Friday, 7 June 2013
“I blame Charles Dickens for the death of my father,” Eliza Caine asserts. For shortly after she and her father had attended an oratory by Charles Dickens in London (contrary that is to Eliza’s protests and concerns for her father's deteriorating health) he passed away.
Missing him dreadfully, Eliza is eager to getaway from London and make a new start in the country. She answers an advertisement for a governess to two children at Gaudlin Hall, Norfolk. No sooner has Eliza alighted the train, when unseen hands push her forcibly toward the track and into the path of an oncoming train. This encounter is only the beginning of her nightmare, for waiting at Guadlin Hall is an entity consumed by jealously for her two young children; Isabella and Eustace Westerly and will stop at nothing to rid Gaudlin Hall of Eliza Caine.
When Eliza reaches Gaudlin Hall and meets the children for the first time she is shocked to learn that they appear to be living alone and fending for themselves; no parents, no adults and no sign of her employer. The only clues to this baffling arrangement lie with the evasive and reluctant solicitor to the family - Mr Raisin.
This is a gripping and tense tale of the supernatural, superbly crafted by John Boyne of Boy in the Stripped Pyjamas fame. The author manages to capture the Gothic atmosphere of this lonely, creepy old house and its many secrets, whilst cranking up the chills.