“The fear at Rockbridge Hall” by Tim Heath

At a tender age I read Charlotte Brontë’s classic “Jane Eyre“.  Ever since, I’ve been a sucker for novels that feature English governesses – which is why I chose to read this novella.fear-at-rockbridge-hall-on-kindle2

The story is set at the magnificent mansion ‘Rockbridge Hall’ is Nottinghamshire, in 1890. It is but one of the homes of the wealthy Manverham family. Mr. Manverham is a banker and along with his brother-in-law, Lord Moffat, they have amassed a fortune.  Mr. Manverham keeps all of his confidential papers at Rockbridge, feeling that they will safer there that at his other city residences in London and Edinburgh.  The Manverhams have three children who are in need of discipline.  Thus, Miss Maitheson is hired to bring order to the nursery floor.  She seems a wise decision as the children take to her.

"Rockbridge Hall" is Tim Heath's fictional adaptation of the very real Thoresby Hall, Nottinghamshire

“Rockbridge Hall” is Tim Heath’s fictional adaptation of the very real Thoresby Hall, Nottinghamshire

The Moffat family comes to stay for a fortnight.  They bring along their own governess, Nanny Selkirk, who rules their two children by instilling fear into their susceptible little minds.  Miss Maitheson disagrees with this form of child care, believing there to be enough fear in the world with adding to it.

One night, the children play a nasty trick on the elder Manverham brother, James.  He retaliates with a nasty trick of his own.  Later, all the younger children gang up on James and he endures a traumatic event.

Miss Maitheson has a secret. Mister Manverham has a secret.  Those two secrets collide in the aftermath of the event that so traumatizes James.fire_journal

We see what we want to see…

This was not at all what I expected.  It is certainly a different ‘take‘ on the traditional English governess story.  Different and imaginative.  The story was well executed and the descriptive passages and setting were sublime.  The plot was a tad far-fetched, but despite that it kept me interested throughout.


I received this novella from Endeavor Press in consideration of a review.



tim-heathTim Heath is an actor, director and writer. He has had two other books published, a childrens book The Dragons at Marshmouldings and the Sherlock Holmes play The Adventure at Sir Arthur Sullivan’s. For six months he was part of a resident acting company at Thoresby Hall in Nottinghamshire. This experience was partly the inspiration and setting for The Fear at Rockbridge Hall , which was mostly written in his spare time there in one of the seldom used, reputedly haunted drawing-rooms.

About Fictionophile

Fiction reviewer ; Goodreads librarian. Retired library cataloger - more time to read! Loves books, gardening, and red wine. I have been a reviewer member of NetGalley since October 2013. I review titles offered by Edelweiss, and participate in blog tours with TLC Book Tours.
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, Historical fiction, Novellas, Suspense and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to “The fear at Rockbridge Hall” by Tim Heath

  1. I’m another one who loves the theme of English nannies so I’m loving the sound of this. Even with the far fetched plot.


  2. C.S. Wilde says:

    Sounds interesting : )


  3. mhmcneill says:

    This sounds really good!


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