Delighted today to be joining many other great bloggers on the weekend blog blitz – shorter than a blog tour, but with more fireworks! – for The Forgotten Room by Ann Troup, published by HQ Digital on 25th October. My thanks to Jenny at Neverland Tours for including me in the event, and for sending me an e-copy to review.
Can the past ever be forgotten?
As soon as nurse Maura Lyle sets foot inside the foreboding Essen Grange, she feels shivers ripple down her spine. And the sense of unease only increases when she meets her new patient, Gordon Henderson.
Drawn into the Henderson family’s tangled web of secrets and betrayals, Maura can ignore the danger lurking behind every door no longer. Even the door she has been forbidden from opening…
Essen Grange is a house with dark and cruel intentions. But now that darkness has turned on her, can Maura escape before it’s too late?
The chilling new novel from the bestselling author of The Lost Child and The Silent Girls. Perfect for fans of Erin Kelly, Claire Mackintosh and Tracy Buchanan.
My goodness, it’s not very often that I sit at my keyboard, fingers poised, and really don’t know where to start! I’d love to see the planning wall for this book – if it’s made up of sticky notes and bits of string it must be several inches deep and a glorious tangle. To begin with, it’s a wonderful pastiche and homage to the gothic tradition – Essen Grange so vividly drawn, complete with locked doors, power outages, the dank cellar, the baize door dividing upstairs and downstairs, and a cast of characters that would happily take their places in a Victorian melodrama. But it soon turns into something quite other – with a bodycount so heavy I soon lost count, and a convoluted story (in the technical sense, not the pejorative!) full of mistaken identities, false leads and bright scarlet herrings.
How on earth do you review a book like this without the odd unintentional spoiler? The book’s construction is clever and audacious – there’s a back story to “nurse Maura Lyle” that doesn’t become clear until much later, and that’s also the point at which the book’s focus subtly changes. I’m not going to begin to tell the story – even if I could work out where to start! – but I’ve rarely read anything with so many twists and turns that have you gasping, images now seared into the memory (some a little gory and gruesome for my delicate sensibilities, if I’m honest – but my threshold is fairly low!), and absolutely no idea where the story might be going.
And just when you think you have it pegged, the author throws in a few more shocks and surprises that I absolutely guarantee you won’t see coming. Might there be one too many twists? Maybe… but by that point I was along for the ride, and was happy to have anything thrown at me. I’m in awe at the intricacies of the plotting and the deftness with which it’s handled – and the writing is darned fine too, magnificent storytelling with the author’s trademark touch in unusual similes and light touches of incongruous humour. The characters who come to the fore as the story develops are so well drawn – and the relationships between them real and convincing.
Summing it up? One hell of a read, and most definitely a book I won’t be forgetting in a hurry…
About the author
The Forgotten Room is Ann’s third book, following on from The Lost Child and The Silent Girls. She lives in Devon near the sea and spends her time either writing or dabbling with art. To see what she’s getting up to next, do follow her on Twitter or Facebook.