Sarah Rayner

Simon and Schuster pbk 12.99

Released: 4th February 2010

Reviewer: Pippa MacAllister


Adam Colclough lives and works in the West Midlands, he writes regularly for a number of websites, one day he will get round to writing a book for someone else to review.

Following the murder of his cousin Charmery, writer Theo Kendall inherits Fenn House in Norfolk; the scene of Charmery's death. Theo and Charmery had spent many happy holidays there along with aunts, uncles, cousins and sometimes parents. Theo hasn't returned there for ten years and on a grey December day he sets off for the bleak cottage. He is hoping to finish his book and perhaps find some new clues as to who murdered his cousin.

Adjusting to life in the neglected cottage Theo settles down to write, but at times he feels that he is not alone; a clock apparently winds itself and a dried rose appears on his desk. His book also is not going as planned; as he writes, characters seem to be creating themselves. He finds himself writing about a boy called Matthew and his friend Mara, who inhabit a dark world full of secrets and sinister people. Mara mysteriously disappears and Matthew is the only one who can save her but the cost is betrayal.

As Theo struggles with events at the house and the turn his book has taken, he discovers that the characters he thought he was creating are real people and the events he is describing actually happened. How can he possibly know these things and how can they be connected to Fenn House and Charmery? There is also the distraction of an attractive young nun...

This is a story of deep passions - of love, of hate, of jealousy, of loyalty, of revenge and cruelty; it is an absorbing and compelling read.






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