In the middle of a heatwave, four sisters arrive at Applecote Manor to relive their memories of hazy Cotswolds summers.
They find their uncle and aunt still reeling from the disappearance of their only daughter, five years before.
An undercurrent of dread runs through the house. Why did Audrey vanish? Who is keeping her fate secret?
As the sisters are lured into the mystery of their missing cousin, the stifling summer takes a shocking, deadly turn.
One which will leave blood on their hands, and put another girl in danger decades later . . .
The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde is a book with many pf the lures that are most likely to capture my attention and imagination; lots of female characters, a mystery, a merest hint of a ghost story, an old English country house with a morbid history, a family coming together and a good dash of teenage angst!
The book actually has two parallel storylines running about forty years apart. As well as the four cousins spending a summer at Applecote Manor in 1959 there is the story of Jessie and her fractious family who have bought the house in our modern times and are attempting to recover from their own tragedy. I found both stories compelling and they tied in together very neatly at the end.
One theme that came through strongly was the enclosed inner world people (and especially teenagers) trap themselves in and how hard it is for others to reach through and understand one another. In places this theme was powerful and moving.
The writing is indulgent and delicious, appealing to all the senses every taste, texture and sight evokes memories of every hot and close summer, and of every hot and close family tension! It took me a few chapters to get used to the style of writing and I was tempted to skim read some of the description to get on to the plot, but the more I read the more the descriptive writing pulled me in to the world of Applecote Manor and in the end I was glad to take my time trawling through it’s rooms and gardens.
In conclusion, this was a good suspenseful mystery that was the perfect close to my Summer reading. Now I have moved on from the ‘hint of a ghost story’ genre to the full on haunted house novel for my first book of the Autumn season; The Supernatural Enhancements. I’m really enjoying it and I’m looking forward to giving it a proper review in a couple of weeks time!