The Wildling Sisters
by Eve Chase
An evocative novel in the vein of Kate Morton and Daphne Du Maurier, in which the thrill of first love clashes with the bonds of sisterhood, and all will be tested by the dark secret at the heart of Applecote Manor.
Four sisters. One summer. A lifetime of secrets.
When fifteen-year-old Margot and her three sisters arrive at Applecote Manor in June 1959, they expect a quiet English country summer. Instead, they find their aunt and uncle still reeling from the disappearance of their daughter, Audrey, five years before. As the sisters become divided by new tensions when two handsome neighbors drop by, Margot finds herself drawn into the life Audrey left behind. When the summer takes a deadly turn, the girls must unite behind an unthinkable choice or find themselves torn apart forever.
Fifty years later, Jesse is desperate to move her family out of their London home, where signs of her widower husband’s previous wife are around every corner. Gorgeous Applecote Manor, nestled in the English countryside, seems the perfect solution. But Jesse finds herself increasingly isolated in their new sprawling home, at odds with her fifteen-year-old stepdaughter, and haunted by the strange rumors that surround the manor.
Rich with the heat and angst of love both young and old, The Wildling Sisters is a gorgeous and breathtaking journey into the bonds that unite a family and the darkest secrets of the human heart.
Jessie is sure her little girl will love the freedom of the countryside, just as she did as a kid, all those secret nooks of childhood, tiny worlds invisible to grown-up eyes.
There’s a thrill that comes with being awake when everyone else is lost in sleep. I don’t feel rushed. Or watched. Time even passes differently, molding itself around me like a kid glove on warm skin.
…our aunt and uncle step around each other like awkwardly placed furniture or guests at a party with a long-running feud… All our lives we’ve been brought up to want what Sybil has: a marriage to a firstborn son, a big house, a loyal maid, the clawed silver sugar tongs, a gold carriage clock ticking down to the next wedding anniversary. And yet Sybil grinds pepper over her boiled egg in the morning as if she’d like to wring the neck of the chicken who laid it.
My parents prefer not to think, Margot. They simply decide on a course and stick to it, like ocean liners.
Flora starts to flirt, fluttering her long lashes. I get a sudden unsisterly urge to pick them out one by one like legs from a spider.
The Wildling Sisters kept me on edge, although I was immediately taken with the author’s writing style and remained intensely fascinated with the cleverly nuanced storyline as well as with the compelling and complex characters. The premise was unique and the writing was spellbinding and exceptionally well-crafted. Ms. Chase demonstrated uncanny word craft and repeatedly and deftly created an intense ambiance that could shift within a sentence. The story was cunningly and maddeningly paced and entailed two timelines, fifty years apart, in the same eerily creepy manor house in the quiet English countryside. The house and grounds contained a devastating mystery that prevailed over those fifty years, and long-held secrets that also provided a peculiar and unnatural undercurrent to the tale. I was enthralled and so intrigued I warily read late into the night, a bit fearful of each new turn in the story, although I adored the author’s colorful and insightfully observed descriptions that triggered sharp visuals to flicker through my brain. The narrative also provided many amusing smirk-worthy analogies and comical details. Eve Chase has mad skills.
About the Author
Eve Chase is the pseudonym of a journalist who has worked extensively across the British press.
Eve Chase always wanted to write about families – ones that go wrong but somehow survive – and big old houses, where family secrets and untold stories seed in the crumbling stone walls.
Black Rabbit Hall is such a story.
She lives in Oxford, England with her husband and three children.