“It was the burden of the living that they would be
left with questions only the dead could answer.”
“Secrets only stacked up so high until they toppled and spilled.”
Astrid – has recently passed away. She was only sixty-nine and had been very socially isolated for most of her life. She was a brilliant, volatile, though tortured, artist.
Isla – Astrid’s estranged daughter. Isla has returned to the house where she grew up after her mother’s death. The house is situated on the coast in Northern England. Very isolated, the only near neighbour is Penny. Isla is fifty years old and has never married. She has spent her entire life seeking Astrid’s approval – and failing. As a result she is wary of getting close to anyone, for fear of hurt.
“My mother and I had a difficult relationship, but here I am, living in her house, trying to unpick a past that wasn’t kind.”
Penny – Astrid’s neighbour and best friend. Bereft at the loss of her closest neighbour and friend, Penny is adrift… trying to stay loyal to her dead friend by guarding her secrets.
Erin – is married to Mark, the owner of a boutique hotel in London. She has a small daughter named Frankie, whom she adores.
“People don’t see what they’re not looking for”
I thoroughly enjoyed this debut novel which reminded me of the better works of Rosamunde Pilcher. It was a rich narrative of family secrets, social isolation, guilt, regret, trauma, and artistic genius.
Set on an isolated peninsula on the northern English coast, the waves and the salty air were almost tangible. This was a ghost story – but only if the reader wants it to be… It was also a mystery of sorts.
I relished the writing: “She had made a promise to herself to keep out of Isla’s way, but she was drawn to that house like a tongue seeking a loose tooth.”
All in all, the characters, setting, and story came together to create a novel that I won’t soon forget. Highly recommended!
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 Lake Union Publishing via NetGalley.
Hilary Tailor is a design consultant and has worked with a global clientele including Adidas and Puma as a colour and trend forecaster. She was raised on the Wirral Peninsula and graduated from the Royal College of Art.
THE VANISHING TIDE is her debut novel.