Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Fiercombe Manor by Kate Riordan

Hi, readers! Today I'm kicking off the TLC book tour for Kate Riordan's Fiercombe Manor.

It's 1933 and Alice, unwed and pregnant, has been sent to Fiercombe Manor for the length of her pregnancy. The head maid there, a longtime friend of her mother's, has been told that Alice's husband died tragically in a motor accident and that her doctor has ordered a change of scenery. In truth, Alice has been sent out of the gossipy reach of London so that no one will know of her family's disgrace. 

Fiercombe entrances Alice, especially when she begins to learn about the old Stanton House and its mistress, Elizabeth. Stanton House was to be the new heir's home but after just ten years it was torn apart and sold off to cover the Lord's debts. Elizabeth, his wife, is almost never spoken of but then Alice finds her old diary hidden away in one of the estate's abandoned buildings. Haunted by the ghosts of Stanton House and Fiercombe Manor, Alice wends her way through Elizabeth's story unraveling bits and pieces in an attempt to learn the truth about her tragic fate. 

Fiercombe Manor is a luscious atmospheric read: a crumbling old manor house with locked rooms and light drowned out by overgrown foliage, off limits derelict buildings, and of course the mystery of the estate's never mentioned mistress.

Elizabeth's tale does unfold in alternating chapters. Her story begins as she's expecting her second child and the estate is preparing for a grand party. But she hints that things are not quite right both in her marriage and in the way people speak about her. Riordan deftly weaves a tale of intrigue and heartache, briefly touching on the practice of handling mental health issues in the late nineteenth century. If I had one wish for this story, it would have been to dip further into that aspect of the tale, but it is handled in such a way that it organically moves the story along without weighing it down in a plot line that might have otherwise taken the overall flow of the book off course.

Fiercombe (aka The Girl in the Photograph) is an excellent read for fans of gothic fiction. Even better, it's a bit of a lengthy read - perfect for diving into on a gloomy afternoon!

To see more stops on the tour be sure to check out the official TLC tour page here. For more on Kate Riordan and her work you can visit her website here. You can also follow her on Twitter.


As the Crowe Flies and Reads said...

If I saw that book in the store, that cover alone would make me want to pick it up. I don't read a ton of gothic fiction, as it's not usually my thing, but you make this sound like something that would be a nice change of pace for my reading. Thanks for the review.

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

Thanks for being a part of the tour!