Thursday, 12 December 2013

Book Review: The Room Beyond - Stephanie Elmas

SynopsisWhen Serena begins a new life working for the Hartreve family at 36 Marguerite Avenue she falls in love, not just with its eccentric and alluring inhabitants and their world, but with the house itself. Number 36 is a beautiful Victorian London mansion that has remained in the family for generations. Serena feels that by being here she has escaped the ghosts of her own sad childhood and found a true home, but she soon discovers that behind its gleaming surfaces Marguerite Avenue is plagued by secrets and mystery. Why does such a beautiful tranquil street seem sometimes to shimmer with menace? Is everyone in the family quite who they appear to be? And just what is it that the family is trying to hide from her?

It is 1892. On a hot summer night scented with jasmine, Miranda Whitestone hosts a dinner party at 34 Marguerite Avenue. Watching helplessly as her husband is seduced by her glamorous neighbour Lucinda Eden, she can have no idea of the consequences the evening will have. 

For the history of Marguerite Avenue is more chilling than Serena could have imagined, and the fates of two women - the beautiful renegade Lucinda and the 'good wife' Miranda - will reach out from the past to cast a shadow over Serena's own future.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Review - I received this book from the author for review.  I was very pleasantly surprised.  Yes, I had seen it was well received, but as reviewers we all know we don't always agree on books.  But rave, rave, rave!  Yes!  A wonderful début novel from Stephanie Elmas.  What I liked about the writing in this novel was the way the dual narratives knitted together at the end.  The two periods in time connected and showed the reader how the characters lives were intertwined.  

We have complicated but well defined characters in the Victorian era.  We soon learn that the present day characters have their own demons and nemeses.  The location was described in detail, I found myself inside both 34 and 36 Marguerite Avenue.  Wonderful, colourful characters in the eccentric Hartreve Family and the occupants of the house.  Back in Victorian times we have some despicable characters and the insipid, downtrodden Miranda grows into someone very strong despite her sad life.

Writing dual narratives and weaving it all together is no easy feat.  

Another book is due to follow later on, featuring the Victorian alchemist Walter Balanchine.  I cannot wait to learn more about him and his past and find out what actually happened to him.  5*

Kindle: ASIN: B00FJ433QK

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