Seraphine Mayes – 2017 – Twenty-five years old and still reeling from the accidental death of her beloved father, Seraphine lives at Summerbourne. Her twin brother Danny travels a lot, and her older brother Edwin lives in town in the family’s other dwelling, Winterbourne. While going through her father’s belongings she finds a photograph taken the day she was born. It includes her mother, her father, four year old Edwin, and a newborn baby. But her mother had twins! Where is the other baby?
She cannot ask her mother Ruth because she commit suicide just hours after the photo was taken. Ruth Mayes was only twenty-nine years old at the time of her death.
Seraphine cannot get the photo out of her mind so she begins to investigate… What she discovers will change her life forevermore. It will cause her to question her place at Summerbourne and her very identity. Her questions will put her and her family in danger…
Laura Silveira – 1991-1992 – an eighteen year old woman who is hired by the Mayes family to look after their young son, Edwin. Laura has recently been in hospital for an undisclosed reason. She lives with her mother and her mother’s boyfriend who she doesn’t like. She is delighted to procure a ‘live-in’ position with the Mayes in their beautiful Norfolk home called Summerbourne. She adores her small charge, Edwin.
Vera Blackwood – Ruth Mayes’ mother and the matriarch of the family. Vera owns Summerbourne and Winterbourne.
The residents of the nearby village are very superstitious about Summerbourne and the family who live there. They say that the twins born to the family are in some way cursed and that only one twin can survive.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel. It had a wonderful setting which was described so vividly that I imagined myself there. The two main female protagonists were fully-rounded characters. The ‘mystery’ was compelling – despite the fact that I had my suspicions as to what might have happened. My suspicions were correct in one aspect but the author threw in an extra twist that I didn’t anticipate. I love it when that happens.
Anyone who likes character-driven mysteries set in atmospheric locales will adore this novel. I’ve just discovered a new favorite author.
This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from
Berkley Publishing via Edelweiss.
ISBN: 9780440000457 ASIN: B07C6HF9MG 384 pages
Emma Rous lived in several different countries as a child – England, Indonesia, Kuwait, Portugal and Fiji – and she grew up with a passion for stories and animals. She studied zoology and veterinary medicine at the University of Cambridge, and worked as a veterinary surgeon for eighteen years.
The older she got, the more she appreciated talking to her clients and listening to their life stories, and these fascinating conversations helped to fuel her long held ambition to write fiction. Eventually, in her early forties, she took a break from her vet job and wrote The Au Pair, which became a USA Today bestseller and was published in eleven countries in ten languages. Her second novel, The Perfect Guests, is due out in January 2021.
Emma Rous lives near Cambridge in England with her husband, their three sons, and their rescue dog and cat. She tries to write the sort of stories that she likes to read, and hopes that you enjoy them too!