Eve Chase's The Wildling Sisters combines family dynamics and long-held secrets.
Four sisters. One summer. A lifetime of secrets.
In 1959, the Wilde sisters (Flora, Pam, Margot, and Dot) arrive at Applecote Manor to stay with their aunt and uncle while their mother is out of the country. Applecote Manor is a beautiful home, but the disappearance of Audrey Wilding, five years earlier has left little of the joy the sisters felt during their previous summer stays.
Margot, now fifteen, was especially close to her cousin Audrey and has a consuming need to know more about what happened. Did Audrey run away? Is she dead? It is the uncertainty of what happened to her beloved cousin that drives Margot's curiosity about her cousin's disappearance.
The sisters, who have always had a close bond even while dealing with sisterly rivalries, are distracted from the gloom and boredom of the summer by the arrival of two handsome neighbors. The rivalries increase with the boys as a focus.
Fifty years later, Jesse falls in love with Applecote Manor, and she and her husband Will make the move to the beautiful Cotswolds. Jesse's stepdaughter Bella, who has not recovered from her mother's death, frequently and deliberately frustrates Jesse. Both Jesse and Bella, in different ways, are haunted by echoes of the past.
Two stories, one in the past and one in the present, intertwine. What happened to Audrey? What tragedy occurred that has the four Wilde sisters attempting to dispose of a body in the book's prologue? How do past events influence Jesse and her family in the present?
It is easy to get wrapped up in the plot(s), the characters, and the prose in this novel. I found myself tense and anxious frequently, unsure about who did what and when, but I sympathized with all of the characters.
The Wildling Sisters proved an interesting read--evoking the beauty of the of Applecote Manor, the angst of adolescence, and the many ways individuals deal with grief.
Addendum: Several weeks after I read this, I saw that the British version has a different title and cover: The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde.
Much better cover!
Read in Feb.; blog post scheduled for July 3
July 25, 2017. Print length: 384 pages.
Nothing Stays Buried (Monkeewrench #8)
For those unfamiliar with the series, Monkeewrench is a software company run by an unconventional group of geeks. The four partners, Grace, Harley, Annie, and Roadrunner, might seem completely mismatched, but have become more close-knit than many families. Frequently called on by police and others to use their software and computer skills to solve crimes, the four unusual partners often work in conjunction with Detectives Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseth.
In this adventure, the Monkeewrench team searches for a missing woman in a small country town, while Leo and Gino work a serial killer case in Minneapolis.
Entertaining characters, compelling plot-- Nothing Stays Buried was as entertaining and gripping as previous works.
I've followed this series since the first book, and although each one functions perfectly well as a stand alone, the series benefits from being read from the beginning. The books are a great mixture of computer geeks and police procedural with quirky characters and intriguing plots.
Read in Feb.
Mystery/Police Procedural. Aug. 1, 2017. Print length: 320 pages.