Friday 12 December 2014

The Girl in the Photograph by Kate Riordan

Title: The Girl in the Photograph
Author: Kate Riordan
Published: 15th January 2015
Publisher: Penguin

I was incredibly lucky to go to be asked by Penguin and Kate to go the actual place where this book was set to find out more about the book and the setting last month. So I could not wait to start reading.

The Girl in the Photograph completely blew me away. Once I had started I was lost to the world of Firecombe Manor and it's past.

Set in the Summer of 1933, Alice finds herself at Firecombe Manor to hide her shame from her hometown of London. But Firecombe has dark secrets and something doesn't feel right. Even though there is only Alice and Mrs Jelphs in the house, Alice can't help but feel that someone else is there watching and traces of the previous owner Elizabeth seem to linger and Alice soon discovers that Elizabeth's path mirrors her own.

I honestly cannot put into the right words how much I loved this novel. Kate's writing is utterly beautiful. It's so incredibly descriptive, intensely atmospheric and captures everything perfectly. Apart from the fact that I had been so privileged to go to Owlpen Manor (named Firecombe Manor in the book), Kate really transports you right there with Alice and Elizabeth with her detailed descriptions. Nothing is left out and Kate slowly draws you into the story, rather than rushing like some novels do, and to me this made a refreshing change.

Whilst reading this; just like at Firecomber Manor; time seemed to stop around me. I forgot all about my actual surroundings and became entranced by the story. There were also some scenes that got my heart pounding and I loved how hauntingly mysterious the setting was. Kate compels you to read on by teasing us with little snippets of what had gone before and how the past still very much lingers as Alice discovers whilst she is there.

What also works really well and adds to the mystery and fuels your curiosity is the way the novel is interspersed between Alice's and Elizabeth's stories. As much as I enjoyed reading as Alice, I could not wait to get to Elizabeth's parts, as just as much as Alice was, I had to find out more about Elizabeth. I just had to keep reading to find out what had happened.

An absolutely engrossing, compelling and beautifully atmospheric novel. Kate Riordan is one to watch!


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