Before I dive into the review, let me tell you how I came across this book. During a bad time on Twitter (I don’t want to start, let me just stay DRAMA having to do with tagging authors…) the author of this book, Lynda Stacey, sent me some very nice and encouraging messages that really helped me through that time, and I went to check out her books. I wanted to give something back. However, I wasn’t sure I would like them, as suspense and thrillers aren’t usually my cup of the. Or so I thought anyway! But oh boy, was I wrong! I LOVED this one and can’t wait to check out more of the genre, and also more of Lynda’s books! It captivated me from the start, and I couldn’t stop! Let me tell you why! (Note: None of this affected my review in any way.)
The Backcover says:
A woman on the run, a broken man and a house with a shocking secret …
Madeleine Frost has to get away. Her partner Liam has become increasingly controlling to the point that Maddie fears for her safety, and that of her young daughter Poppy.
Desperation leads Maddie to the hotel owned by her estranged father – the extraordinarily beautiful Wrea Head Hall in Yorkshire. There, she meets Christopher ‘Bandit’ Lawless, an ex-marine and the gamekeeper of the hall, whose brusque manner conceals a painful past.
After discovering a diary belonging to a previous owner, Maddie and Bandit find themselves immersed in the history of the old house, uncovering its secrets, scandals, tragedies – and, all the while, becoming closer.
But Liam still won’t let go, he wants Maddie back, and when Liam wants something he gets it, no matter who he hurts …
A woman and her little girl in danger, a damaged hero looking for some light, a villain you just cannot help hate, and a house with dark and evil secrets…
Our mc, Madeleine has to get her little daughter Poppy and herself out of this house, away from her partner Liam. He gets more and more controlling, more and more aggressive – especially towards little Poppy. Maddie doesn’t know where to go, all she knows is she has to leave – now. So she finds shelter in her estranged father’s hotel in Yorkshire. There, she finds many things. What the love of family really means, but also what true romantic love feels like. She also uncovers scandals, tragedies, and old secrets. However, her old enemy won’t let go, and Maddie and her new-found happiness is more in danger than ever…
I was stunned. I was gripped. I was captivated. I was close to tears at some points, deeply shocked at others and had a happy warmth in my tummy sometimes too. When I picked this book up, I couldn’t put it down again. And I was probably the most shocked about that, because I usually don’t pick up thrillers. But – to my own surprise – I was COMPLETELY HOOKED!!! It has everything that makes a good book: suspense you can hardly endure, mysteries you’re trying your solve, secrets you’re trying to uncover, characters you love, characters you hate, characters you get suspicious off. There is murder, death, secret tunnels, refound family members, love… And probably a tonne more things that I can’t think of right now because I’m too excited to get this feeling into words lol!!
I loved the pacing of this novel. It is slowly building up tension from the start, adding more and more mysteries and secrets and side-stories to the main one. It never feels like too much though. I loved the wide mix of characters and how the family ties became so strong the deeper into the story you delve. It all felt very natural to me. Also, I loved the mysteries revolving around the old house. The secret tunnel, but also another secret I won’t mention now – you need to find out for yourself!!! It was a bit like stepping back into the past, which added another layer of depth to the story.
The characters worked so well together, too. The murder story – when it gets uncovered in the end, is spooky and creepy and made me shudder. And yet, it felt like the perfect addition to make this story what it is.
I’m so glad that a bad time made me discover this book – I probably wouldn’t have otherwise and would still be clueless that mysteries can be so entertaining, and are totally also my cup of tea (when they are written like this!).
4.5 stars from me!
Thank you so much for reading, everyone!