First of all, I’d like to say a BIG thank you to Penguin UK – Michael Joseph and NetGalley for providing me an eARC copy of this book. I loved the story and am sure this first won’t be my last Eve Chase novel! I am delighted to be able to share my wonderful reading experience on the book’s release date with you today! Before diving into my review though, here comes the blurb…
Outside a remote manor house in an idyllic wood, a baby girl is found.
The Harrington family takes her in and disbelief quickly turns to joy. They’re grieving a terrible tragedy of their own and the beautiful baby fills them with hope, lighting up the house’s dark, dusty corners. Desperate not to lose her to the authorities, they keep her secret, suspended in a blissful summer world where normal rules of behaviour – and the law – don’t seem to apply.
But within days a body will lie dead in the grounds. And their dreams of a perfect family will shatter like glass.
Years later, the truth will need to be put back together again, piece by piece . . .
From the author of Black Rabbit Hall, The Glass House is a emotional, thrilling book about family secrets and belonging – and how we find ourselves when we are most lost.
(taken from Goodreads)
This book felt like a Gothic version of a dark fairytale to me. I loved it so much! It is beautifully written. The excellent, captivating writing keeps you immersed in the equally beautiful as well as dark and mysterious setting from page one. Speaking of the setting: The deep, dark forest you can see on the (beautiful!) cover adds to the fairytale, but also mystery feeling you get when you read this book. We have several voices telling their (somehow intertwined) stories, and a whole lot of supporting characters. Even though I normally find it very hard to keep so many characters apart from the start, I didn’t have this problem here at all. Probably because each and every one of them is so unique and memorable!
From the very beginning you know that this book contains secrets. Lots of them! There’s just such an aura of mystery and you feel yourself turning the pages faster so you can find out what they are. And boy, oh boy, are they secrets!
One of the main characters – and also one of whose points of view we get to experience – is Rita (also known as ‘Big Rita’ due to her height). She is the new nanny in the Harrington family’s household and was actually employed to be the new baby’s nanny, but even when tragedy strikes, Rita stays as Hera and Freddy’s nanny (the two older children of the family). In the summer after the happening (which no one talks about), Mr Harrington moves Rita, the children and their mother Jeannie out to their summer house in the middle of The Forest of Dean.
You immediately know that something strange is going on with the father of the household. He seemed strange before, but then asks Rita to give him feedback on how his wife Jeannie behaves during the summer, which makes Rita feel guilty. What follows then is a – you can’t quite describe it any different – traumatic summer. There are marital issues, mental health problems, two children living in the midst of all this trauma, and – to all their initial shock later turned into surprise – the discovery of an abandoned baby girl in the forest.
Another point of view we get is that of twelve-year old Hera, one of the children Rita looks after. She comes across as a bit bold sometimes, cheeky but intelligent, but it soon turns out that the almost-teenager is also very troubled. She and her little five-year old brother notice way more than the adults around them realise, and her narrative adds greatly to the whole storyline.
Last but not least there is a woman in her middle years, Sylvia. She only recently separated from her husband and tries to get used to her newly gained freedom when an accident puts her mother into the hospital and induces a great fear in her. However, the situation also makes her unravel past family mysteries.
I loved guessing how both Hera and Rita’s stories, which are set in the 1970s, are linked to Sylvia’s present story. It is not immediately evident, which adds to the mysteries that this glorious novel holds for the reader.
Both the setting and the characters are what stood out to me the most. I think my favourite has got to be Rita. She is so sweet and kind and warm, and the children loved her from day one. I can totally see why! I love that during her job interview – even though she tried so hard to stay super professional – she slipped once and giggled with the kids, which later turned out to be the reason she got the position as their nanny. On top of that, I found it incredible that at her young age she took on such a big responsibility.
Something very special about the way the book is written is that there is also the look at Rita’s life almost half a century later. Jumping between her youth years and her later years were fascinating and added to the atmosphere.
I also loved all the mysteries, all the twists and turns kept me turning the pages so quickly! This feels so strange for me to say because I don’t normally read mysteries or thrillers very often, but lately I feel myself drawn to them more and more. I think I’m discovering a whole new genre for my reading taste and I AM EXCITED!
The Glass House by Eve Chase is published today (14th of May 2020) by Michael Joseph Books, so make sure to grab your copy fast! I can recommend it to everyone who loves a good mystery, dual timelines and multiple POVs!
4.5 stars from me! I can’t wait to discover more of Eve Chase’s books!
Thank you all for reading!