The Vanishing Of Audrey Wilde
By Eve Chase
When Jessie and her family move into Applecote Manor she thinks it will be a new start for all of them, and that her stepdaughter, Bella, might finally settle down and begin to come to terms with the loss of her own mother. Little does she know that her family’s life is about to be impacted on by events that happened to another family many decades ago.
One thread of the story deals with the present day story of Jessie while another recounts the events of a summer in the 1950s when the narrator, Margot, and her three sisters visit their aunt and uncle at Applecote. This triggers memories of a previous summer, five years earlier, when their cousin, Audrey Wilde, disappeared never to be seen again.
Margot’s similarity to her missing cousin results in her being drawn into some uncomfortable, and ultimately dangerous situations. Following her through this experience is gripping and intriguing.
The dual narrative works well with both threads being equally compelling and the added interest of being able to pick up the subtle links between the two. Ultimately the two threads entwine at the end providing a very satisfying conclusion.
The mystery of what happened to Audrey is central to the story, but there is so much more to the plot than that. In both the past and present narratives we explore some really complex relationships between the different characters and how they trigger and influence events.
Some poignant themes are explored in this novel. Mothers bereft of their children, and children bereft of their mothers, is a strong link between the two threads of the story. Another is what it means to be sisters and the importance of that relationship. And love and longing, when you feel like you are always second best, also makes an appearance.
The characters and the relationships between them are beautifully drawn, and this results in a satisfying and emotional read.
I received a review copy of this book from the publishers via Netgalley.
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