Some secrets can never be concealed . . .
Nell Galilee, her husband and twelve year old step-daughter Maude rent a holiday cottage by the sea, needing time and space away from home. Nell grew up in this small, wind-blown town and has mixed feelings about returning, and it isn’t long before she is recognised by a neighbour, seemingly desperate to befriend her. The cottage has been empty for some time, and from the start Nell feels uncomfortable there. Something isn’t quite right about this place . . .
Maude, furious about being brought here against her will, soon finds herself beguiled by the house’s strange atmosphere. There are peculiar marks in the roof beams above her bedroom, and in another room, a hiding place, concealing a strange, unnerving object.
As the house gradually reveals its secrets, Nell becomes increasingly uneasy – and Maude spellbound. But these women – and the women that surround them – are harbouring their own secrets too, and soon events will come to a terrible head . . .
A brilliant, unsettling and chilling novel of mothers and daughters, truth and deception and the lengths people will go to, to obtain power over their own lives, The Hiding Place is the second chilling novel from the acclaimed author of The Wayward Girls.
My thoughts: I do like a creepy house, possibly because neither my parents’ almost 200 year old house or any of the ancient cottages of my childhood holidays were suitably spooky. No ghosts roamed the tumbling down Devon farm hands’ home turned holiday lets we stayed in, and the creepiest thing about my parents’ was the yellow nicotine stained ceilings when we first moved in.
Thankfully books deliver a nice line in sinister houses, filled with witch marks and strange artifacts hidden away in the walls and under the floor. Like this cottage in Whitby. Nell and her family are supposed to be enjoying a holiday and attending a party. But instead she and step-daughter Maude are being haunted and become obsessed with a tiny shoe (not explaining that, read the book).
Things go bump in the night, Nell’s oblivious husband has to leave, they meet the slightly strange neighbours and the previously good relationship between Maude and Nell deteriorates further. Gradually the house gives up its secrets, thanks to two intrepid teenage girls who go digging in the local museum, and the weird hold it exerts meets a match.
This was really good, well written and solidly sinister. The half answers and not quite unravelled history of the house and the land it stands on was cleverly done, while Nell feels safer at the end, the house still isn’t quite right. Probably best to head home.
*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.