Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Firecombe Manor by Kate Riordan

Sometimes you need just a book that  borders on gothic romance, something with the flavor of those books I eagerly pulled off the shelves when I would race to the library after school to find something new to read; historical novels by the likes of Daphne Du Maurier or Mary Stewart. The kind that leave many readers today, accustomed to fast pace and fast living in their books get twitchy and stop reading. The kind where the setting, usually an English manor house, or lonely house on the cliffs/moors/highlands, or a rose twined cottage in a sleepy hamlet, is as much a character as the people in the tale are. the kind where dark secrets are hinted at, maybe a mysterious death or two.

I like that kind of book, occasionally, especially when life has forced me to slow down and recuperate, which it has of late.

I believe the book went under a different title originally, Girl in the Photograph. Either way, it's two stories several decades apart, in the same setting. In the latter tale (1933) Alice has gotten herself "in the family way" without benefit of a husband, and is shuttled off to an estate in the country where a friend of her mother's works as housekeeper, until the birth of the baby. But while there, she becomes fascinated by a former mistress of the estate, Lady Elizabeth Stanton, and the mysteries that surround her life and disappearance.

The stories are well told, and do intertwine to some degree. There is also an interesting running theme exploring postpartum depression and how it was handled  at the end of the Victorian era into the early Edwardian era.

Tags: i-liked-it, made-me-look-something-up, read, read-in-2015, taught-me-something


  1. Sounds interesting. I like books like that, too. :-)
    Speaking of Daphne du Maurier, have you read The House on the Strand?

  2. It's been a long time since I did read it, so should probably do a re-read. Her stuff never grows old for me. I'm always slightly amazed how so many people can't stand the pacing of this kind of work these days. Too "old fashioned". I've heard it called innocent and "drama-queenish" too, which is more a reference to the person speaking than the writing, often!