Monday, 23 May 2011
The Somnambulist By Essie Fox
I must confess I have always had a liking for the Victorian and Edwardian periods, and when I was a costume designer I used to collect Victorian and Edwardian clothing. So I was somewhat surprised to find when I began writing my own novels that they do not slot into that time frame. My enthusiasm for the period remains undimmed though.
I was excited to hear about the Virtual Victorian's new novel The Somnambulist, and when it popped up as a selection for Amazon Vine I could not resist.
And what a gem it is. Bravo to Essie Fox, it is a long time since I have enjoyed a debut novel so much. It is literate, engaging and atmospheric. What's more, it has a plot that kept me turning the pages, and just when I thought I had discovered all the secrets of the book, there was one more twist in the tale.
Phoebe's journey to uncover her past takes her from the glitz and glamour of the East End Music Hall stage to the deliciously spooky Dinwood Court, surrounded by dark woods and deep water, and haunted by the death of the daughter of the house, Esther.
From the book:
"Life is rarely perfect." My father continued. "We all make mistakes. The thing is to forgive, and," he paused at the sound of some high muffled laughter, the splashing of water, "and never forget."
Novels are rarely perfect, but this one very nearly is. Beg, buy or borrow it, for a reading experience you will find hard to forget.
Here's the blurb:
'Some secrets are better left buried...'
When seventeen-year old Phoebe Turner visits Wilton's Music Hall to watch her Aunt Cissy performing on stage, she risks the wrath of her mother Maud who marches with the Hallelujah Army, campaigning for all London theatres to close. While there, Phoebe is drawn to a stranger, the enigmatic Nathaniel Samuels who heralds dramatic changes in the lives of all three women. When offered the position of companion to Nathaniel's reclusive wife, Phoebe leaves her life in London's East End for Dinwood Court in Herefordshire - a house that may well be haunted and which holds the darkest of truths. In a gloriously gothic debut, Essie Fox weaves a spellbinding tale of guilt and deception, regret and lost love.
Every heart holds a secret...