes and Katie says 'yes.' Then, either that same day or the next, Katie thinks to herself that "they were still in that tender area of getting to know one another." Shouldn't that be taken care of (as much as any two people can) BEFORE you agree to be married?!
Those are just two examples of many things that had me shaking my head or yelling "WHAT?!" at the book. If the author, or an editor, would go through the book and help clean up all of head-shaking moments, this would be an excellent novel for me to recommend. As it stands, I just can't recommend it to anyone.
*A paperback copy was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.